BREAKING: DTH Claims Mantle of Conservatism For… Itself!

So, technically this isn’t breaking news, as it actually happened yesterday, and I am only just now getting around to writing about it. But, I’m taking my cue from the DTH here, never let the facts get in the way of a good headline.

The DTH’s Quickhits yesterday were quite amusing. Elizabeth has already covered their drive-by job on the Carolina Review, but let’s also consider their treatment of “Conservatism.” Note that’s “”Conservatism”” not “Conservatism” because we all know that Conservatism isn’t actually a real thing. People aren’t Conservatives, they’re “Conservatives.” You know, kind of like how the DTH only reports “facts” and not actual facts and, they have “reporters” not reporters. And people don’t actually adhere to Conservatism, they adhere to “Conservatism,” which is some sort of made-up political ideology that exists solely to oppress black people and gays.

But back to the actual text of the “Quickhit.” I do like the way it started out: “Let us be clear…” I think they were trying to channel some of that old Hope n’ Change of my man Barack (who apparently will be on campus Tuesday… what’s up with that???). But they continue, “There’s nothing conservative about Amendment One.” Note that’s conservative, not “conservative,” so I think we may be talking about actual Conservatism here. This is quite amusing. Apparently, the DTH thinks that it has some sort of authority to decide what is and isn’t conservative. Because when William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan and all those other Conservative luminaries died, they didn’t pass the mantle of Conservatism onto something like National Review or Human Events or some other group like that. No, the Daily Tar Heel has inherited the mantle of Conservatism. Yes, that’s right. The same newspaper that has advocated for such Conservative positions as raising the county sales tax and affirmative action is now your one, authoritative voice for Conservatism on campus.

And we all know how balanced the DTH has been on the marriage issue. Just check out how evenly divide their pro- and anti- amendment pieces break down:

Pro-Amendment

1

2

Anti-Amendment

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

So, for those of you keeping score, that’s 27 articles/letters/editorials opposing Amendment One to 2.

I’ll also refrain from commenting on the glaring contradiction between a paper that openly endorses a health insurance mandate and then claims that you should oppose Amendment One because “If you don’t want the government involved in you [sic] life, then you shouldn’t vote for an amendment that would infringe on citizens’ liberty.” Right. The only thing that’s more personal than marriage is your health, but it’s OK if the government has complete authority to tell you how and what kind of care you will receive.

And just in case the aforementioned hypocrisy wasn’t enough to convince you, be warned that if you’re conservative and still support the Amendment, then “you’re either intellectually deficient or just plain dishonest.” This obviously explains why, in a fairly conservative state, 58% of voters support the Amendment. It’s not because there’s actually a conservative argument to be made for traditional marriage (an argument that the DTH has never bothered to consider), but because supporters of the Amendment are stupid. We all know that anyone who dares disagree with the Omniscient and Omnipotent Daily Tar Heel doesn’t do it because they might have a legitimate disagreement with the paper (or… God forbid, the Daily Tar Heel gets it… WRONG!). They do it, because these people lack the capacity for rational thought and are barbarian ignoramuses who need the enlightened reason of the DTH’s master editorialists to tell them what to think.

So remember, the next time you want to know the authentic conservative position on an issue and you’re only interested in learning some of the facts and reading half-baked editorials, just pick up the nearest Daily Tar Heel. You’ll be glad you did.

13 comments

  1. I appreciate the irony of calling someone "intellectually deficient" and having a painfully obvious typo:
    "…don't want the government involved in YOU life…"
    Jus' sayin'.

  2. Come on… I think this article could include a little more substance than a simple tyrade over the DTH making use of the term conservative. The DTH wasn't even claiming to be Conservative. They were merely pointing out why they thought conservatives shouldn't vote for the amendment. This article could have easily raised the important tenets of conservatism to show why their one featured aspect of conservatism was really just one thing conservatives have in common with libertarians, who when it comes down to it are just borderline liberals who don't like government involvement. Let's skip over the tyrading and hear the substantive defense of conservativism's many-faceted relationship to amendment 1!
    PS- Trying to make name rhyme with other guest comment.

