Capehart Declares Liberals Are Right To ‘Feel Apocalyptic’

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Washington Post associate editor Jonathan Capehart joined New York Times columnist David Brooks and PBS NewsHour host Judy Woodruff on Friday for their weekly recap of the news that was. Capehart declared that as the country heads into the midterms, people are right to “feel apocalyptic” because “they are personally at risk.”

Brooks set the table during a discussion about the amount of money spent on and the tone of political ads:

I do think there has been a culture of apocalypticism. I don’t know what the right word is. I me, it started with ‘American carnage’ and, you know, if you live in the media world and an internet world, you can believe this country is dissolving at the seams and we have our problems, but, you know, I was out in central Pennsylvania this week, there are still happy people going to diners, like not everybody is getting mugged every second and so I think this apocalyptic mood is used by extremists to gin up support for the emotional mood they want you to have. 

To say that “apocalypticism” started with Donald Trump and “American carnage” is ridiculous, but not nearly as ridiculous as what Capehart followed up with, “No, I’m sorry, David, but, I mean, I hear what you’re talk—I hear what you’re saying, but there’s a reason why some people — I’m thinking about people center and center-left, who look at what is happening in terms of the Supreme Court taking away a woman’s right to choose.”

As Capehart continued, he insisted it was not just about abortion, “the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas saying ‘and oh by the way, we should go after same-sex marriage and privacy and access to contraception.’”

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It is understandable that people who aren’t political wonks like Brooks and Capehart do not read Supreme Court opinions in their free time, but as the associate editor of the Washington Post, Capehart should know that Thomas’s concurring opinion, that was not joined by any other justice, isn’t new for him and has been in line with other opinions that he has written since joining the Court over thirty years ago.

Not only should he know this, he has the responsibility to inform viewers and readers of that so they do not fall victim to ““apocalypticism.” Instead, however, Capehart irresponsibly validates that paranoia, “There’s a reason people feel apocalyptic and feel like things are running off of the rails, because they are personally at risk. They see that this election is probably their one of two shots to stop what feels like a slide into an America — not that they don’t want to live in, but that they don’t recognize. And isn’t the America that has been promised to us.”

The promise of abortion? “America” never promised that, only irresponsible editors and TV pundits like Capehart.

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Here is a transcript for the November 4 show:

PBS NewsHour

11/4/2022

7:37 PM ET

JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s definitely a fear factor this year and again and both sides seem to think it works. 

DAVID BROOKS: Yeah, well somehow we should—we have a system where the candidate runs an ad, you can hold them accountable, you can vote against the person. With these things, there’s nobody to hold accountable and then I do think there has been a culture of apocalypticism. I don’t know what the right word is.

I me, it started with “American carnage” and, you know, if you live in the media world and an internet world, you can believe this country is dissolving at the seams and we have our problems, but, you know, I was out in central Pennsylvania this week, there are still happy people going to diners, like not everybody is getting mugged every second and so I think this apocalyptic mood is used by extremists to gin up support for the emotional mood they want you to have. Okay, you’re about to disagree.

JONATHAN CAPEHART: No, I’m sorry, David, but, I mean, I hear what you’re talk—I hear what you’re saying, but there’s a reason why some people — I’m thinking about people center and center-left, who look at what is happening in terms of the Supreme Court taking away a woman’s right to choose. The Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas saying “and oh by the way, we should go after same-sex marriage and privacy and access to contraception.” 

There’s a reason people feel apocalyptic and feel like things are running off of the rails, because they are personally at risk. They see that this election is probably their one of two shots to stop what feels like a slide into an America — not that they don’t want to live in, but that they don’t recognize. And isn’t the America that has been promised to us.

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