Joy Reid’s Bizarre Non-Apology is “All in the Family”: Liner Notes

I have a new column up at The Federalist on MSNBC host Joy Reid’s non-apology for past homophobic blog posts and tweets, which someone on Twitter joked could have been titled “(If) I Blogged It.”  But what it’s really about is reminding people that the progressive left has its share of “alliances” with racists, misogynists and other bigots that are tolerated by the establishment in ways that are never tolerated when found on the right:

The operational rule of American progressivism was explained by Jeffrey Goldberg when he fired Kevin Williamson from The Atlantic for his views on abortion. When Williamson objected to Goldberg that The Atlantic had a history of publishing provocative writers like the late Christopher Hitchens, Goldberg replied, ‘Yes. But Hitchens was in the family. You are not.’

Many have remarked on the tribalism embodied in that response. More significantly, it is tribalism in the service of enforcing the ugliest sort of double-standard. The rules are simply different for those ‘in the family.’

As usual, I had to leave various points out due to length.  For example, when noting MSNBC would be hard-pressed to fire Reid while retaining Brian Williams and defending Tom Brokaw, I cut a bit noting it’s the funhouse mirror version of the Boston Globe firing Mike Barnicle in part because they decided they had to fire Patricia Smith.  That the calculus now points against firing people may indicate the growing imperative of maintaining “alliances.”

(When I sarcastically noted that “dozens of women at NBC spontaneously decided to defend” Brokaw, I did not know that they reportedly “they felt under huge pressure to sign” the letter.)

Also, while  focused mostly on the institutional question, I wish I could have included a bit on rank-and-file lefties on social media.  Conservatives who happen to be women, or persons of color, or Jewish, or LGBTQ, etc. are pretty routinely the focus of bigoted attacks from progressives.  They also get attacked by the alt-right, but the alt-right slime does not purport to exercise absolute moral authority as the progressive left does.

Had I been able to get into that, I could have gone further into the degree to which this dynamic reflects a deeper, more basic difference between left and right.  The latter tend to assume human nature does not change much, recognizes that this is why we need “civilization,” and argue with the left primarily about how quick or coercive we can be in civilizing others.  The further identity politics drives the left into thinking humanity can be remade and remade quickly and coercively, the more the Joy Reid stories they will be forced to overlook.

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