A Tale of Two Tolerations: Josh Barro and Tony Dungy

This week we saw a stark, disturbing contrast that illustrates how the New Left is determined to obliterate its opposition. On Monday, former Super Bowl winning coach and current NBC football analyst Tony Dungy received wave after wave after wave of the harshest criticism for what he told The Tampa Tribune about Michael Sam. His great offense? Saying that he would not have drafted Sam because of the intense media narratives surrounding the first openly gay NFL player.

There’s no need for me to rehearse the reasons why Dungy did not deserve the reaction he received. I’ve already done that, and Ted Kluck and Andrew Johnson have done it better. I take it as self-evidently true that those who accuse Dungy’s words of homophobia are simply reading what they expect to see from this outspoken evangelical Christian. Nonetheless, Dungy was excoriated in the media and his reputation has been sullied.

Last night, New York Times reporter Josh Barro tweeted the following:

“Stamp out.” Not just that, but “ruthlessly.” Viciously. Thoroughly. Forcefully.

That is the language of violence. And Mr. Barro knew exactly what he was saying. A young, cultured, well-traveled journalist at the world’s most prestigious paper knows all about “trigger warnings” and the function of language to incite rage. For Mr. Barro, as it has for many other people, Twitter bridged the gap between the private thought and the public sentiment. And once again, the public sentiment has shown just how frightening the private thought is.

Think about this: Tony Dungy was called a homophobe for saying that he would not have drafted a 7th round player. He didn’t say people like Sam should be “ruthlessly stamped out.” He didn’t collectivize Michael Sam’s supporters as dehumanized “pro-LGBT sentiment.” Yet it is Dungy, not Barro, who poses a threat to our society’s well-being. I don’t know the word that properly describes how asinine this is; it is the logic-defying freakshow of  progressive fundamentalism.

What effect will Barro’s incendiary language have? Andrew Walker and Owen Strachan wonder:

Consider the real-world actions against the Family Research Council (FRC), when a shooter in 2012 broke into its building with the intent of murdering staffers. How did this come about? The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labeled FRC a “hate group.” The shooter, who wounded and would have killed a brave security guard, confessed that he was influenced by the materials posted on the SPLC’s website. Similarly, Barro’s words give license to those who would seek to disparage people with traditional beliefs about sexuality. Even if Barro doesn’t actually want violence to occur, his rhetoric could help incite it.

Rod Dreher, meanwhile, is finished with the Times:

This morning, I left. Cancelled my subscription. I don’t expect the Times to reflect my worldview, exactly, but I will not subsidize journalism put out by journalists who want to “stamp out, ruthlessly” the religious convictions of people like me.

The sad reality, I suspect, is that for every Dreher, there are 10 more Barros. I don’t think Josh Barro would have felt comfortable saying what he said unless he knows he’s not alone.

Meanwhile Tony Dungy wonders today how he could have remained honest in his interview yet avoided being labeled a hateful bigot. Here’s the answer, coach: Always agree with Josh Barro.


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