Stating the obvious?

Not sure how I feel about this Kevin Drum post in which he backs the NYT for not being more explicit that Tea Partiers’ beliefs are, objectively, crazy. On the one hand, I see his point – the NYT is trying not to condescend to its readers by having to constantly restate the obvious. On the other…I don’t think Kevin’s comparison to a North Korea story holds up, either.

The difference between not pointing out that Tea Partiers are nuts and not pointing out that the DPRK’s views are totally divorced from reality is that the NYT doesn’t routinely bend over backwards to advance pro-DPRK narratives. Whereas I can point to any number of Adam Nagourney or Matt Bai stories in the NYT that promulgate a narrative that amounts to “Real Americans are Always Right.” Real Americans, in this case, are people who are really, really similar to Tea Partiers – white, aging rural conservatives from flyover country. This demographic is sacrosanct and its feelings go unquestioned. If it believes that Iraq is an imminent threat to the US, that climate change is bogus, that Barack Obama is a radical socialist revolutionary, then that view is legitimate and must not be disturbed by noting the facts. It’s this attitude that has enabled all kinds of insidious goalpost-moving – nobody ever is impolite enough to call Real Americans on their bullshit, so the bullshit just gets crazier and crazier as time goes on.

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