Continually walking a tightrope between analysis and commentary, while continually deflecting error towards conservative positions, Politico crossed a line Monday with its headline on the most recent WikiLeaks dump: “WikiLeaks target: American power.” For this, the “news” publication deserves to join O’Reilly in the pantheon of hyperbolic overreaction.
Neither the record, nor Politico‘s own story, disclose any reason to attribute WikiLeaks’… well… “leaks” to a desire to wound American hegemony. It’s crystal clear that WikiLeaks has a different, unique, and perhaps dangerous take on what does or should constitute a “secret” in the modern state. But policy disagreements cannot always be essentialized to a battle between America, and its alleged detractors. Debates about secrecy are ongoing, the consequence of democracy’s perseverance into the electronic age. Off-hand dismissal of important questions is a sad hallmark of modern political discourse; but it’s also the essence of sophistry.
In fact, this style of debate typifies one of the most grievous sins of the last few years of political discourse, one directly traceable to the tea party movement’s sudden discovery of constitutionalism: the assumption that every policy debate must take on constitutional dimensions. It’s entirely possible that the health care bill is bad policy, while still being constitutional; but this is a debate of which the people have been deprived. We must learn to clash on narrow ground; or we’ll get nowhere. Politico continues to set us back.