Thursday, December 20, 2018

Careless


Inviting controversy and even a boycott, last week Tucker Carlson stated  “The left says we have a moral obligation to admit the world's poor, even if it makes our own country more like Tijuana is now, which is to say poorer and dirtier and more divided.”

And then a reputable news organization, the Huffington Post posts the headline "Fox News Tucker Carlson Gets Called Out On Racist Rhetoric By Own Guest."

There are individuals who believe that proper concern with grammar is a fetish, incidental to anything pertinent, and can obscure the fundamental point being made.

But HuffPost's headline, which literally infers the guest is guilty of racist rhetoric, is emblematic of a misleading implication. Then Lee Moran leads off the piece with "Retired Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz wasted no time in addressing Tucker Carlson’s racist rhetoric in his appearance on the Fox News host’s show Wednesday."

The headline and the first sentence, while not explicitly quoting Carlson's guest, imply that the famed lawyer had referred to the host's rhetoric as "racist." However, he did not do so, as indicated by both the video (below) and the remainder of the article, in which Moran noted

The “Tucker Carlson Tonight” host had brought Dershowitz on air to talk about the latest developments in the case of President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is awaiting sentencing for lying to the FBI.

However, Dershowitz immediately interrupted Carlson to chastise him for controversially claiming last week that immigrants make America “poorer and dirtier,” which has seen multiple major sponsors flee the show.

“I hate boycotts and attempts to censor free speech. I’m in favor of complete dialogue, but as such, I feel compelled to tell you that I, with due respect, disagree with the way you categorize mass immigration,” Dershowitz said. “That’s all. I just want to say that.”

Dershowitz later told Carlson: “I wish you hadn’t used that language. Language like that was used to describe my grandparents and great-grandparents and probably some of yours. So let’s move on.”





The Trump defender- not supporter- was bold in criticizing his host at all. Nonetheless, he was more respectful than to accuse Carlson of making a "racist" remark, instead telling him "with due respect, (I) disagree with the way you categorize mass immigration."

Dershowitz added "that's all. I just want to say that" because his purpose was not to berate Carlson. The latter had been condemned for comments which were, or at least appeared to be, hateful and bigoted.  The guest wanted to make it clear that his appearance soon afterward on the program should not in any way be interpreted as agreement or consent.

It is no little thing to exaggerate and state- in this case, approvingly- that a celebrity (as he has become, in Republican and Democratic circles, for good and ill) has referred to someone or something as racist.

In defense of his immigration remarks, Carlson maintained

Those who won’t shut up get silenced. You’ve seen it a million times. It happens all the time. The enforcers scream “racist!” on Twitter until everyone gets intimidated, and changes the subject to the Russia investigation or some other distraction.

It’s a tactic. A well-worn one. Nobody thinks it's real. And it won’t work with this show. We’re not intimidated. We plan to try to say what’s true until the last day.

"Screaming 'racist'" is an occasional tactic of the left. But it's less of a tactic than the right would have us Americans believe.

Far more than calling someone "racist," the left will imply racism or racial hostility or bigotry. That is a crucial distinction; the right rallies its supporters by charging the left with making constant accusations of racism.  It is a successful tactic because rank-and-file conservatives feel victimized at (allegedly) being ceaselessly attacked as racists.

The charge of racism is legitimately, even justifiably, made at times, such as when a David Duke or a Donald Trump suggests an inherent racial inferiority or continually makes hostile or bigoted remarks bearing little resemblance to reality. In the instant case, however, the Huffington Post inferred that Alan Dershowitz had accused Tucker Carlson of making a racist remark, which he had not. Whenever the term itself is applied recklessly, it is not only counter-productive but cheapens the seriousness of bias.




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