In All the President's Spin, we argued that liberals are rapidly following conservatives into the rhetorical sewer. Here's more evidence that we were right -- Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the editor of Daily Kos, making a series of feeble-minded comparisons between American conservatives and the Taliban:
Funny how the wingers try to claim American liberals are in league with crazy fundamentalist Muslims.
Reality is, we hate everything Islamic fundamentalism stands for. On the other hand, the Dobson's of the Republican Party -- you know, the people running the show -- have far more in common with the enemy than they'd ever like to admit.
Religion in government
Al Qaida/Taliban: One and the same
American Taliban: One and the same
Liberals: Separation of church and state
Al Qaida/Taliban: Religious indoctrination. Run by clergy.
American Taliban: School prayer. Religious indoctrination (creationism and "intelligent design"). Private religious school system.
Liberals: Leave religious teachings to parents and sunday school.
Al Qaida/Taliban: No school, must cover entire body, no rights
American Taliban: Government control over reproductive freedoms, hostility to Title IX, hostility to working women
Liberals: Equality of the sexes
Al Qaida/Taliban: 'Think like us, or we'll whip you and/or chop off your head'
American Taliban: 'Think like us, or we'll condemn you to hell'
Liberals: To each her own
Al Qaida/Taliban: Eradicate them from society
American Taliban: Eradicate them from society
Liberals: Equality under the law
You guys can take it from here.
Update (from the comments):
Al Qaida/Taliban: Torture them or chop off their heads
American Taliban: Torture them or homosexually rape them.
Liberals: No torture
Medicine and Science
Al Qaida/Taliban: Faith-based world view
American Taliban: Faith-based world view
Liberals: Reality-based community
Sadly, this is just the latest in a long string of comparisons between domestic political figures and the Taliban since 9/11.
There's an important analogy here to the way that the Internet has broken down barriers protecting groups like travel agents from competition. Before the Internet, latent demand for demagogic liberal punditry that wasn't being met because most of the so-called "liberals" in the press were Washington types who play by the rules of the mainstream media. The Internet has broken down these barriers to competition, enabling Kos and Atrios (among others) to meet the demand for partisan rants like these, and as a result they have become exceptionally popular and influential in left-liberal politics. (Conservative ranters like Powerline, Little Green Footballs, etc. have also come to the fore, but there were already mainstream conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh who were meeting that demand.)
In general, The American Prospect, The New Republic, and other more establishment publications have not gone down the same road as Kos et al, and as a result have lost a lot of influence. Look at this Alexa.com comparison of the traffic of Daily Kos vs. The American Prospect Online -- it's not even close. Same with Kos vs. TNR.
And as Jay Hamilton points out in his excellent book All the News That's Fit to Sell, the same type of process has occurred in the news media. Barriers to entry and subsidies from parent corporations allowed journalists to produce highbrow network newscasts in the 1950s and 1960s, but increasing competition from other outlets has pushed them heavily in the infotainment direction. Coverage of politics in newspapers has shifted toward an infotainment model as well.
Unfortunately, when consumers speak in the media business, democracy rarely wins.
PS: This reminds me of something I wanted to point out from a couple of weeks ago. Garance Franke-Ruta, a senior editor for The American Prospect (who I met once in Washington and seems like a nice person), recently issued a similarly nasty charge on Tapped, suggesting that President Bush has intentionally failed to capture Osama Bin Laden:
Instead of attacking the patriotism of liberal victims of 9-11, Rove and the president should focus on catching bin Laden. The United States defeated Adolf Hitler's army and the Italian fascists in three and a half years, but nearly four years after we got hit by Al-Qaeda, bin Laden is still at large and there appears to be no concerted effort to find him, even though CIA chief Porter Goss recently said we have "an excellent idea" where he is.
Why is that? Has America become less capable of military victory since World War II? Or was it that Franklin Delano Roosevelt unified the nation behind a determined course of action to defeat our common enemy, while Bush has preferred to divide the nation, undermine the strength of our armed forces, and let our enemy roam free?
Hopefully this isn't a sign that the Prospect is going in the same direction as Kos...