Why Racial Tit-For-Tat Reporting Is A Good Thing


“For there is such a gap between how one lives and how one ought to live that anyone who abandons what is done for what ought to be done learns his ruin rather than his preservation: for a man who wishes to profess goodness at all times will come to ruin among so many who are not good.” — Niccolo Machiavelli

al sharpton and Jesse Jackson

Over at Breitbart, Joel Pollack argues that conservatives shouldn’t report on black on white crime, just because liberals obsess over much rarer white on black crime.

Back when the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin story first exploded onto the national scene, with false accounts of a “white” shooter and edited 911 calls, we at Breitbart News made an editorial decision not to become involved in the racial tit-for-tat reporting that tempted many other sites. There was no reason to draw attention to the hypocrisy of the media and the so-called civil rights establishment regarding crimes where the racial labels were reversed, because the labels in the Martin case were wrong in the first place.

I dislike the tit-for-tat stories anyway. The fact that the media and the left are obsessed with race does not mean the rest of us must be. And there is the very real danger that in trying to demonstrate the hypocrisy of race-mongers like Al Sharpton and the journalists who follow eagerly in their wake, focusing on the race of perpetrators and victims ends up emphasizing stereotypes and inflaming passions–quite independently of the argument at hand. We risk becoming no better than those hypocrites whom we would criticize.

Respectfully, I have to disagree with Joel Pollack and my friends at Breitbart because I believe they’re making a mistake that’s all too common on the Right.

All too often, we conservatives act as if we’re going to get some kind of credit from the American people for being “above it all.” It’s almost a fairy tale mentality where the good guys fight fair, are nice to everyone and always win in the end. Granted, that strategy sometimes works and whether it does or not, we don’t want to adopt the “ends justify the means” strategy of the Left.

That being said, we conservatives often lose politically, culturally, and journalistically because we’re not willing to get down in the mud and slug it out with people who judge whether a tactic is good or not based almost solely on whether it works. At a certain point, we have to start asking hard questions about how the American people are reacting to some of these tactics. It’s like the designated hitter rule in baseball: If it’s legal, the other team is using it, and it puts you at a competitive disadvantage not to do it, it’s smart for you to do it as well.

Getting beyond that, sleazy tactics in politics tend to work a little bit like weapons of mass destruction in a war. If one side uses them, the weapons are effective, and there’s no response, then that side will use the weapons over and over. On the other hand, if the other side responds with the same weapons or worse, the other side will be willing to compromise.

If conservatives start pointing out that there are a whole lot more white Americans killed by black Americans than the reverse, then not only will it blunt the effectiveness of the next “Trayvon Martin” scam, it’ll make liberals much more reluctant to go down that road in the first place. You want to absolutely, positively guarantee that we see as much of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the rest of the race hustling poverty pimps as humanly possible? Well then, let them think they managed to make money winning a political victory without paying any sort of cost for it. On the other hand, throw their own logic right back in their faces over and over and you may be surprised at how reluctant liberals will become to follow them down this road again the next time their coffers get low and they decide to exploit a case like this to make a few bucks.

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