One of the chief problems that the mainstream media has is their almost complete inability to simply state facts. Most political journalism can best be described as glorified quoting. Politicians or their spokespeople give journalists some talking points and then those journalists dutifully report what each side says, without being bothered to look into whether the actual facts are on either side (because that would be “biased”). This problem is most prominent in the climate change “debate”, where one side has the vast majority of scientists in related fields, while the other side has pretty much nothing but politicians and businessmen who don’t like what the scientists have to say. Unfortunately, this problem also extended into the debt ceiling debate so incredibly deeply that the question was barely ever asked: Is cutting government in a recession going to help or hurt the economy?
The recent terrorist attacks in Norway are a blazing reminder of how we should not jump to conclusions. Many media outlets were quick to call the events an act of Muslim extremism, but were then reticent about the religious or ideological motivations of Anders Behring Breivik once it became clear that he did not fit the all-too-familiar Middle-Eastern terrorist mold. However, there is a more important lesson than that: If we were supposed to have “defeated” these types of extremists in World War II, what does their continued existence say about our current struggle against radical Islam?
No, not the T.V. show. The “C” I’m talking about is the Constitution. Republican politics is rife with what can only be described as Constitutional fetishism. While this may not necessarily seem like a terrible thing – after all, respecting the Constitution is considered by almost everyone to be a core American principle – a problem arises when the text of the document itself becomes secondary to the symbol.