In the Arena


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On the Chris Mathews Show Sunday, I said that some of the right-wing infotainment gasbags–people like Glenn Beck etc.–were nudging up close to the edge of sedition. This has caused a bit of a self-righteous ruckus on the right. Let me be clear: dissent isn’t sedition. Questioning an Administration’s policies isn’t sedition. But questioning an Administration’s legitimacy in a manner intended to undermine or overthrow it certainly is. A rally like this yesterday in South Carolina is a good example of seditious speech. It’s not illegal–unless actions are taken to overthrow the government in question–but it is disgraceful and the precise opposite of patriotism in a democracy.

On a related note, my phone’s been ringing with requests from cable news shows–left and right–to discuss Tea Party extremism. The same phone was silent last week when my cover story about the difficulties facing our troops in Afghanistan was published. I won’t be appearing on any cable shows to discuss the Tea Party extremists this week. I said what I said, and stand by it. But I do find the “news” judgment of the cable networks nauseating…and I can understand why, despite the yellow ribbons and “We Support Our Troops” blather, our young people in uniform feel abandoned by a bored, ignorant and self-involved public back home.