In National Review, Matthew Scully explains Democrats’ fear of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and their efforts to sideline him as an extremist. Scully writes:
While Republican affairs can certainly get rough and unseemly at times, it’s usually the Democratic Party we can turn to for lessons in cold, unsentimental power politics. Consider, for instance, the reception accorded by the party establishment and like-minded reporters to an unexpected entrant into the 2024 presidential race, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a man who rates, one might have supposed, the respect due a worthy contender and honest dissenter.
After declaring his candidacy last month, RFK Jr. immediately showed at 14 percent in polls. Mild alarm followed, among supporters of President Biden, when two weeks later the next round of polling gave Kennedy an average of 20 percent. You could tell this was a bit of a shock because, almost instantly, the Washington Post dismissed it as nothing, in a hurried item headlined “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Threat to Biden Is Inflated. Here’s Why.”
As surely as any Kennedy could once expect to be fawned over by Post reporters, this Kennedy — especially if he starts drawing crowds and votes — is never to be spared condescension and rebuke. The “why,” in case you haven’t heard, is that RFK Jr. has in recent years been airing “controversial,” “dangerous” views, and this makes him, says the Post, a “fringe figure” you needn’t take seriously.
Among his many provocations: Kennedy claims that pandemic lockdowns were calamitous for working people and for children; that citizens should choose for themselves whether to receive vaccines; that corporate influences on government are pervasive and corrupting; and that censorship contrived by the state is intolerable. Worse even than these outrages, during the pandemic this man called into question the conduct and veracity of Anthony Fauci. And this offense — challenging Doctor Fauci! — is still regarded as the most shameful assault on science since the persecution of Galileo.
It doesn’t matter that, point for point, RFK Jr. makes a strong case and most everyone knows it. His problem is, the prohibition on saying such things has not been lifted. A well-established, scientifically tested, and empirically proven phenomenon known as liberal groupthink has set in, preempting even the most obvious conclusions. So, even if Kennedy’s presidential bid is off to an impressive start, in the Post’s analysis he is still relegated to the same category as “fringe figure Lyndon LaRouche,” who — trivia time for Post readers — “in 1996 managed to pull double digits in some primary states.”
The New York Times, in its version of the LaRouche treatment, likewise left the impression of a candidate’s announcement speech strangely and single-mindedly focused on “shaking Americans’ faith in science,” no matter that the candidate himself had said nothing at all along those lines, and no matter that in all of his scientific arguments he cites scientific methods and scientific evidence. Here again the day’s news was predetermined: casting the accomplished son and namesake of Senator Robert F. Kennedy as just another sorry entry in “a history of fringe presidential aspirants from both parties who run to bring attention to a cause, or to themselves.” Having thus alerted readers that the new candidate with the familiar name is basically a head case, the Post and Times can now put that name back on the blacklist, denying Kennedy coverage unless he troubles them further by rising in polls or by making crazy demands for primary debates.
Read more here.
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