The lunacy of our press culture: Do you live in a lunatic culture—in a press corps banana republic? Consider:
Senator Warner was explaining why he has now flipped on guns. On Hardball, Chris Matthews played tape of the great man’s moving words.
Then he began to emote:
MATTHEWS (12/18/12): Here’s a smart senator talking now. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, a moderate Democrat most people would count him as, joined the chorus of pro-gun Democrats—he’s one—who are willing to look at changes in gun safety.Playing for The One True Liberal Team, Chris emitted a big pile of feel-good.
Let’s listen to the senator from Virginia.
WARNER (videotape): I believe every American has 2nd Amendment rights and that the ability to hunt is part of our culture. I had an NRA rating of an A, but you know, enough is enough. I’ve got— I’m father of three daughters, and this weekend, they all said, “Dad, you know, how can this go on?”
And I, like I think most of us, realize that there are ways to get to rational gun control. There are ways to grapple with the obvious challenges of mental illness.
MATTHEWS: Those wonderful words in the Bible about you must become like a child. The interesting—to approach the Lord. And I was thinking that, in so many cases in recent history, you’ve seen the young in this country, the people under 30, for example, who have led the way on issues like same-sex marriage, on issues like even Obama’s election to the presidency, in so many cases.
Do you think this is an area where young kids are going to say to their parents, “Get over this NRA fixation, be loyal to us kids, not to them?”
MILBANK: I think that’s exactly what we’re hearing now...
Let’s understand what Warner said, hiding behind his daughters as he did:
For him, it wasn’t enough when someone shot up a college campus right there in his own state. That didn’t make him "realize that there are ways to get to rational gun control."
It wasn’t enough when someone shot up a political meeting featuring one of his congressional colleagues. That didn’t make him realize either.
It wasn’t enough when someone shot up a movie theater in Colorado. It wasn’t enough when people got killed in all these previous events.
But now that someone has shot up a first grade classroom, Warner has finally had enough! Hiding behind his daughters (it’s humanizing), he says he has changed his stance on guns.
He says he now realize that there are ways to get to rational gun control. And Matthews, playing for the liberal team, emotes about what Warner said.
What Warner said is pretty transparently garbage. If Warner is sincere, it means that he’s a lunatic or a simpleton. What kind of person has to wait for a bunch of six-year-olds to get killed before he can see that there are ways to get to rational gun control?
Please. Warner didn’t change his stance because his daughters spoke to him Friday. Presumably, Warner changed his stance because the politics has changed—because the public has gotten very angry, has finally said enough.
We don’t fault the public for that; the public is otherwise occupied as these events unfold. We do fault Senator Warner for this. And most ofall, we fault the compliant Matthews, who pretends that this makes perfect sense.
Then too, we fault Gwen Ifill. Last night, she sat on her overpaid keister as Warner directly sold her the con:
IFILL (12/1/8/12): What would you like to hear the NRA—you’re a member of the NRA. You’re supported by the NRA. What would you like to hear them say as, TO contribute as a meaningful contribution?Was Warner speaking “quite honestly?” Sorry, we don’t believe that!
WARNER: What are the instruments here that are being used? Are there guns that were developed by the military as technology has advanced and has allowed our soldiers to become better, more effective in Iraq and Afghanistan? Should all of those weapons be able to be slightly modified and then sold on a commercial market?
What kind of—how much restraint does it put on a lawful target shooter if they want to have to change out a clip after every 10 shells or—10 or 15 shells? I’m not sure what the right number should be here.
But I think the NRA ought to have a voice in this conversation as well. I think they can go ahead again, reassure that nobody is going to be out trying to say we need to take away your shotgun or take away the kind of components that are part of American culture in terms of the right to hunt, the right to enjoy the outdoors with firearms.
But I do think that simply saying that the status quo is acceptable and bemoaning another tragedy six or nine months from now, without any real close examination of seeing what laws and rules and regulations need to be changed, would be a real mistake and wouldn’t do—wouldn’t be the appropriate honoring the legacy of those poor kids whose lives were taken.
And quite honestly, I have to give my three daughters a better answer than I gave them on Friday night. I have got to be able to say, you know, “I was part of trying to at least get some level of solution, so this kind of tragedy doesn't happen again.”
IFILL: Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, thank you so much for joining us.
Senator Warner is very bright. He didn’t change his view on guns because his daughters spoke to him Friday.
That said, Ifill is smart too. She knows you don’t rock the boat by asking the obvious questions—the obvious questions which don’t involve you in swallowing obvious bullroar:
Why was it OK to shoot up that campus? Why was it OK to shoot Gabby Giffords? Why did it take an attack on six-year-olds before you decided to flip?
Why didn’t those earlier events helps you to see the obvious fact that there are ways to get to rational gun control?
Did Warner flip because the politics changed? Because you live in a press corps banana republic, Ifill knows she mustn’t ask.
Matthews knew he should emote about what the great man had said.