RedState Editor-in-Chief Erick Erickson makes comments to attendees at the 2014 Red State Gathering on Aug. 8, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas.
Photo by Tony Gutierrez/AP

‘Poke holes in an argument’ shouldn’t be taken literally

The Rachel Maddow Show, 12/4/15, 9:48 PM ET

NY Times to call for gun control in historic front page editorial

Rachel Maddow reports that for the first time since 1920, the New York Times will publish an editorial on its front page calling for more restrictions on gun possession.
For the first time in nearly a century, the New York Times published an editorial on its front page, urging policymakers to end the “epidemic” of gun violence in the United States. “It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency,” the editorial board argued.
Some on the right apparently disagreed with the piece, with varying degrees of intensity.
Erick Erickson just couldn’t help himself.
The conservative talk radio host and editor of apparently disagreed so strongly with the New York Times’ front-page gun safety editorial Saturday that he opened fire on a copy of the newspaper and posted the evidence on social media.
Just so we’re clear, when the Huffington Post said Erickson “opened fire” on the editorial, it’s not a metaphorical expression or a euphemism for fierce criticism. The Republican pundit read the piece and felt compelled to shoot bullets – seven, to be precise – at the editorial as a way of registering his disapproval.
As a political blogger myself, I can relate to the feeling of reading an argument I disagree with, and wanting to poke holes in it. But I’ll confess, it never occurred to me the phrase “poke holes in an argument” should be taken literally.
But there’s also a broader point to consider. There’s something unsettling about the state of our discourse when high-profile media figures and candidates for public office effectively declare, “I find myself confronted with ideas I disagree with. Where’s my gun?”
Literally shooting at inanimate objects as a form of political protest has become surprisingly common in recent years. Perhaps the most memorable example came in 2010, when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) aired a television commercial showing him literally firing a rifle at a cap-and-trade bill.
But he’s hardly alone. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) ran a commercial in which he shot a television. Matt Rosendale (R), an unsuccessful congressional candidate in Montana, had an ad in which he shot a drone. In 2014, Will Brooke, an unsuccessful congressional candidate in Alabama, had a commercial in which he shot the Affordable Care Act – with several different guns. Ron Gould, a Republican candidate in Arizona, did the same thing two years earlier.
There is, to be sure, more than one way to win an argument, but in the marketplace of ideas, those with confidence in their convictions probably shouldn’t turn to firearms to make their case.

Conservative Media and Erick Erickson

'Poke holes in an argument' shouldn't be taken literally