Saturday, November 17, 2012

Richmond Times-Dispatch LTE: 'Playing dirty can apply to columnists, too'

Richmond Times-Dispatch
November 17, 2012

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In Leonard Pitts’ recent column, “Saying no to the ‘politics of pitchforks’,” he commented that “the [GOP] has inexplicably chosen to double down on its shrinking base. Worse, it has chosen to appeal to that base with a platform of fear-mongering, xenophobia, demagoguery and inchoate anger.”

In view of the shameful tactics used by the Democrats during the presidential campaign, this struck me as an accurate description of the current state of that party. However, with Pitts, the target of his vitriol was the Republican Party — but the hypocrisy was unbelievably blatant, even by his standards.

Fear-mongering? During the campaign, it was the Democrats, not the GOP, who portrayed their opponents as a party which advocated dirty air and water as well as changes to Medicare that would push Grandma off a cliff.

Demagoguery? Democratic ads repeatedly depicted Mitt Romney as a felon and income-tax evader and even implied that he was responsible for the death of a steel-worker’s wife who died from cancer.

Xenophobia? It was Democrat Joe Biden who, speaking to a predominantly black audience, stated that the Republicans “want to put y’all back in chains.” Inchoate anger? What else could have motivated President Obama to refer to his opponent as a “bull*****er?”

After the election several pundits commented that the results proved you can play dirty and still win. Pitts’ column suggests that this rule applies to newspaper columnists as well as politicians.

John B. Browning

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