Chris Matthews scored a home run in an interview with a naive Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minn. He framed a question using the term "Anti-Americanism" and Ms. Bachmann fell into the trap and used the words from the question in the answer.
In my web wanderings and listening to Public Radio and other liberal sources, I've come across fifty plus references to the interview below. The left is promoting the piece as they believe they can use it to frame Republicans as bigotted. Reports say that Democrats have now given over $1.3 million to her opponent who might well win the seat from a person they've successfully labeled a bigot.
Chris Matthew's set up is simple. He asks a question with a politically charged catch phase in it. If his mark answers the question using words from the question (which is our natural behavior) then he wins one for his party.
I went to bed angry that our press has been taken over by second rate scum like Mr. Matthews.
I woke up in the middle of the night fuming about the interview for a much deeper reason.
As you see. We actually need to be able to talk about things such as "anti-americanism."
The assumption I made when listening to the piece was that Ms. Bachmann was playing the labeling game. We all read into Ms. Bachmann's using the word forced into her mouth by an attack reporter as some sort of evil plot conceived in the Skull and Bones sanctom of the Republican Party to associate the lable Anti-American with Obaman.
Ten thousand or so liberal bloggers and radio attack jocks took their marching orders and went with the talking points.
Obviously, this is what the Republicans were trying to do; It is the way we were taught to think in school.
The person trained in classical thinking would look at the discussion and notice that Ms. Bachmann was simply engaged in open discourse with the words on the table. The Republican from Minnesota wanted a way that says she sees negative things in the Chicago Political system. She tried expressing the thought with the words given by the moderator.
This is the way that talking works.
What has me most furious with the left is that they have this systematic way of destroying our basic ability to communicate. Currently, there is a whole slew of "Voldemort" style words that no-one is allowed to speak. We can't say the word "unamerican" we can't say the word "Marxist." When you do, the left accuses you of labeling people.
But, wait a second, with the possible exception of Kant and Hegel, Marx was the most important philospher of the modern age.
It is a diabolical trick. Marxist thought permeates the academic community, but the left has encaseed their saint in a "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" aura.
To the PointNow, I agree that slapping people with labels diverts from quality discourse. However, I believe that people should be able to use words without being attacked in the way the left attacked Ms. Bachmann.
For example, the term American and Unamerican are extremely important in helping us define our national identity.
First thing one should note is that definitions might change with time. For example there was a period in the 1800s when Mormons were extremely Anti-American. This is verified by the fact that they marched out of the United States and had military units that harrassed American soldiers as the soldiers moved into Utah to stop what they saw as the Mormon Rebellion.
Today Mormons go to parades and wave the American flag.
Are Marxists Anti-AmericanIt is nice having words that we can use in discussions. The question "Are Marxists Anti-American?" is an interesting question from a logical perspective. A Marxist is a person who holds the cause of the revolution above all other issues. Clearly, when America is the primary obstacle to the cause, then the Marxist is anti-American and seeks to find ways to pull down the obstacle to the cause. If America were itself to become a Marxist state, then Marxists would be pro America as they use America as a launching pad for the next phase of the revolution.
This is a very simple and clean example of the way that things change.
There are many on the far left and a few on the far right whose patriotism is conditional on their group being in power.
This brings up the next question if a person's patriotism is conditional, is it really patriotism? A group that has the attitude "If I am not in power; I will agitate against you," is somewhat dangerous. Unfortunately, it is impossible to look inside a person's head and see their intent.
In conclusion, I agree wholeheartedly with attempts to avoid the small minded politics that comes when people toss about labels. However, I think the game where we place words in the "He-who-must-not-be-named" category is even more distructive than the appearance of words we don't like.
Regardless, this gotcha interview on MSNBC and the large number of blogs featuring the interview in their talking points stand out as a prime example of the dismal state of the American media.