| by Paul Goldman
Today, the Richmond Times Dispatch - which bills itself as a leading conservative voice - has an editorial today favorably citing the "liberal Brookings Institute" position on uranium mining in Virginia. Actually, it was only one of their columnists who regularly castigates what the RTD would call "liberals" on energy policy! For those who have not read Dr. Ebinger's position, he wants to lift the state's 36 year old ban on uranium mining.
Now let me ask you a question even though I know you know the answer: Why do think the self-described conservative thinkers running the RTD editorial board are citing in such an approving fashion the "liberal" Brookings Institute?
Your answer of course: Because the "liberal" group's position in this case agrees with the RTD position.
Aced it! But why did the RTD make such a big deal about Brookings being "liberal"?
In the RTD editorial, they also say this: "[ Brookings] is one of the most respected research institutions in the U.S."
Thus, my further question to you: If Brookings is "one of the most respected research institutions in the U.S." then what does it matter whether it is liberal, moderate, conservative, Green, Gray, hard right, far left, whatever?
The answer: Yes, this is a rhetorical question. It should not matter in the least. Yet it does apparently big time.
Such is the dumbed-down state of our political culture. Label the other person first, label yourself second, label the audience, label, label, label.
WHEN IT SUITS YOU HOWEVER. As indicated, the RTD fails to point out Dr. Ebinger has been blasting the "liberal" position on uranium and other energy issues for years!
To Label or Not To Label, that is the question. NO label for Ebinger, it would ruin the other label.
The great irony is this: The RTD ran a very well written piece by Senator John Watkins aka The Atomic Senator, who is leading the fight to life the ban. It is worth reading.
He is a good guy and deserves "respect." That doesn't make him right. But at least he approached the issue in a thoughtful and reasoned manner, not just labeling.
Last question: If the RTD respects Brookings so much, how come the RTD doesn't usually cite them as a respected source of knowledge on taxes and spending? Health care, education, civil rights, poverty, capitalism?
To Label or Not to Label: The Shakespearean dilemma of our time apparently for the fourth estate.