Adding a stunningly inept chapter to the growing literature trumpeting the alleged “blogofascism” of the liberal blogosphere, Lanny Davis attacks liberal bloggers in the Wall Street Journal this morning for being filled with “hate and vitriol.” But, as is so often the case, the harder he tries to make his argument stick the more obvious his own inventions become.
Davis has been up in Connecticut campaigning for Joe Lieberman, and while there apparently came face-to-face with the “kind of scary hatred,” that his father had told him “comes only from the right wing.” Well, not exactly face-to-face. Seems he read some nasty stuff online, and he’s here to warn the world that those liberal bloggers are a dangerous (and largely anti-Semitic) group, whose bilious ravings compare in every respect to those of the leading lights of the angry Right.
In setting up the first of several cases of false equivalence, Davis writes that “in recent years—with the deadly combination of sanctimony and vitriol displayed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Michael Savage—I held on to the view that the left was inherently more tolerant and less hateful than the right.”
But after invoking the major domos of the right (though he forgot our favorite, the vitriolic Michelle Malkin), he provides five examples of liberal intolerance to buttress his point. Quoting comments on Daily Kos and the Huffington Post which are unarguably racist and despicable, Davis glosses over the fact that the authors of the liberal blogs in question didn’t write them. Instead, he cherry-picked the quotes from the blogs’ comments section, where site trolls, hiding behind their easy online anonymity, tend to say things they wouldn’t have the guts to say in public. That’s a vastly different animal than the writings of Markos Moulitis or Arianna Hufftington themselves, but by invoking it Davis hopes to gloss over the fact that ravings in a comments section have nothing near the power of a Coulter or a Savage.
This being the WSJ’s editorial page however, we shouldn’t be too surprised by either sloppy, misleading arguments or willful perversion of reality. But Davis isn’t through. He goes on to relate his harrowing encounter with hateful email, “many of them in ALL CAPS (which often suggests the hyper-frenetic state of these extremist haters)—that were of the same stripe as the blog posts, and filled with the same level of personal hate.”
Welcome to our world, Lanny.
Finally, he concludes with this bit of wisdom, which he seems to ascribe to the hateful liberal bloggers whose existence he has yet to prove: “it’s not OK when Ann Coulter dispenses her venomous hatred, but it is OK when our side’s versions of Ann Coulter do.”
Davis might have been able to rustle up some kind of valid argument if he were able to find liberal icons of the notoriety of Coulter who are spewing hateful speech — but he either couldn’t, or wouldn’t. As a result, his piece is little more than a bit of weakly-argued cherry-picking wrapped around a series of false equivalences - all to prove a point that Davis himself seems not to understand.