It’s bitter medicine, but it might work.
At the very least, it’ll result in a better-informed electorate.
I’ll tell you how.
First, though, some background:
The American left and their political wing, the Democrat Party, have long had a tactic that has served them very well because of the dishonesty of the media: (1) make some disgusting accusation or insult against some Conservative or a Republican,(1) then if the recipient fires back, they (2) moan operatically about “incivility in our discourse.”
It’s worked for one simple reason: the press report as “news” any Democrat slander, while echoing the complaints about incivility if a Conservative or Republican fires right back.
A recent example comes from a speech that Hillary Clinton gave to a university audience somewhere. In that speech, Clinton all but called Republicans “terrorists.” The media analyzed Clinton’s disgusting smear by asking whether it meant that Hillary was now taking a more aggressive tone in her campaign. Not by reporting that what she said was revolting and disgusting.
Except, that is, FOX News, which allowed Conservative commentators to come on and respond to Clinton’s vilification. They responded with righteous, but mild, indignation. I think they knew that this is how things happen in America.
So, here’s how to fix it.
Again, the fix has to come from FOX News. (By the way, I mentioned another way to fix interactions between the left and right here, and again it required action from the only network that could pull it off, FOX News.(2))
Here’s the fix: When Hillary Clinton, or Bernie Sanders, or Martin O’Malley uncorks any of these slanders — you know the ones: racist, nazi, fascist, sexist, hater, homophobe, etc, etc… you know the litany. And now, you can add “terrorist.” — then FOX should allow each Republican candidate one unchallenged, unquestioned shot right back at the original slanderer.
Make no mention of party, of left or right, Conservative or liberal…just that if someone takes a cheap personal shot at a candidate or candidates, the recipient of the cheap shot will be granted a free cheap shot right back. One unchallenged, unquestioned, unremarked upon, cheap shot. That’s all.
Here’s how it would work in practice:
- Hillary calls Republicans terrorists, as she did.
- FOX News points out the slander, and indicates that each candidate can come on and take one free swing at Clinton.
- Ted Cruz comes on and says something like this: “Hillary Clinton called Republicans, called me, a terrorist. That’s rich coming from a dried-out, reactionary, whining old hag!” Then he gets a quizzical look on his face and says, “What? Was that too harsh? Really? Frankly I’d rather be called a ‘dried-out, reactionary, whining old hag‘ than a terrorist any old day. And it’s a whole lot scummier to call someone a terrorist than to say what I said.”
- Then Scott Walker comes on and says, “Hillary called us Republicans ‘terrorists?’ Really? I wonder who the terrorists around the world are hoping will be the next President. Does anyone in the world doubt that the world’s terrorists are praying that Hillary Clinton will be the next President? She can call us terrorists all she wants, that’s her opinion and her right. However, there’s no doubt, it’s a simple fact: Hillary Clinton is the terrorists’ candidate.”
- Then Donald Trump comes on and says very simply, “Hillary Clinton, the worst Secretary of State in the history of this country, called us Republicans ‘terrorists?’ We know where the real terrorists are — they’re in the Middle East, and lots of them are in the United States because the administration in which she was a high official for four long years, failed to defend our borders; failed to preserve the victory in Iraq that we bought with our blood and tears; failed to do what was necessary to protect Americans in Libya; failed to protect vital American secrets that she kept on her illegal private server (pause) … failed to accomplish anything of substance, anything worthwhile, in her entire carer.” Then he should turn around and walk away from the camera, as if in total disgust.
- Then Jeb Bush comes on and says, “Well… Hillary Clinton calls us Republicans ‘terrorists?’ The woman who allowed terrorists around the world to read Top Secret communications coming to and from our government is calling us ‘terrorists’? I suppose the usual suspects in the media defended the absolutely outrageous slander, as they’re ignoring what she did to give Top Secret information to terrorists while it resided on her insecure server.”
- Next comes Carly Fiorina, and Ben Carson, and Rick Perry, and Rand Paul, and so on.
Let’s call it FOX News’s “Foul Shot Policy.” FOX calls the foul — “Clinton Calls Republicans Terrorists” — and FOX hands the ball for a free shot to the ones who got fouled… simple as that.
You know what would happen, right? The first time this happens, the left will go apoplectic. Good. The next thing that will happen is that MSNBC and CNN and ABC and NBC and CBS will announce that they are going to do the same thing! Great! Let it happen! Then, let the graybeards in the media and the parties harrumph and splutter.
Things are not acceptable as they are now, where a halfwit Democrat, who speaks for much of her entire party, can call Republicans ‘terrorists’ and get away with it.
Things have been unacceptable now for a very long time, and this would either (1) bring it to an end, or (2) signal to the left that we’ve awakened on the right, and we’re not going to take any more of their hogwash. The left know full well that we’re a lot smarter than they are and they would be afraid.
That’s one reason why calling the Democrats on their slander — and firing right back — would moderate the Democrats’ tone. Here’s another reason: If they come on to MSNBC or CNN and get their “free shot,” they’re just going to talk the exact same way they talk now. They won’t change a thing. At that point, they’ll realize that all of a sudden the Republicans are getting shots in. And those shots are landing! After all, if the Clinton “Republicans are terrorists” incident had played out as I just described it, then it would get a lot of media play. So would future such incidents.
And the Democrats would think long and hard before trotting out such slanders in the future.
At some point soon enough, graybeards on both sides — Democrats who are terrified of becoming irrelevant, and Republicans with a distaste for any aspect of the down-and-dirty of politics — would call for it all to end. FOX News should then come out with a simple statement: We’ll stop doing it when politicians stop doing slanderous cheap shots, and personal attacks.
If FOX News were to adopt just those two things — the “Equal Time Policy” and the “Foul Shot Policy” — then they would transform the delivery of news — for the better — overnight.
(1) – Far too infrequently, unfortunately, is a Republican the same thing as a Conservative.
(2) – We suggested that FOX News give additional time in any debate setting to the person who spoke for less time during the debate. This was in response to my observation that leftists interrupt, go way over their time, hog the microphone, talk over others and generally do whatever they can to prevent other ideas from being heard. Our suggestion: Let debates continue as they are, but measure the extra time anyone takes, and grant that amount of time to the debate opponent at the end. Without possibility of retort from the other person. We should call it something like “The Equal Time Policy.”