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Crocodile Tears from Wall Street Journal Editorial Page


Observe “Trashing Petraeus,” an editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal. It weeps for the loss of civility in political discourse, pointing to a advertisement in yesterday’s New York Times and congressional Democrats’ silence about it as evidence that “the ability of the U.S. political system to function will be impaired in a way no one would wish for.”

One element of the ad is juvenile at best — turning General Petraeus into “General Betray Us” — a sure way to demean one’s own message. (I suspect the general, a mature and smart man, shook his head at the foolishness of the line and, um, moved on.) But the ad’s political advocacy seems otherwise straightforward.

The MoveOn ad is, however, downright low-key next to the hard-edged, hard-right political spewings from the Journal editorial page over the past several decades. No partisan organization — and the Journal editorial page surely qualifies as one based on its record — has done more to demean political civility in this nation.

I read the Journal and its editorial page every day that it’s published. Until Rupert Murdoch wrecks it, which I consider a near-certainty, I’ll keep reading it — because the news columns are some of the finest journalism in the world and the editorial page, however reprehensible at times, forcefully reflects the authoritarian (except when it comes to corporate misdeeds) and wealth-knows-best agenda of some of our nation’s most powerful people.

But the pretense of shock, shock at the tactics that they — and their friends in the conservative propaganda machine — have employed so systematically over the years transcends hypocrisy. Spare us.

UPDATE: Dan Kennedy looks more broadly at how conservative media including bloggers (people who apparently have not read history too carefully) are absurdly flogging MoveOn with a “McCarthyism” label. And in the comments on his piece you’ll find a pointer that suggests the right-wing Town Hall site actually originated the “Betray Us” meme, though aimed at another Republican; apparently, it’s only a terrible thing to say when a left-leaning organization does it.

1 Comment on “Crocodile Tears from Wall Street Journal Editorial Page”

  1. #1 Jake
    on Sep 11th, 2007 at 6:37 am

    Back at you… spare us.