Readers of this blog may remember the post in January re some of the opinions expressed immediately after the shooting in Tucson of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.  The worst were those, by people like Slate’s Jacob Weisberg and the New York Times’ Paul Krugman, who attempted – before anything was known about the shooting – to link it to right-wing political rhetoric.

Though it turned out that the shooter, Jared Loughner, was just another nutjob with no discernible political interests (it’s always so embarrassing when that happens), people like Krugman and Weisberg carry on, unchastened.

So whereas, re the Gifford shooting, Krugman said: “Even if hate is what many want to hear, that doesn’t excuse those that pander to that desire.  They should be shunned by all decent people,” he is now saying, in columns about the debt ceiling and possibility of default, things like:

A number of commentators seem shocked at how unreasonable Republicans are being.  “Has the GOP gone insane?” they ask.  Why, yes, it has.  But this isn’t something that just happened, it’s the culmination of a process that has been going on for decades.  Anyone surprised by the extremism and irresponsibility now on display either hasn’t been paying attention, or has been deliberately turning a blind eye….

The problem with American politics right now is Republican extremism, and if you’re not willing to say that, you’re helping make that problem worse. 

Meanwhile, Jacob Weisberg, whose emanations within hours of Giffords’ shooting included a piece titled “The Tea Party and the Tucson Tragedy: How anti-government, pro-gun, xenophobic populism made the Giffords shooting more likely,” is now saying, re the debt ceiling deal:

Some of the congressional Republicans who are preventing action to help the economy are simply intellectual primitives who reject modern economics on the same basis that they reject Darwin and climate science….

At the level of political culture, we have learned some other sobering lessons: that compromise is dead and that there’s no point trying to explain complicated matters to the American people.  The president has tried reasonableness and he has failed….

A Congress dominated by mindless cannibals is now feasting on a supine president. 

One sometimes wonders what certain people were like as children, but with Weisberg and Krugman we don’t have to wonder because they’re still children.  As such, they aren’t even worth talking about, especially as there are people on the right who are every bit as juvenile.  But the difference is that the right-wingers don’t occupy such lofty, and so-called “mainstream,” positions.

For all practical purposes Paul Krugman is these days the face of the New York Times, and though Jacob Weisberg is employed by a considerably less noteworthy organization, Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co., as “mainstream” as it gets.

Like those high-frequency sounds that only dogs can hear, few people will be able to detect the value in the opinions of commentators who have such contempt for them, a thing that ought to be of concern to those people at news organizations whose business plans count on mainstream Americans as current or prospective subscribers.

                                  

The opinions expressed above are those of the writer and not of The Media Institute, its Board, contributors, or advisory councils.