Insulting the Heartland

Isaac Chotiner kind of stumbles upon a real problem with American political dialect, from an entry on the Washington Post story about Findlay, Ohio and the Obama viral smears, Chotiner winds his way to this (Chotiner is speaking in broad terms, not directly, so this shouldn’t be taken as being directed at him):

What exactly is one to conclude from this article? When asking a question like this about a story straight out of the heartland, a few answers are immediately off-limits. Liberals–and particularly liberal journalists–are not allowed to hint that many of the people in Findlay do not appear to be particularly intelligent. In fact, even an allusion to intelligence just exposes the liberal reader as a typical big-city elitist.

And why the hell not? Maybe it’s because I’m from Ohio and know a lot of people from friendly that I don’t have a problem speaking harshly about it, but I don’t see why that should matter. If you can go from fretting about Obama’s “racist pastor” to wondering if he’s a Muslim seemlessly, you’re an idiot who probably shouldn’t be allowed to vote. I mean really, if you don’t possess the cognitive ability to figure out that both of those things cannot possibly be true at the same time, then I really don’t know what to say. Calling you stupid is probably giving you too much credit. And if you doubt the information from informed sources like the local newspaper because your neighbor Jim got a chain mail that said otherwise, again, you deserve to have your “intelligence” insulted.

The media shouldn’t play games with that or be mau-maued by political operatives looking to stoke public ignorance for their own electoral ends. Media being afraid to call ignorance and stupidity what it is only lends credit to the idiocy, and is arguably more condescending than calling a spade a spade anyway.