The conservative movement has become a mindless mob, and the right-wing media, more and more often, are sending their overeager foot soldiers out on seek-and-destroy missions involving private citizens. They're even targeting innocent schoolchildren, like the group of second-graders in New Jersey that became a right-wing (mob) object of disgust last week after an old YouTube clip surfaced that showed the students singing a song in honor of the President of the United States. (You're supposed to recoil in horror at the mere suggestion of such a thing happening in America.)
In theory, of course, online dirt-digging and sleuthing makes perfect sense and represents a new era of participatory journalism embraced by the Internet. But in the hands of right-wing radicals who exhibit very little common sense and even less common decency, the witch hunts of peripheral players, including now-regular attempts to target children, no longer represent journalism in any recognizable sense. Instead, they're just unsettling -- and dangerous -- attempts at mob rule. They're a way to send a signal that anybody who is even marginally involved in public discourse can suddenly become a target of the mob. And then, all bets are off.
This trend of targeting private citizens is not new. But it has become more pronounced in recent weeks and months, as collective Obama hatred has pushed the GOP Noise Machine to ignore the boundaries of fair play.
Read the entire Media Matters column here.
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