On PBS NewsHour, Both Shields and Gerson Slam North Carolina Bathroom Law

May 13th, 2016 11:46 PM

As right-leaning Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson substituted for New York Times columnist David Brooks on Friday's PBS NewsHour, he gave an analysis worthy of pretend-conservative Brooks as he was critical of the North Carolina bathroom law and asserted that there is an equivalency between the Obama administration on the left and supporters of the North Carolina law on the right.

As liberal columnist Mark Shields began his analysis by painting concerns about men going into women's restrooms to harass them as a "bogeyman," Gerson helpfully injected: "Solving a problem that didn't exist."

After Shields then seemed perplexed that more prominent Democrats are not speaking up in favor of the Obama administration's recent liberal directives on transgender issues, Gerson complained about "both sides politicizing this." Without acknowledging that the Charlotte city council stirred up the issue with its left-wing take on the public bathroom accessibility, he declared:

This is the kind of issue that is normally handled with cultural norms and people making compromises and, you know, meeting real needs because there is one here. People should be treated the way they want to be treated. That's a basic norm.

But now we have both sides politicizing this, raising this to the highest levels of stakes, likely to go way up in the courts, resentment, conflict, it's turned into a culture war controversy. And we take issues like this that maybe people of goodwill could come to some agreement on, and run them through this culture war machine of our politics. And then there has to be a winner and a loser when, in fact, I think in this type of issue, we have a long history of maybe reasonable people reaching accommodations in their own community.

After host Judy Woodruff asked, "But you're saying that's what the White House has done by coming out with this directive today?" Gerson added: "I think it's an overreach, but I think the other side overreached in North Carolina as well by politicizing this."