In my post on former president Carter expressing support for what Edward Snowden did and adding that “America has no functioning democracy at this moment”, I expressed surprise that there has not been a huge outcry over the remarks. Indeed, while Carter said this at a closed-door function in Atlanta, it was a German magazine Der Spiegel that first reported it. I wondered if Carter would walk back his statements but he has not done so, so we have to assume his stands by his remarks.
And yet when I did a Google search this morning using just the two terms Carter and Snowden, it did not turn up a single major media source in the US covering this story. The only people talking about this are people who support civil liberties independently of any party or ideology.
Why am I surprised at the silence? It was because the right-wing noise machine rarely fails to seize an opportunity to brand Democrats as people who bad-mouth America and are thus not true patriots because as we all know America Is The Greatest Country That Ever Existed, Is A Beacon Of Freedom And Democracy That Is The Envy Of The World, And Always Acts Morally. Any one who so much as hints otherwise is vilified. Here is a clip from the TV show The Newsroom that captures the power of this dogma.
While the nostalgia for the past is overblown (things were not that great in many areas), the diagnosis of what exists currently is dead on.
So while I was not surprised that Democrats and Obama supporters would try to ignore or suppress this news because a fellow Democrat said it, I did expect Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the right-wing noise machine to seize this as yet another example of anti-Americanism by liberals and the Democratic party. And yet, even in the fringe publications from those quarters there has been nothing. It is not that Carter is a marginal figure whose views are always ignored. Compare this to the furor when Carter said in 2006 that is some respects the Israeli occupation is worse than South Africa apartheid.
I am curious as to the reasons for the silence. Is that when weighing the benefits of bashing Carter and the Democrats against the cost of publicizing his very damaging critique of the current state of American politics, they fear the latter more than they welcome the former?