“Republicans pounce!” In a variety of forms, this simple phrase has been part of the biased media’s lexicon for years. As described by Noah Rothman in 2015, “The story is never the story; for political reporters and editors alike, the Republican reaction to the story is the preferred prism through which to view events Democrats find… discomforting.” The pattern is as follows. If a Republican does something “bad,” the story is that the Republican did something “bad.” When a Democrat does something “bad,” the story is that Republicans “pounced,” drawing focus away from the actions Democrats would rather obscure.
There are so many examples that “Republicans pounce” has become a Leftist cliché. “Ocasio-Cortez Team Flubs a Green New Deal Summary, and Republicans Pounce” is one wonderful example. The phrase is so hilariously overused that Tucker Carlson joked in 2019 that “the symbol of the Republican party might have to be switched from an elephant to a tiger” due to its apparent propensity for pouncing.
Unfortunately, this clear strategy of redirecting the misbehavior of the Left by focusing on the mischaracterized critical reaction of the Right has now crossed a line.
Our society’s open sexualization of children has been at the forefront of multiple arenas of political debate, with several branches of the American Right opposing this growing and impactful cultural change. Some fights involve actual legislation, such as California’s decision to effectively weaken protections for vulnerable youth under the absurd banner of “achieving equality.” Other fights involve the “culture war,” such as the widespread condemnation of “Cuties,” a French movie distributed by Netflix which depicts an 11-year old girl joining a “twerking dance crew.”
Describing the “backlash” to “Cuties,” The Washington Post reported, “Conservative commentators circulated a clip of Amy and the ‘Cuties’ performing in their spandex outfits, while others pounced on parental guidance noting that there is a scene in which one girl’s underwear is exposed,” and Axios tweeted, “GOP politicians are jumpstarting a Netflix boycott in response to the film ‘Cuties’…Their stance is linked to a child sex trafficking conspiracy theory central to the QAnon movement.”
Yet again, the story is not Netflix’s choice to distribute content which could arguably be classed as child pornography, but the Republican reaction to Netflix’s choice to distribute content which could arguably be classed as child pornography.
Beyond the moral depravity required to use “Republicans pounce” for stories involving obvious ethical questions, the Left are now partnering this strategy with a clear effort to delegitimize such criticism by predefining any such reaction as inherently conspiratorial.
This combined effort was exemplified by Melissa Ryan, a “writer, organizer, and digital strategist” who boasts on her Twitter profile that she organizes “to combat disinformation and extremism.” When Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard criticized Netflix for distributing what she identified as child pornography and pointed out that this would “help fuel the child sex trafficking trade,” Ryan delegitimized the argument against “Cuties” as “going QAnon.” Perhaps Ryan should consider “organizing” against herself?
Tulsi going QAnon is the least surprising thing to happen in 2020. https://t.co/9ZriBWrYJH
— Melissa Ryan (@MelissaRyan) September 12, 2020
Again, the story is not the story. The reaction is the story. Not only that, the mischaracterized reaction is the story.
To link any mainstream conservative (or even non-conservative) criticism of a movie which arguably glorifies the sexualization of prepubescent girls with a fringe conspiracy theory is to discredit the debate entirely, providing us with yet another one of the Left’s favorite binary choices: you must either celebrate the sexualization of children or submit to ideological self flagellation and accept the label of “conspiracy theorist.”
When you see “Republicans pounce” in a headline or report, it is a sign that the leftist media are attempting to dilute the underlying story. The fact that they would use this previously amusing strategy to distract from the abuse of children has crossed a line. The fact that others are claiming that the mere utterance of protest is proof of allegiance with a conspiracy theory pushes that line beyond our reach.