From The Federalist: Brat Voters aren’t anti-Semitic but the media sure are anti-Christian
Mollie Hemingway zingers on bad reporting on religion and the election of David Brat are just so good that no Gegrapha member should miss them:
On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated in his Republican primary by college economics professor David Brat. Cantor’s steak-house budget was actually $50,000 more than Brat spent on his entire successful campaign.
In his acceptance speech, Brat outlined his belief in six principles — free markets, equal treatment under the law, fiscal responsibility, constitutional governance, peace through strong defense, and faith and strong moral fiber being necessary for the continuation of the Republic. Sounds pretty reasonable, no? Well, not to folks in most newsrooms, who lost their ever-living minds.
Nobody expected this upset. The vast majority of the media basically hadn’t even heard Brat’s name before he unseated the House’s number two Republican. But that didn’t stop them from almost immediately weighing in on what the election meant. Will you be surprised to learn that the media were pretty sure the election meant bad things for the G.O.P.?
1) Latent — Super-Latent — Anti-Semitism
One common theory proffered by media geniuses, from the New York Times to the New York Daily News to Politico, was that Republican voters in Virginia’s 7th District had suddenly developed a raging case of anti-semitism.
I’m not joking. This was an actual theory that was treated as legitimate.
Keep in mind that Eric Cantor was first elected to Congress by these folks in 2000. They re-elected him six times. He lost this week by 10 points but just two years ago he won his primary by 58 points. Heck, he’s been representing many of these voters since he was elected by them to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1992! But many political reporters are pretty sure that what made this election so different was good old-fashioned Jew hatred. A hatred that was — for mysterious reasons — latent for, what, 22 years? Will Antonin put it well:
The general mood of the media in response to Brat winning was what we in my house-with-young-kids term “unhinged temper tantrum,” but no one showed that better than Reid Epstein, a former Politico reporter now at the Wall Street Journal who simply lost it. Embarrassingly so. Like, I imagine Eric Cantor’s most devoted and crushed staffers didn’t embarrass themselves like this when they rented out the Tune Inn on Wednesday to drown their sorrows and play Creed (?) and Guns & Roses (!) on the juke box. John Podhoretz at Commentary notes, in his blog post “An Appalling Cantor Meme“:
Reid Epstein of the Wall Street Journal proffered his own version in this cute set of sentences: “David Brat, the Virginia Republican who shocked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Tuesday, wrote in 2011 that Hitler’s rise ‘could all happen again, quite easily.’ Mr. Brat’s remarks, in a 2011 issue of Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology, came three years before he defeated the only Jewish Republican in Congress.” How Brat’s invocation of Hitler relates to Cantor’s Judaism is not clear, but Epstein decided to link them, and the link is suggestive, and not in a good way.
Exactly. This is incoherent. Noting that Brat has a negative view of Hitler has what, exactly, to do with him unseating Cantor? Or is it that Brat was warning people that Hitler was not history’s last monster? That’s a problem why? What in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks? There are many things political reporters should not do in public. Going full Godwin for all the world to see is probably one of them.
7) Bonus Tracks
This Huffington Post reporter was pushing out the “Jewish” angle as well as this one:
Indeed, Brat didn’t just quote the New Testament but … Jesus. That’s not even legal any more is it?
Great work, reporters. You didn’t really shed much light on Dave Brat, free market economics professor, but you did reveal much about your treatment of politicians with religious views you dislike.
Read the all the zingers at The Federalist.