I was thinking the other day that, in the Twin Cities’ leftymedia, many of the same people who last month were ready to indict Rep. Michele Bachmann for “aiding and abetting” in the death of census worker Bill Sparkman are the exact same people who are demanding absolute forbearance in the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan; one tried to conclude on Sunday that the investigators had determined terrorism wasn’t involved at all.
Jeff Goldberg notes that it’s not just a local thing:
Remember when Andrew Sullivan fretted about “Southern populist terrorism” in the death of Kentucky census worker Bill Sparkman? (Investigators now believe it to have been suicide.) Remember how Frank Rich interpreted the NY23 special election as “nothing less than a riotous and bloody national G.O.P. civil war,” demonstrating how “the right has devolved into a wacky, paranoid cult”?
The tendency of elites to leap to hysterical, far-fetched interpretations when dealing with phenomena associated (rightly or wrongly) with the Right is counterbalanced by their “nothing to see here” reaction when confronted with events that implicate pet causes of the Left.
The nature of elite reaction is not strictly a matter of the potential political ramifications of events. There is also the matter of complexity and nuance, which are specialties of the intelligentsia. When events seem to teach a simplistic liberal lesson, there is no need to seek out any mitigating factors. Yet when the simple lesson would seem to favor a conservative argument, there is a frantic search for mitigation, or else the event is dismissed as meaningless.
See: all of the hoax “hate crimes” that swept college campuses, the Duke Rape Case, the implication of talk radio in the Oklahoma City bombing…
The murder of Matthew Shepard was interpreted as evidence of mass homophobia induced by Christian conservatism, even though the murderers were a couple of two-bit hoodlums with no known ties to the Religious Right. Yet here we have Nidal Malik Hasan reportedly screaming “Allahu Akbar” while gunning down U.S. troops and . . . well, this means nothing.
On Twitter yesterday, I watched, somewhat slack-jawed, as a couple of reporters argued about how many angels could fit on the head of a pin debated exactly how unconfirmed the “Allahu Akbar” rumors really were. Neither had heard anything about Hasan’s alleged links to radical clerics who’ s been linked with Al Quaeda, or had at least neither had opted to address them. We’ll see if that ever fits into the template.