THIS IS THE EQUIVALENT OF ASKING CATS NOT TO BE OBSESSED WITH LASER POINTERS: Please, Please, Please Stop Reporting on Viral Receipt Stories.
Readers of these stories aren’t looking for evidence that some guy is an open bigot. They’re looking for evidence that millions of people are secret bigots, people who live in places like Texas, Kansas, Tennessee, small-town New Jersey, etc.
Media outlets that fall for receipt stories don’t just misinform their audience, they do so in a way that damages our nation’s social cohesion.
Just think of the media as Democratic operatives with bylines, and you’ll understand why they view this as a feature, not a bug. As Fred Siegel wrote in his 2014 history of the American left, The Revolt Against the Masses:
The best short credo of liberalism came from the pen of the once canonical left-wing literary historian Vernon Parrington in the late 1920s. “Rid society of the dictatorship of the middle class,” Parrington insisted, referring to both democracy and capitalism, “and the artist and the scientist will erect in America a civilization that may become, what civilization was in earlier days, a thing to be respected.” Alienated from middle-class American life, liberalism drew on an idealized image of “organic” pre-modern folkways and rhapsodized about a future harmony that would reestablish the proper hierarchy of virtue in a post-bourgeois, post-democratic world.
And with the exception of a few brief time-outs in the culture war for pesky interludes such as WWII and 9/11, it has been ever thus.
That’s nice. I wish she had given Dad a few reminders of that over the past decade, though.