The liberal press, which is vehemently opposed to President Trump and the Republican party even by their own admission, to say nothing of overt demonstration, has been pretty kind to the violent antifa protest group over the months.
This kindness manifests itself in many ways, from muted coverage, or none at all, to caveats and thinly veiled praise on social media. It shows in how they talk about antifa, and qualify reports about Antifa by making sure you know that whoever it is they are beating up is very bad in their own right.
It is self-evidently different from how a similarly masked, militant, violent group would be treated on the right, and that's something that they believe is correct. They think it should be covered differently, and that this is the moral way to cover the group. It's "contextualized" and qualified to no end. Which is why it's strange the Peter Beinart, in his article with the laughable premise that liberals don't support Antifa, ropes in the media among those who he says have never uttered a word of support for the radical left group.
Strange not only because the media will openly state they think it's fair to cover liberal groups in a different way because they have better motivations, but strange also because it's so easy to refute.
Grabien, for one, has compiled a video of the media's affection for the group over the months. See for yourself:
There are other examples too. As one Twitter user pointed out on Saturday, there were ample examples last year of the very thing.
In his article for the Atlantic, Beinart's main premise isn't the media, but the liberal mainstream. Tellingly, he includes the press and, naturally, Democrat politicians among those he is supposedly exonerating of dirty hands.
To offer his critique, in which he states that "conservatives" tried and failed to find such examples, he cites a handful of articles to complain that "conservatives" only had a "small group" of commentators at hand. He eliminates any of the people who did tweet anything heinous as being either inconsequential or not having meant it. He included the pathetically weak walkback from Human Rights Campaign's Charlotte Clymer as if it somehow undid her earlier triumphalism. And he ignored the mockery Andy Ngo received from the left after he began doing interviews days after the incident.
Also he didn't count retweets or replies to the examples given. Pretty phoned-in.
Beinart's article is hiding behind the technicality that is headline says there's no support for "Antifa violence," and as evidence he is stating that there aren't people literally praising the particular recent incident specifically in Portland relating specifically to Andy Ngo. That's a pretty narrow basis for his claim that there's "a vast ideological gulf between mainstream American liberals and Antifa."
Beinart also argues, as a bit of an aside, with the very terms "liberal" and "left" as used in shorthand in American politics. It's a particularly nitpicky and pedantic red herring, considering that he uses the terms in an equally broad way in his absolution of his party and ideological fellows.
"Historically, in fact, the revolutionary left has loathed liberals, who generally support the reform—not the overthrow—of existing political and economic institutions," he wrote a paragraph after sneering at the broad use of the terms by the right. Not to mention his broad use of "conservatives" throughout the article and even in his headline.
There certainly are political and policy differences between various groups that comprise what we all, press and the people alike, reduce to the words "the left" in our discourse. But calling it a "gulf" in the age of #TheResistance is an inflation worthy of Alan Guth's cosmological analysis. Broadly, those who "#resist" include not just Antifa and their crowbars, but restaurant owners refusing meals and restaurant patrons spitting, and even members of congress and the press who encourage or excuse these things.
Watch the Grabien video again. The fact that some have come out and said "don't punch Andy Ngo" in the last couple of weeks is not the "gotcha" Beinart thinks it is.
Interestingly, Beinart himself wrote about the "rise of the violent left" just a year and half or so ago, a fact to which he offers a middling notice in his new article about how conservatives are making the whole thing up.
"It's true that, in the years since Donald Trump's election, a few leftists have, to their discredit, apologized for antifa's violence," he wrote of his own prior acknowledgement. "But if the response to the attack on Ngo is any guide, those apologies are diminishing as the ugliness of antifa's conduct grows more inescapable."
It does grow more inescapable, a point I've also made. But video is also inescapable, as are preserved tweets. The sleight of hand he's trying, absolving liberals of having batted their eyes flirtatiously with antifa over the last two years by arguing that you can't find any "mainstream" liberals who specifically cheered the beating of Andy Ngo, is ambitious. But it's doomed by the eyes, ears, and memory of everyone who has watched the news for the last two years. Or who have read prior Peter Beinart articles.