Have you noticed how widely the accusation of “fear-mongering” has become? In all kinds of debate?
“It’s a sad attempt at economic fear mongering,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer, responding to this morning’s DOT news conference on cross-border trucking issues.
“What I don’t like about the ad is its fear-mongering” — 18-year-old Casey Knowles on Good Morning America, reacting to Hillary Clinton’s 3 a.m. phone-call ad. She’s the sleeping girl in the spot.
“I do, however, feel badly that many have listened to untruths and have been prey to fear-mongering tactics spewed from the mouths of longtime anti-social service agency leaders of our town.” — Diane Montgomery of Framingham, Mass., condemning criticism of a residence house for families involved with drug addiction.
“It was an unfortunate slip, but one that echoed the sentiments of many Clinton apologists like me — who’ve watched Hillary’s descent into pettiness and fear-mongering …” — Seth Grahame-Smith in the Huffington Post, renouncing his past support for Hillary Clinton.
“This is a case where Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain should take the initiative and denounce the fear-mongering about Mr. Obama as hate speech” — New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof
, objecting to religious slurs against the candidate.
“On trade, Barack Obama’s opportunistic fear-mongering defines the new Democratic orthodoxy.” — National Review editor Rich Lowry on anti-NAFTA rhetoric.
“[Feith] attacks those criticisms as ‘fear-mongering’ that serves the interests of certain officials and journalists.” — From a Washington Post story on Douglas Feith, ex-Defense official getting even with his former antagonists among intelligence agencies.
“Last week, 19 Democratic senators surrendered to bullying and fear mongering, extending the executive autocracy of the Bush-Cheney regime.” — Former Texas ag commissioner and left-wing pundit Jim Hightower, ranting about bipartisan intelligence legislation.
Intelligence legislation is the topic that got us noticing this rash of fear-mongering rhetoric, specifically S. 2048, the legislation that updates the federal authority to monitor foreign electronic communications of terrorist suspects; the Senate bill includes retroactive immunity for telecom companies that acceded to federal requests to assist in the monitoring.
Rather than respond to the arguments, critics of the FISA legislation are wont to charge “fear-mongering” — here are some prime examples — a rhetorical tactic that evades debate and demonizes their opponents. It’s bluster and bullying. Enough, already.