An opposing opinion from EthicsAlarms: Republican leaders DON’T have a responsibility to speak out against Glenn Beck and the birthers

While I believe that political leaders of all stripes have an ethical obligation to speak out against hate speech, distortions, and lies coming from their own side of the political divide, I have to respect the opposite opinion of Jack Marshall in his excellent blog, EthicsAlarms.com. Jack is often right and has often clarified the ethical issues for me. Just not this time.

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2 Responses to “An opposing opinion from EthicsAlarms: Republican leaders DON’T have a responsibility to speak out against Glenn Beck and the birthers”

  1. Jack Marshall Says:

    Thanks, Bob. It was interesting—yesterday, without looking for it, I encountered two other media voices piggy-backing on the David Gregory line, now refined to “Why doesn’t GOP leadership confront the Birthers?” I caught Chris Matthews on “Hardball”and a piece in Slate.

    They are right to drop the religion issue, both because doubts have been expressed by non-Republicans and because someone’s private beliefs are simply impossible to confirm. If someone genuinely believes that Obama is a secret Muslim, nothing I, you or Boehner can say will change that.

    The merits of the Gregory argument aside, I think it just looks awful for so many liberal-oriented media outlets to start beating the same drum. It looks like a coordinated media effort to tar the GOP with their most unattractive supporters, without anything similar ever being used on equivalent Democrats. Obama had a colorable Truther, Van Jones, as one of his Czars, and no cry was heard demanding the Obama or Biden or Pelosi address THAT poisonous lie. I know my trust of the newsmedia is at low tide, but this stuff is not going to win it back.

  2. Ethics Bob Says:

    The LA Times chimed in today with an editorial headlined, “The tongue-tied speaker, crtitcizing Boehner along the lines that I did. Unlike you, of course, I don’t see this flurry of anti-Boehner pieces as “a coordinated media effort to tar the GOP.” Rather it’s media (including EthicsBob) reacting to an event of the day. After all, Meet the Press is often good for a news item or ethics comment.

    Rather than tar the GOP (which, after all, gets pretty monotonous) I, as a liberal, prefer to tar the Dems, because I think our political discourse demands that politicians and commentators be as hard or harder on their co-religionists as on the opposition. And I’ve blasted the left—Maddow, Grayson, Pelosi, Mathews, Obama—plenty.

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