Progressive Hatred: Salon’s White Hot Headlines

Rush“Conservatives think that liberals are good people with bad ideas, whereas liberals think conservatives are bad people.”

Todd Zywicki recalled that aphorism after reading a Johnathon Haidt book. “They Really Do Hate Us” was the Wheat & Weeds post that alerted to me to the research months ago, and I have been thinking of it ever since.

Here’s how Zywicki sums up Haidt’s findings:

“Haidt reports on the following experiment: after determining whether someone is liberal or conservative, he then has each person answer the standard battery of questions as if he were the opposite ideology. So, he would ask a liberal to answer the questions as if he were a ‘typical conservative’ and vice-versa. What he finds is quite striking: ‘The results were clear and consistent. Moderates and conservatives were most accurate in their predictions, whether they were pretending to be liberals or conservatives. Liberals were the least accurate, especially those who describe themselves as ‘very liberal.’ The biggest errors in the whole study came when liberals answered the Care and Fairness questions while pretending to be conservatives.’ In other words, moderates and conservatives can understand the liberal worldview and liberals are unable to relate to the conservative worldview, especially when it comes to questions of care and fairness.”

That study returns to my mind again and again as I read Salon headlines. I have been reading Salon — a top progressive website — to try to understand the reasons people support  such things as abortion and pornography and oppose religious conscience rights. Their headlines often disturb me (as they have others).

I started collecting them recently when I read this headline:

Rush Limbaugh confirms he is made of garbage and lives in a garbage can


It is hard for me to relate to that kind of hatred. As hard as I try, I cannot picture myself saying that about anyone — let alone announcing it in a public forum, to try to influence others to share that hatred.

What drives Salon’s progressives to think that this kind of hatred is okay?

Salon headlines interpret opponents’ actions in the worst possible way. Often, it’s in the adjectives and verbs. For instance:

Rand Paul’s craven new pander: Why he’s swung wildly on Israel again


Why “craven”? Why “pander”? Paul’s position may be wrong (I’m not saying one way or the other), but is it possible to judge his reasons so thoroughly as to dismiss him so totally?

Salon headlines applaud their own charity-free approach when they see it elsewhere. They especially love harsh criticisms of those who are beneath contempt: Fox News, Sara Palin and Dick Cheney.

For instance:

Must-see morning clip: Colbert slams Fox News for pretending to care about child refugees


Rather than vigorous debate over legitimately debatable points, Salon headlines tend to paint opponents as mentally unstable:

Paul Krugman: GOP “inflationistas” are delusional and won’t admit they were dead wrong


Deranged Todd Akin is back — and steps in it again!


… or psychotic …

John McCain loses his marbles: Tries, fails to contain zest for possible Russia escalation

… or even demonic …

9 sinister things the Christian right does in the name of God



Russell Brand: Bill O’Reilly represents the values of the devil


There was a time in the 1990s when it was fashionable in the media to associate “the politics of personal destruction,” a Clinton phrase, with the Right. But what do you say about gleeful headlines like this?

Must-see morning clip: Stephen Colbert relentlessly mocks Rick Perry’s new look


Another 1990s Clintonism was the strange fear of a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” The fear still remains. Hunting groups, whether you agree with them or not, are making a serious point. Here’s how Salon headlines see them:

Gun nuts’ sick power trip: What’s really behind the “open carry” crusade


Ultimately, the worst form of contempt is to simply laugh dismissively at one’s opponents. Salon headlines demonstrate:

The lawless religious right: Time to stop caving to their ridiculous tantrums


Right-wing “populism” is a joke: Poor-bashing, immigrant-hating and a revolting agenda


Judging from Salon headlines, the Left is not interested in identifying and mixing it up with the Right: They are interested in personalizing their arguments and labeling, belittling and demonizing opponents. Take a recent manifestation of this regular feature:

7 worst right-wing moments of the week — Laura Ingraham hates immigrants more than Bill O’Reilly


I’m pretty sure neither Laura Ingraham nor Bill O’Reilly “hate” immigrants. But I’m pretty sure the headline writer hates Laura Ingraham and Bill O’Reilly. And therein lies a problem for the Left: Ideologies that decide it is okay to hate certain kinds of people (Christians and conservatives, for instance) have a really bad track record.

