Ace of Spades has a couple of back to back posts on Time nominating Sandra Fluke as one of their potential “Persons of the Year”* as a launching point for a long rumination on the state of the culture, and the left’s control of academia, the media, and pop culture. Or as Mark Steyn noted yesterday when sitting in for Rush:
“You cannot raise a couple of generations in liberal air from kindergarten to university — with motion pictures, with television, with newspapers, with mainline churches — in a default liberal setting, and then turn it around with elections. You can’t save the country with a guy in the voting booth punching the tab of the fella with the (R) after his name every other November.” -Mark Steyn
In his first post, focusing on Time’s nomination of Fluke, Ace begins by quipping:
One major advantage the leftists have over us is their domination of the media, of course. They can confer “Hero” status on any leftwing political actor, no matter how marginal, no matter how, frankly, whiny and cloying.
This was the real problem with Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” comment. It wasn’t that he called a woman a slut — Bill Maher does that a lot. The problem was that the media declared Sandra Fluke a “Hero” and you cannot call a Hero a Slut, just the same — almost exactly the same, alas — as you can’t shout and give the finger to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
So this whole problem was really the media’s creation — not Rush Limbaugh’s mistake.
When Jake Tapper did a soft-focus Hero piece on Fluke, I asked him repeatedly what she’d done, precisely, to earn such status. I also asked him when ABCNews would be running an accompanying context piece analyzing the truthfulness of Sandra Fluke’s various “stories” (stories she heard second or third hand, largely via posts on a website) of Birth Control Calamities. He kept saying such a piece was in the works, but it never aired.
At no point did anyone in the media seriously ask if what Sandra Fluke was saying was actually true. They didn’t ask because, of course, the answer would not have been to her — or their — advantage.
The only relevant fact was that Sandra Fluke was politically aligned with them, and the general leftist attitude they call “pro-sex” (it’s not; everyone’s pro-sex; Sandra Fluke was specifically pro-subsidized-minor-expense-precautionary-birth-control, not pro-sex). Her “truth” was the vague “truth” of the allegedly pro-sex feminists, which was basically that anyone traditionalist or rightist is evil and backwards and sexually repressive. Since that “truth” they all take to be True Beyond All Contestation, they didn’t feel the need to examine her actual claims in detail.
His second post goes into even further detail on how the left seized control of academia and the media over the last twenty years and how that has distorted American culture, which is equally worth your time. This is just a sample…
In 1980, while PBS was in fact liberal (of course), it also took its mission of presenting a lively exchange of under-reported ideas seriously. PBS gave wide exposure to another one of America’s best-known rock-star conservative intellectuals (William F. Buckley, of course).
Now, in 2012, does anyone imagine PBS has any interest in airing something like Free to Choose? Or a William F. Buckley style tony conservative discussion show?
No. Liberalism has become, slowly, pure leftism. That is, while liberalism would consider it a positive political virtue to air contrary viewpoints, because such contrary viewpoints have an indirect, but real, salutary effect on our politics and discourse, the leftist mindset is much cruder and much more fixated on direct, immediate results. And that means that the old liberal idea of “balance” or “exchange of ideas” and “lively discussion” are idealistic follies, and the right course of action is simply direct and relentless propagation of the leftist message.
…But it begins with the headline I’m quoting above, which, as Ace writes, really gets to the heart of this year’s election coverage by the MSM. (Update: And post-election coverage, as well, alas.)
Hey, it would certainly make for a heck of a cover by Time:
* After thanking the magazine for the honor, naturally of course, Fluke churlishly used the opportunity to bash Time for the sexism she imagines lurks within its offices. (Which is yet another reminder that, as with NBC, however further to the left Time-Warner-CNN-HBO continues to lurch, it will never be enough to satisfy its consumers.)