  3. Hmm, a terrible amendment by the right-wing conservatives doesn’t result in the DTH publishing equal space for both sides. Maybe because the amendment doesn’t deserve equal (or even have!) equal support for both sides.

    If the left-wing offered an amendment to our constitution saying Dennis Kucinich should be paid $1 million per year until he is elected to public office again, would you still suggest equal space in the DTH should be reserved for both sides?

    1. If we’re going to allot publishing space based on relative support, the numbers should actually be reversed. If you click through to the PPP poll I linked to, you’ll notice that nearly 60% of NC voters favor the Amendment. The DTH is, of course, free to publish whatever it wants, but if it wants to be something other than a lap dog for the Democratic Party, it ought to provide a little more balance in its coverage of the Amendment.

      If you think that the definition of marriage is as trivial as your Dennis Kucinich example, it will be difficult to have an intelligent discussion on this. However, many people believe that this Amendment is important (for one reason or the other) and, it is something that clearly concerns people. If the DTH is truly interested in a free market of ideas, it will provide an opportunity for both sides to voice their arguments. Censoring the side the editors oppose is a disservice to the DTH’s readers.

      1. 1. You listed a statewide poll (and a more recent statewide polls show 61% OPPOSE amendment 1, FYI), but the DTH is not a state-wide newspaper, it is a UNC-CH newspaper "Serving UNC and the community since 1893". So what is more relevant is campus-wide opinion, which I would argue is in line with the amount of space given. Student Congress actually voted to oppose Amendment 1 in similar proportion given by the DTH on this issue.

        2. When did I say defining marriage was trivial? I'm saying this is an unjust amendment based on an increasingly narrowing religious argument that affects a serious issue. It's akin to those who early in the 20th century who would want to keep a definition of marriage that involves women being considered the husband's chattel. Some arguments simply don't deserve equal attention, even if substantial amounts of people agree with it. The American trend for giving equal space to the reality of climate change is a good example of how problematic and unwise this is (or when equal attention is given to creationism). That's why I asked, if there was a proposed law where the arguments are extremely lopsided (the Kucinich example), would you still insist on giving equal space to both sides of the argument? If not, what if 50% of students/NC residents supported such a law?

      2. 1. The latest PPP poll I could find (which isn’t exactly a conservative outlet, BTW) indicates that current support for the Amendment stands at 54%, a clear majority. Has anyone actually polled UNC students on how they feel about Amendment One? But even if they had, why should a paper allot space to one side or another of an issue based on transitory polling data? That just doesn’t make sense. Also, I don’t think that the DTH should take its cues for how it should cover political events from government bodies.

        2. I’m glad you’re perfectly willing to throw out the First Amendment when doing so allows you to muzzle your opponents. Your dramatic grandstanding aside, the arguments are not “extremely lopsided” on this issue. If they were, there wouldn’t be a debate about it, and your side wouldn’t be frantically herding every student on campus down to Rams’ Head to go vote. The fact of the matter is that your side is actually the minority here (see the poll above and ballot initiatives in other states such as, say, California). The Kucinich example is absolute nonsense and there is no point in discussing it because it will never happen. Try finding a real world example.

  4. How am I willing to throw out the First Amendment? I’m saying I don’t think the DTH should give equal spaces to arguments that don’t have sides with equal merit. I’m not suggesting Congress make a law that prevents people from speaking their minds. I’m not even suggesting DTH not publish any anti-gay marriage views, although even that position wouldn’t infringe anyone’s first amendment rights. But another great strawman argument!

    Abolitionists were once in the minority as well, so does that mean they didn’t have a “extremely lopsided” case over the pro-slavery arguments? If you think they didn’t, I’d love to hear what you find compelling and righteous about the institution of slavery. My point is, that being in the minority on an argument doesn’t mean the majority has superior (or even mediocre) arguments that deserve equal respect and consideration. That’s the case here. And I’d say my side is so frantic not because students disagree, but because students often don’t vote (I recently heard we have 100,000 students in the UNC system not registered to vote, though I haven’t seen a cite for that). They are trying to show students why it’s so important to vote (by showing how egregiously terrible Amendment One is), not because so many students enjoy putting religious animus into the NC Constitution and they have to change their minds on that.

