If Republicans in high elective office had urged the media not to report on the ideas of Democrats on contentious issues because such reporting would tend to legitimatize really absurd notions, the protests would be deafening, especially from the likes of The New York Times. Likewise if Republicans had taken to referring to Democratic legislators who outmaneuvered them in a losing political battle as “terrorists.”
Yet when these claims were actually made by Democrats against Republicans, there was barely a ripple. In fact, the Times was complicit in the effort. This not only says a lot about the intolerance of the left, but also about its hesitancy in debating issues on the merits. It further suggests that unless the Democrats stop treating as crackpots those who argue a policy of less spending and no new taxes is the way to rein in our runaway debt, there will be no end in sight to the economic woes now gripping the nation.
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, former presidential nominee and current chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is one of the most powerful Democrats in government. In the course of lamenting the broad public support for Tea Party views on dealing with the debt ceiling issue, he said:
And I have to tell you, I say this to you politely, the media in America has a bigger responsibility than it’s exercising today. The media has got to begin to not give equal time or equal balance to an absolutely absurd notion just because somebody asserts it or simply because somebody says something which everyone knows is not factual. It doesn’t deserve the same credit as a legitimate idea about what you do. And the problem is everything is put into this tit-for-tat equal battle and America is losing any sense of what’s real, of who’s accountable, of who is not accountable, of who’s real, who isn’t, who’s serious, who isn’t?
We suppose Mr. Kerry has forgotten his civics lessons about America being “the marketplace of ideas.” Or that a key to our democracy is a fully informed citizenry that decides what policies to support, and that to further that end it is the critical responsibility of a free press to report the news, not to serve as a gatekeeper for one political party or another. One might have thought the senator would urge more exposure of Tea Party ideas rather than less, if only to invite critical comment. And of course in addition to calling for censorship of views he opposes, he is seeking the boycott of the views of elected members of Congress. What exactly is this senior Democrat telling us about his views of democracy?
And then there’s Vice President Biden. Citing “several sources in the room,” Politico reported last week that in a closed-door meeting with House Democrats about the debt limit controversy, Biden said of tea party Republicans, “They have acted like terrorists.”
The vice president’s office initially denied the report but Mr. Biden himself later explained, “What happened was there were some people who said they felt like they were being held hostage by terrorists. I never said that they were terrorists or weren’t terrorists, I just let them vent.”
What is not disputed is that earlier that day Mr. Biden told Senate Democrats that GOP leaders have “guns to their heads.” So whether he did or did not utter the precise words, it is pretty clear where his head is at. Nor is there any doubt about the feelings of the Democratic negotiators who “vented.”
In an editorial last Saturday, The New York Times supported this blatant attempt to stifle debate by raging against members of Congress who insisted on sticking to their principles: