The Machine Coerces A Retraction From Mario Lopez

The Machine Coerces A Retraction From Mario Lopez

Reasonable opinions, even expressed as gently as Mario Lopez's, are impermissible in elite media if they so much as stray from progressive dogma.
Emily Jashinsky
By

Alas, Mario Lopez chose to end the controversy over his mild critique of childhood transgenderism with a standard-issue apology, pleading for re-entry into polite society with the same irrational gatekeepers who dragged him out of it.

Or did it just feel that way? Had Lopez and his employers waited it out another day, Twitter would have moved on. The media would have moved on. His career would have been fine. His integrity would have been intact.

By all means, read Lopez’s career-halting remarks in full. They reflect the kind of reasonable sentiment that sounds perfectly acceptable to just about everyone outside the confines of Woke Twitter. Here’s exactly what the longtime “Extra” host said on Candace Owens’ podcast last month:

Look, I’m never one to tell anyone how to parent their kids, obviously, and I think if you come from a place of love, you really can’t go wrong. But at the same time, my God, if you’re three years old and you’re saying you’re feeling a certain way or you think you’re a boy or a girl or whatever the case may be…. I Just think it’s dangerous as a parent to make that determination then—‘Okay, well then you’re going to be a boy or a girl,’ whatever the case may be. It’s sort of alarming and my gosh, I just think about the repercussions later on.

In short: it’s “dangerous” for parents to determine their three-year-old child should live as the opposite sex. He’s right, and you’ll find few responsible people outside leftist circles who fully disagree. But reasonable opinions, even when expressed as gently as Lopez’s, are impermissible in elite media if they so much as stray from progressive dogma.

He couldn’t have been kinder, emphasizing at one point, “I know other parents who have certain parenting styles that I necessarily don’t agree with, but I do know they’re good people and they’re coming from a good place.” It’s no longer hyperbole to note there is exactly zero room for dissent.

Surely under pressure from panicking executives, anxious over loud backlash from a small crowd, Lopez recanted in a rote statement to People: “The comments I made were ignorant and insensitive, and I now have a deeper understanding of how hurtful they were. I have been and always will be an ardent supporter of the LGBTQ community, and I am going to use this opportunity to better educate myself. Moving forward I will be more informed and thoughtful.”

This isn’t the consequence of some Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy, but an output of the Elite Progressive Machine. This machine emboldens fringe campus leftism to migrate from Ivory Towers to Twitter, where coteries of progressives reflexively pile-on dissenters, catching the attention of perpetually online journalists who use social media as an assignment editor and elevate small backlashes into national stories by assigning news value where little exists. This panics those media executives who, in turn, coerce garden-variety apologies out of flailing public figures.

About those national news stories: It should also be said the machine ensures they’re wildly unbalanced, with outlets like People and Yahoo quoting experts from one side of the debate to boost their argument. The effect is to keep all non-progressive expression out of Hollywood, award outsize influence to fringe progressives, and artificially inflate the importance of small backlashes against widely held opinions. It’s intimidating, and eminently unhealthy.

Sympathetic as I am to Lopez, who clearly came from a position of good faith, his apology is counterproductive. Children will benefit from a robust public debate in which both sides are adequately represented. They will not be helped by apologies that enable the machine to continue processing dissent into contrition.

Emily Jashinsky is culture editor at The Federalist. You can follow her on Twitter @emilyjashinsky .

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