It’s the integrity

Patterico asks Inflamed, Honest Rhetoric vs. Calm, Civil Smears: Which Is Preferable?.

issuing a brutally ugly and false accusation, while wearing a mask of smiles and civility, is not civil. It is ugly and partisan and disgusting — far more so than any inflamed rhetoric, as long as that rhetoric is honest — and free from actual threats of violence.

By this point we know these people have no conscience, so there is no point in trying to shame them. Instead, we have to stop them. By killing them? Uh, no. By pointing out their lies. Each and every time they tell them.

A clip of Bill O’Reilly is cited as an excellent example of this approach, ” right up to the last 10-15 seconds, when he ruins the whole thing with a pathetic attempt at balancing everything out (oh, and also, right-wingers should not be hateful.)” The ‘both sides do it’ and ‘there is no difference’ memes are moderating influences, perhaps based in guilt, that needs examination. One pundit took this approach and cited birthers and 9/11 truthers as examples. That fails the significance test.

The significance test can be seen to have failed when the fringe is equated to the mainstream. When the line from the President to the Sheriff supported by MSM media commentators are considered balanced by fringe elements such as those cited, the conclusion of there being no difference between sides becomes another example of the sort of dishonesty that Patterico suggests needs to be exposed and laid out for public inspection to see it for what it is.

And don’t get fooled by ‘fact checking’ efforts by self appointed rationalists. But that is a topic for another day.

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