Selective Outrage: #NCPOL media plays favorites on Nazi comparisons

Raleigh-area media
Selective outrage alert.

Two elected officials make ridiculous comparisons between Nazism and modern day policy. One is a Democrat. The other is a Republican. The media, predictably, focuses on the Republican.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Well, no, don’t, because we have another instance of this routine double standard to talk about – and it happened right here in NC, courtesy of the usual suspects in the Raleigh-area mainstream media who, to put it charitably, lean left (as I’ve written about previously). Frankly, so does much of the media in the rest of the state, but the heaviest concentration is in our state capitol.

Anyway, over the weekend State Senator Bob Rucho (R) posted the following tweet:


As you might have guessed, this generated a lot of outrage across the political spectrum here in NC, and – naturally – beyond our borders, as the story also went national (surprise!). State and national journos, politicos, pundits, activists, etc all called on Rucho to apologize for the tweet, to explain himself, etc – some have even called for Rucho, an elected official, to resign, especially seeing as he won’t back down from nor apologize for it, claiming it was ‘misinterpreted.’ Whatever the case may be, the standard rule of thumb in politics is Godwin’s Law: First one who makes Nazi/Hitler comparisons automatically loses the argument, and Rucho clearly broke Godwin’s Law here and desperate Democrats in this state – including their bored media allies – jumped all over the tweet, and even played the “Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon” game by tying as many politicians to Rucho as they could, including NC Governor Pat McCrory as well. The McClatchy-owned liberals at the Charlotte Observer, unsurprisingly, led the way in this tactic. Editor Taylor Batten tweeted:


Rucho – who is not well-liked by the media here anyway – likely will continue to stand by his remarks, while local media types, analysts, politicos will still marvel over the fact that Rucho won’t retract them. With the massive outrage over Rucho’s tweet – his same-day explanation at his Twitter account didn’t make things any better – you’d think the North Carolina media (not to mention state Democrats) would have a standing rule that anyone making such types of inflammatory remarks be immediately rebuked, with apologies demanded. But – and I know you knew this was coming – here in NC, that is simply not the case.

Flashback to September 2011. Then NC State Senator Doug Berger (D) didn’t just take to Twitter to express his opinion on an issue with which he disagreed with Republicans, he stood on the floor of the NC Senate for SIX MINUTES, comparing the North Carolina Republican Party to … Nazi Germany and Hitler. Why? Because the elected Republicans were pushing to put Amendment One, the amendment that effectively banned alternative forms of marriage in NC, on the ballot the following May:

Democratic North Carolina state Senator speaks very passionately and thoughtfully about the vote the North Carolina state Senate took Wednesday that will un-constitutionally allow voters to decide whether or not to write a ban on same-sex marriage directly into the state constitution. North Carolina already has a law on the books banning gay marriage. North Carolina Senator Doug Berger spoke for over six minutes, explaining his Jewish heritage, and detailing Hitler’s rise to power, and closed with the famous poem, “First They Came,” attributed to pastor Martin Niemöller.

“Some of you might not realize that Adolf Hitler came to power through the ballot box,” Senstor Berger said. “And even though he was elected by the people, he was able to use the instruments of government to take away the rights of individuals. And it wasn’t simply communists, it wasn’t simply socialists, it wasn’t simply trade unions, it wasn’t simply Jehovah witnesses, it wasn’t simply Jews. One of the target groups that the Nazi regime went after were gay people. In fact, if you were gay, you were required to wear a pink triangle, to signify that you were a member of that despised group.”

“I believe if we pass this motion to concur, we are essentially putting a pink triangle into our state constitution,” he added.

Audio of his comments:

Whatever people thought of Amendment One, which was very controversial here at the time (currently now playing out in court) – dividing Republicans and Democrats alike (it eventually passed in May 2012) – the comparison Berger (not to be confused with current NC State Senator Phil Berger – a Republican and Senate Leader) made was disgusting and reprehensible …. and got little to no coverage nor outrage from the local media and the other usual suspects who would have been screaming at the top of their lungs for days had it been a Republican who said that.

Let’s recap: Rucho’s comments were posted on Twitter. Berger made his on the floor of the state senate. Both should have been called to the carpet, but only one was. Did Observer editor Taylor Batten make any judgment calls as to what state Democrats and their muted outrage and condemnation regarding Doug Berger’s remarks said about their party?? Nope.

What’s the explanation as to why the differing levels of coverage and media saturation? I’ll speculate: 1) Doug Berger is a Democrat. Rucho is a Republican. That in and of itself is enough for the double standards in these parts. But there’s another component I suspect was at play here: 2) Berger was a staunch opponent of Amendment One, and so were state Democrats as a party, as were most major newspapers here in NC. The NC media, and Democrats (but I repeat myself), probably looked the other way on his speech either because they didn’t want to make a major scandal out of it – which would have hurt the party (already hobbled by various scandals), agreed with Berger, or both. On the other hand, Berger made a Nazi comparison with Obamacare, and liberals in our state (including the media) strongly support President Obama’s signature legislation. Insulting Obamacare is a big no no to them – especially if you’re a Republican, and you only compound it when you make stupid Nazi analogies to try and prove a point.

In other words, same sh*t different day here in NC as it relates to the local media coverage and their corresponding, enduring narratives. Move along here, nothing new to see ….

**Hat tip for the Berger quote to WWNC talk radio host Pete Kaliner**

PS: If anyone out there can find substantial contrary evidence to what I’ve written here about the muted reaction to Doug Berger’s comparison, please let me know. Google searches found very little, and searching specific news sites found nothing.

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