Ace: Basis of Media Bias is a Value Judgment

Ace has some thoughts on the Floyd Corkins/SPLC issue over at his site. Actually, he goes beyond the current issue to shed some light on the media response to all of these incidents of political violence. The whole thing is worth reading but here’s the current problem he seeks to address:

the media claims the right must “tone down its rhetoric” — make its rhetoric less inciting — in order to Protect the Public Safety. Any pungent, tough-worded bit of rhetoric could spur a nutter to do something violent.

True enough. I can’t argue with that. History is filled with
nutters who read something and then shot someone. For God’s sake, John
Lennon was killed by someone who got really, really incited by Catcher in the Rye.

But what you can’t help but notice is that the media never makes a
similar demand of those on the left to “tone down their rhetoric.”
Like, for example, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map,” which,
it turns out, quickly became a leftist’s Kill Map.

[…]

So where are the calls for SPLC to take down its Kill Map?

Given that both left-wing and right-wing speech has the potential to incite the unstable, what accounts for the vastly different treatment such speech is given by the media. For instance, why was Sarah Palin excoriated for days without any evidence while the SPLC is left mostly untouched?

The simplistic answer is that the media is biased. They’re rooting for the left. While there is some of that going on, Ace identifies a more subtle cause. It’s about value judgments:

The calculation on the part of the media is simple: the SPLC’s speech contains value and hence we’ll just have to accept that the occasional hateful lunatic might be incensed by it and kill someone.

That — those murders, those losses of human life — are just a cost
we’ll have to pay. Free speech is too important to be restricted due
to such concerns.

Yes, in this case, free speech outweighs the value of human life.

Now, consider conservative political messaging. Suddenly, in the media’s eyes, the costs which could flow from incitement are not worth it.

Why? Simple: Conservative speech is valueless, or, at least, of relatively low value compare to liberal speech…

Once you accept this premise — liberal speech is high value,
conservative speech is very low value — then you can see that all the
conclusions make logical sense (although the syllogism remains invalid,
as it’s based on a false premise). 

Conservative speech can be tolerated in principle but will always be attended by a Greek chorus of disapproval from a media that is naturally inclined to see us as the villain.

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