Cross-posted at Operation Reach B.L.A.C.K.

Have we reached the point where the media can no longer ignore the elephant in the room? For reasons that I’ll discuss later, this question is somewhat rhetorical, but the following clip at least begins to talk about the problem in more direct terms (Note: sans the obligatory Is the White House responsible? introduction). . .

Don Lemon asks for an answer. I’ll address the media as a whole.

Memo to the Media: Hate matters.

And your failure to call it hate is a big part of the problem.

The media contributes to the instability of this vitriolic atmosphere when it seeks to legitimize the “anger” or “fear” that’s supposedly behind this hate speech. This is not about the “concerns” of “real Americans” nor should the media continue to cloak hateful rhetoric under the guise of “Main Street vs. Wall Street.” This has gone way beyond public policy or populist anger directed at the banks. This has gone beyond conversations about the size of government or even fear of mass unemployment. Such matters might contribute to the chaos, but the source remains as simple as these five words:

I. Want. My. Country. Back.

(more after the jump)

Don’t make it any more complicated than it needs to be. They keep trying to tell you. It’s really not that hard to figure out.

I. Want. My. Country. Back.

Now, the media can parse these words for all they’re worth, but the meaning remains the same. This land is my land, this land is NOT your land.

The sentiments of racism; this fear of the “otherness”; the sexism and homophobia. . . all of this is as blatant as it’s been in decades. Don’t believe me. Ask yourself, has the argument ever changed from subject to subject?

I. Want. My. Country. Back.

Gay rights. Justice Sotomayor. The Stimulus Bill. Health Care. Immigration Reform. Paranoia over the 2010 Census. Calls for Secession. Parallels drawn to the “War of Great Northern Aggression.”

All speak toward the same cry . . .

I. Want. My. Country. Back.

And implicit in such a statement is the follow up . . .

I. Will. Take. My. Country. Back.

By force? Well, that’s been the threat for months now.

The rhetoric is as clear as day, yet the media continues to ignore the very real impact behind the very real death threats we’ve seen in the past week.

The media has been irresponsible in its coverage of this hate. It has been negligent in giving such hate a platform on the national cable news networks. And this constant search for some false moral equivalency between Left and Right ignores the very real threat at hand. The media’s foremost concern at a time like this shouldn’t be the politics of the matter. No, instead the media should be concerned with calling out the next domestic terrorist before he or she tries something stupid.

This is not a game. This is not a civics lesson or some poli sci 101 course in undergrad. This is real. And, if it continues to ignore the obvious signs, the media’s shameful ploy for evenhandedness might overlook the makings of another tragedy . . . a tragedy that perhaps might still be avoided if the media were to simply wake up and do its job.

I will say this ahead of time. . .

Memo to the Media: Please spare your audience the fake outrage and crocodile tears if these threats turn into action. Spare us the stupid questions of How did this happen? and Who could have seen this coming? if these threats turn into action.

Spare us the phony documentaries and town hall discussions. Spare us your self-aggrandizing coverage of memorial services . . . your half-hearted commentaries . . . your disingenuous interviews with grieving friends and family members.

Media, if these threats should turn into action, please spare us any efforts to make us believe that you actually care. Spare any efforts to fool us into believing that you’ll actually listen.

Because you have not listened thus far. You have subjected real concerns of hate to the same, tired, selfish, ratings-grabbing back and forth of political gamesmanship and infotainment that you try to pass off as news every single day. You have ignored the culpability of elected officials and their irresponsible use of hyperbolic rhetoric.

What is the answer? Well, the media can start by acknowledging its role as an enabler. Politicians who align themselves with this rhetoric are inciting violence. . . Politicians who ignore this danger are not credible. . . Sarah Palin’s rhetoric isn’t cute or “folksy”. . . and “concern” over the size of government is no excuse for blatant and unapologetic threats of violence.

Hate is hate. Stop giving it cover. Call them out for what they are.

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