This kind of bullying behavior is only possible because the Left has been culturally dominant for so long in America. But it signals trouble in the future. Whenever ideologues become arrogant, contemptuous and dismissive, expect a fall to follow.

Because we all know that bullying is not a sign of strength. It is a sign of insecurity. We do it when we fear we may be in the wrong after all.


Categories:Culture Media Politics

17 thoughts on “Progressive Hatred: Salon’s White Hot Headlines

  1. Liliana says:

    What liberals can’t understand is that we hate the sin not the sinner, something we all are, conservative, liberal or whatever else.

  2. therain says:

    The Catholic Church greatly failed the American people in the last two elections.

    The church could have done more to stop the evil from getting into he White House by stating what the Catholic values are, and showing how they are not shared by liberals.

  3. Mr-A says:

    The first reply I saw was a “but Catholic blogs do it too!”. How funny. On a serious note, this does explain a few things as my wife and I are embroiled in a family controversy over Church teaching of Same-Sex marriage (we’re ‘haters’) and a gay child and his siblings. The sad thing is that, for those liberals in our family, if we do not renounce our faith and beliefs and declare the Church wrong, we are only showing how much we hate our son. It is Black and White, there is no middle ground.

  4. C R Nugent says:

    Will: Name a few please.

    1. Will says:

      Here is one where the writer looks forward to the passing of older Americans who apparently are too liberal. Is that love your neighbor as yourself?

      1. Alex says:

        Haha, that’s quite a stretch! Also, what the blogger is saying applies equally to old liberal Catholics as well as old conservative Catholics, so your point is invalid. Try again.

    2. Damien says:

      Nearly EVERY video by Michael Voris. Nearly EVERY headline on Pewsitter. Nearly EVERY comment on Rorate Caeli. Readers of the Anchoress, of late. A lot of commenters on here think anyone who disagrees with them are automatically evil.

  5. Will says:

    Many conservative “Catholic” blogs show hatred for liberals/progressives.

  6. Rebecca Teti says:

    Nice post! I’ve been asking myself why the difference in openness to each others’ point of view — I’m not so persuaded by Haight’s psychological explanation. But then I ran into this piece:, the final three paragraphs of which seem plausible and true to my experience.

    Now let me be provocative: do you think this same dynamic holds true in the Catholic sphere itself in the way Left-er Catholics respond to Right-er Catholics? I think it does. At least, whenever a discussion of how to apply Catholic social teaching breaks out, you’re only ever about two exchanges away from someone being called a dissenter from the social teaching. Makes it dang hard to have a serious conversation — or the honest re-thinking Pope Francis keeps calling for.

    1. Tim says:

      Nonsense Will, Conservative Catholics hate the recalcitrant misrepresentations of “liberal” dissident Catholics. We sit next to and pray with those same folks every week (or at least when they make it to Mass) but we cannot abide their perversion of the truth in favor of popularly accepted social fads. Abortion does not become acceptable because it is widely accepted. So-called gay marriage isn’t acceptable or good simply because the culture tells us so. Objective truths prevail and are self-evident to those who choose to see God in His creation. Those who simply want to make life easy, well they’ve missed the point all together.

      1. Harry Smith says:

        Women’s right of choice is a very objective truth to those who believe women are born with this right. Using God to prove a point is troublesome simply because the belief in the existence of God is purely subjective. That’s why faith is used to prove the existence of God. There is no actual data to prove God’s existence.

        1. Alex says:

          No religious beliefs are necessary to be 100% certain that abortion is the same thing as homicide. Just basic biology. Saying women are born with a right to commit homicide is nonsense.

          “There is no actual data to prove God’s existence.” Prove this assertion. What’s that? You can’t? So you’re taking this belief on FAITH? Why are you so closed minded to the possibility of evidence for the existence of God?

          1. Harry Smith says:

            I’m very open to data that proves the existence of God. So far, I’ve not experienced any of that data. If you have that data, please share. Every human has the right to do with their body what they wish. Because the fetus is obviously part of a woman’s body, then she has the right to allow its’ existence or not. Why is that not obvious?

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