What if Sean Hannity had said on Fox News that "the biggest terror threat in this country is black men, most of them radicalized to the left, and we have to start doing something about them"? The uproar would be immediate, unrelenting, and intense. And it would continue until Fox handed over Hannity's head on a platter.
Of course, Hannity said no such thing. But CNN's Don Lemon said this: "we have to stop demonizing people and realize that the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them."
As for the uproar—well, where is it?
As for CNN's response, "A CNN spokeswoman said Wednesday neither Lemon nor the network would speak more about it."
No big deal. Nothing to talk about. Controversy over.
Yet a few days earlier, Megyn Kelly's blackface comment was the straw that broke the camel's back, leading to her firing by NBC. What a contrast!
If her comment was offensive, his was beyond offensive. His was off the charts in terms of broadness and ugliness. His was off the charts in terms of being dangerous. Yes, he said, "we have to start doing something about them."
Why the glaring double standard?
But we actually see this double standard virtually every single day. It is a standard based on bias rather than balance and on politics rather than parity.
What would have happened if Laura Ingraham claimed that Barack Obama "radicalized so many more people than ISIS ever did."
What would happen to her career?
To my knowledge, she said no such thing.
But just this week, GQ's Julia Ioffe said on CNN that "this president has radicalized so many more people than ISIS ever did."
To his credit, CNN's David Urban responded immediately, saying, "That's just ... it's unconscionable for you to say that."
Jake Tapper, however, offered little resistance, and Ioffe's apology did not exactly hit things out of the park.
The double standards continue.
What if, on the anniversary of 9/11, Mark Levin said that Joe Biden "has done more damage to the dream of America than any foreign adversary ever could"?
Could you imagine the outrage and calls for him to be taken off the air?
But on September 10, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough wrote that President Trump "has done more damage to the dream of America than any foreign adversary ever could."
Have you noticed that he has not skipped a beat on MSNBC since penning those unfortunate words?
And for all those who attack President Trump's immigration policy, I assume you disagree with these words, correct? To quote exactly, "We simply cannot allow people to pour into the U.S., undetected, undocumented, unchecked and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently, lawfully to become immigrants in this country."
There's only one problem. These are not the words of Donald Trump. They are the words of Senator Barack Obama, spoken in 2005. Even Snopes.com, a left-leaning fact-checking website, verifies this.
Yet Obama was praised for expressing these sentiments while Trump is condemned for expressing similar views.
How about this immigration quote? Surely Trump is a bigot for saying such things:
But there are some areas that the federal government should not leave and should address and address strongly. One of these areas is the problem of illegal immigration. After years of neglect, this administration has taken a strong stand to stiffen the protection of our borders. We are increasing border controls by 50 percent. We are increasing inspections to prevent the hiring of illegal immigrants. And tonight, I announce I will sign an executive order to deny federal contracts to businesses that hire illegal immigrants.
Let me be very clear about this: We are still a nation of immigrants; we should be proud of it. We should honor every legal immigrant here, working hard to become a new citizen. But we are also a nation of laws.
Horrible, you say? This is why you're a Democrat rather than a Republican?
Well, these are not Trump's words either. Rather, they are the words of President Bill Clinton in his 1996 State of the Union address.
Did I say double standard? Did I say that we judge things by bias more than by balance?
But the sword cuts both ways (and here is where I will offend many of my fellow conservatives).
It's true that the TV and news media are overwhelmingly leftist. And that means that a liberal like Don Lemon will hardly be held accountable, whereas a conservative will be eaten alive for perceived insensitive or racially charged comments.
But if we are to be honest with ourselves, we would have to acknowledge that the very things we condone when they're on "our side" are the things we condemn when they're on the "other side." We have our double standards too.
If you don't believe me, try this little exercise. If you are a fellow conservative and fellow Trump supporter, imagine how would you feel about Donald Trump if he was to the left of Bernie Sanders politically and ideologically. Would you appreciate his deprecating tweets? Would you excuse his exaggerations and misstatements? Would you consider him a champion or a bully?
So, my appeal is simple and succinct. Let's call balls and strikes fairly. Let's hold the sword of truth firmly and unflinchingly.
In a society swarming with lies and misinformation, only the truth can set us free.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test? Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.
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