Newsweek’s loathing of Sarah Palin comes through loud and clear in the September 29 issue, which awards most of four pages to atheist author Sam Harris to attack her religious "ignorance" and dismiss her as "a beauty queen/sports reporter who stumbled into small-town politics, and who is now on the verge of stumbling into, or upon, world history." (Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson defended Palin’s background in a sidebar.) Newsweek’s headline was blunt: "When Atheists Attack: A noted provocateur rips Sarah Palin—and defends elitism." The highlighted quote is "The joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance – it’s what’s so unnerving about this pick." That shortens the actual quote, in which Harris claims Palin supporters "celebrate" her ignorance.
It’s hard to escape the idea that Harris is speaking for the vast majority of the Newsweek editorial staff as he ripped Palin as the McCain campaign’s "Rapture-ready extremist" being led around like a "pet pony." (People who think the media were sexist toward Hillary probably can't find her described as a "pet pony.") Picking up where the passage starts that Newsweek liked best, Harris mocks Palin with an imaginary Charlie Gibson interview:
Left-leaning journalists don't just pull their punches when it comes to criticizing liberal politicians, they also seem paradoxically inclined to do so when it comes to discussing radical Islam. This curious phenomenon (curious in that modern liberalism is highly secular and radical Islam decidedly is not) has repeated itself many times over the years and is really one of the most bizarre behaviors I've seen in politics.
As strange and morally obtuse that we on the center-right believe the western liberal press to be on this issue, surely the more frustrated people have got to be clear-thinking liberals like Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens who face the task of trying to get their ideological compatriots to stand up for rationality and civil society. It's a difficult task made even more frustrating by the high degree of self-censorship among liberal media elites. Writing earlier this week at the Huffington Post, Harris (an equal opportunity critic of all religion) recounts how the Washington Post refused to run an article he wrote on the "Fitna" movie that the paper deemed "too critical" of Islam.
Such behavior originates in not just the usual double-standard westernized religion faces but in a very real fear among left elites that criticizing Islam is a physically dangerous endeavor. Unfortunately, as Harris writes, this behavior just exacerbates the problem:
In all the brouhaha last week over the incendiary comments made by Barack Obama's pastor the media seemed to forget to partake in their traditional Holy Week Christian-bashing excercise. There were a few entries in the "Easter Hit Parade," like the Comedy Central show "Root of All Evil" which my boss, Brent Bozell, wrote about in a column recently, and an episode of "Law and Order" which featured another Christian-stones-someone storyline.
I suppose it's good news that there was less faith flagellation courtesy of the liberal media, and yet at the same time it's sad that I was expecting to find it at Easter time. But the fact remains that Christmas and Easter are generally times when the media attacks on Christians are more pronounced.