For the last several weeks, as you are no doubt aware, the Washington Free Beacon and other news outlets—most of them conservative—have been investigating secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel’s positions, finances, associations, career history, and utterances. Which seems to us to be precisely what you would expect an intrepid and creative and entrepreneurial press to do when the president of the United States nominates a controversial former senator to one of the most important cabinet posts in the land.
Apparently, though, and without our knowing it, you and I have passed through an inter-dimensional portal and have entered a black-is-white, up-is-down twilight zone in which asking for information pertaining to a public figure constitutes participation not only in a McCarthyite “smear machine,” but also in a “campaign, orchestrated by controversial anti-Arab figures,” with the goal of “smearing and intimidating the Arab-American community.” And “this demonizing of the Arab community is very troubling,” a spokesman for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) tells Dylan Byers, a cub reporter for Politico. “The FBI was in here last week because of those types of threats.” The line separating inquiry and bigotry is, it would seem, rather thin. The ADC sees “the right-wing’s attacks in racial terms,” Byers writes. So the right wing better shut up. After all: Their witch-hunt has “come up empty.”