The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Right-Wing’ Sarah Palin?

Posted on | March 7, 2011 | 16 Comments

A story from the British Daily Mail about a deranged teenager stalking Sarah Palin brought me to a screeching halt in the first sentence:

A teenager who sent threatening letters to right-wing US politician Sarah Palin has been arrested in her home state of Alaska.

What is it about that phrase, “right-wing,” that obtrudes? It’s mainly because I have trouble imagining a scenario where a reporter would use “left-wing” in a similar context. Surely if Palin is “right-wing,” Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer and many other Democrats must be judged “left-wing” by the same measure, yet that label is never applied to them.

Sarah Palin is a Republican and, like most Republicans, is generally conservative. Barack Obama is a Democrat and, like most Democrats, generally liberal. Yet studies by the Media Research Center and others show that reporters apply the labels “conservative” or “right-wing” to Republicans far more often than they apply “liberal” or “left-wing” to Democrats.

Why is it that Republicans can win an enormous electoral landslide, a political indication that GOP views are closer to the mainstream “center” than the views of Democrats, and yet supposedly neutral reporters still feel the need to apply the label “right-wing” — suggesting an extreme “fringe” ideology — to one of the most popular figures in the Republican Party?

Just askin’


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