Dennis Prager said something especially foolish for a man who is generally reasonable. The nationally syndicated radio host insisted that a global nuclear power, that once had an appetite for world domination, is less of a threat to America than journalists.
The news media in the West pose a far greater danger to Western civilization than Russia does.— Dennis Prager (@DennisPrager) July 14, 2017
On its face, this is patently ridiculous. The New York Times isn't invading the Ukraine. The Washington Post isn't propping up Middle East strongmen. And hatchet jobs aside, the Huffington Post isn't assassinating political opponents.
Those obvious facts raise a more fundamental question though. Specifically, does Prager know that he's a journalist?
Prager clarified the threat he identified in his viral tweet, complaining to Fox News on Monday morning that "the New York Times publishes pieces that it is unfortunate that the United States was ever founded." By reporting junk opinions, he argues, the media along with the university has convinced millennials that "socialism is preferable to capitalism."
While it's true that the media needs to reevaluate its priorities, there's no need for Prager's alarmism. Every time he complains about abuse of the press, he unwittingly echoes the sentiments of social justice warriors.
The editorial team at the New York Times could just as easily apply the same logic to Prager. With 114 thousand followers on Twitter, 2.3 million fans on Facebook, and a voice that booms across the country, he could be construed as a threat to their version of the West because of his unpopular opinions.
Prager will soon be susceptible to the same sort of broad-brush criticism he's doling out. And conservative should take note. While the news media deserves some censure, labeling an entire industry enemies of civilization is an invitation to the other side to do the exact same thing to journalists like Prager.
The solution to stupid ideas isn't dismissing the author altogether. The antidote to bad journalism has always been more good journalism and a rededication to the idea that truth will win out so long as she's never disarmed of free argument and debate.
By labeling the media enemies of the people, Prager is doing himself, his profession, and Democracy a disservice. Does he realize he's a journalist?
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.