    I actually don’t care all that much about polling, I just wanted to point out there was a more recent poll showing a majority opposed Amendment One. And now I know there’s an even more recent one going the other way. And I pointed out that support for Amendment One differs between the NC population at large and the UNC-CH student body. I don’t know how much, but I’d guess quite a bit given students are younger and usually more liberal on gay marriage than older, non-students (maybe you disagree?). I agree though, I don’t the DTH should decide what they cover based on polls of the student body or a government body. I think the DTH should have journalistic principles and values, and that’s exactly why I don’t think any issue should automatically get equal coverage to two opposing sides.

    I couldn’t tell from the article, do you support Amendment One?

    1. “Some arguments simply don’t deserve equal attention, even if substantial amounts of people agree with it. The American trend for giving equal space to the reality of climate change is a good example of how problematic and unwise this is.” This doesn’t seem particularly tolerant of diverging points of view. Your eagerness to shut down debate on this and apparently other issues is quite troubling. Also, I’ve never said that the DTH should provide equal coverage of the two sides. Rather, if it wants to retain any credibility when it claims to be an unbiased news source, it ought to provide at least some coverage to both sides. To date, it hasn’t done that.

      I’m not even sure where to begin with this bit. First, it’s very easy to judge 150 years after the fact. Second, your simplification of antebellum American history ignores the very passionate debate that this country had over the issue of slavery. The fact of the matter is that many people felt justified in owning slaves or otherwise supporting the institution of slavery. In fact, both the pro- and anti- slavery types were equally convinced of the moral superiority of their positions. However, had the abolitionists refused to engage the slaveholders (or even the people who might have disfavored slavery but didn’t want to “rock the boat” so to speak) because the slaveholders’ side didn’t “deserve equal respect and consideration,” they likely never would have become more than a minority force in American politics. So, while you might think that your moral position is unassailable, odds are, the other side probably thinks that too. However, if you’re not even willing to engage the other side in an intelligent discussion of the issue, you’ll never win (particularly if you’re starting out from a minority position).

      I’m remaining deliberately vague on my support or non-support of the Amendment. However, I will note that I don’t find charges of hate, bigotry, homophobia, backwardness, or other such name-calling a particularly effective means of argument.

  5. I’m still wondering how I was “throwing out the first amendment”?

    I also didn’t mean to call you any names, and I didn’t think I had? I’ve argued against Amendment One (and against equal space for Amendment One in the DTH), and called Amendment One unjust, but I haven’t meant to call anyone names. I’m happy you’re engaging in these issues in a meaningful way, and I much rather disagree via blog comments with you than agree with someone who takes my side but doesn’t really care about these issues.

    1. Free speech allows for the possibility that objectionable views may occasionally come to bear. Declaring some things to be outside the realm of reasonable discussion seems to run counter to that spirit.

      Also, I wasn’t referring to you, but rather other things I have heard/read (in letters to the editor, editorials, columns, other online discussions, etc.). I actually quite appreciate your civility.

      1. The first amendment says “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech”. I was in no way attempting to get Congress to restrict anyone’s speech. I love the first amendment.

        Oh, then yes I agree on name-calling, I don’t think it’s ever called for. But I do think legislation can be discriminatory, hurtful, and prejudiced, and I think Amendment One falls under all those categories…although pretty much any law can be viewed in those terms given one’s political beliefs

        As for slavery, I’m aware of it’s historical dimensions in our country. However, I don’t think the morality of enslaving people is different in 2012 or 1855. It was wrong then, it is wrong now. I understand how people are constrained by the biases, prejudices and education of their time and circumstance, but that never made slavery a moral or even quasi-moral institution. If you’re a moral relativist, you’ll probably disagree with me.

        I only think anti-Amendment One articles should get overwhelming coverage because most people here are very inclined toward opposing it (and I do think the Student Congress vote is one representation of that, be it a small one). But if I was somewhere that most people strongly favored Amendment One, I wouldn’t agree with giving overwhelming coverage to my side. I would want lots of direct debate so people could see how easily the case for banning gay marriage crumbles. I don’t want you to think I would support overwhelming coverage of one side in all scenarios.

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