Google defines Context as: “The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.”
Context is a powerful idea. It can transform the most innocuous comment into something vicious, just as easily as it can do the opposite. Within the world of politics, context means everything. A statement taken out of its surrounding text can change its meaning entirely, leading to severe consequences for the original speaker.
However, while context is surely key to our understanding of the world around us, there is something I call false contextualizing. False contextualizing occurs when one demands unnecessary surrounding tissue for a statement they claim has been taken out of context. This is yet another popular tactic of the Left. When a Liberal makes a vile or vicious remark, rather than apologize, they generally chalk it up to lack of context.
Recently, Martin Bashir made a nasty remark regarding Sarah Palin, implying someone should urinate and defecate in her mouth and eyes. He has since apologized—after massive pressure from the new media—but there are those who still defend him. CNN’s Chris Cuomo is one such person. On New Day, he said:
“Well, alright, but hold on. Let’s get some context here. Because, there’s no question it was wrong, right? And I have to say that because Martin Bashir says that. So that is the accepted premise, that what he said was wrong. That goes to the intention that Bashir had when he said that. Having read the full transcript of what it was, it seemed to have been a fairly well-developed reference to the history of slavery and how terrible it is and this is what was done to slaves. And if you want to use slavery you should know what slavery is and this is what should happen to you, and it became the last part of what he said should happen to her, which is a horrible thing that was done to slaves. Do you think Martin Bashir was trying to be viciously savagely hurtful to Sarah Palin? You don’t think he was trying to make a bigger rhetorical point and that this was a mistake of how to do it?”
First, let’s all acknowledge that Cuomo doesn’t seem believe that what Bashir said was wrong. Taking what he said, it appears Cuomo only admits the vile nature of Bashir’s comment because Bashir himself apologized. Cuomo then goes on to claim that within the context of Bashir’s comment, it wasn’t a savage attack, but rather the making of an historical point gone awry.
After examining the entirety of Bashir’s rant, it is clear that no context is needed. Even taking the full statement into account, he still calls for Sarah Palin’s punishment. The context serves no purpose aside from the explanation of the origin of the defecation-based punishment. In addition—if we want to wage a context war—Bashir had just called Sarah Palin a “world class idiot” prior to the slave analogy.
The Left loves false contextualizing because it gives them an out. As long as they claim something was taken out of context, it makes them appear nuanced and highly intelligent. Low-info voters eat that stuff up. But in the end, context does nothing to change what was said. Knowing this, we can take the weapon of “context” out of the hands of the Left.