Ed Driscoll

Forget Global Warming—Clean Up the Kultursmog

Back in 2005, R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. of the American Spectator coined the phrase “the Kultursmog” to describe the left’s ability shape the overculture. As Tyrell wrote:

What claims the attention of major media today is a phenomenon called Kultursmog. It is the popular culture of the United States, polluted utterly by a weird politics, a politics that is often called liberal but is actually simply leftish and adolescent. It has no fixed values or ideas other than to disturb the peace, which the legally attuned will recognize as a misdemeanor in most jurisdictions of the civilized world. Kultursmog is a culture that mixes rock stars in with fashion models and the ideas of Al Gore. Occasionally the smog actually includes the Hon. Gore, along with those other “rock star” personalities, the Clintons. The Kultursmog is always politically correct, ever sensitive to the whims of the Democratic National Committee, and increasingly anti-intellectual.

* * *

The Kultursmog may be anti-intellectual, vulgar, and politically out of touch, but it remains very influential. To a vast degree, it decides what the members of the chattering class talk about and are aware of. Its most effective instrument in influencing them is omission. It simply omits what it does not want to acknowledge. When Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan died a few years ago nowhere was it reported in major media that in the 1960s and early 1970s he was associated with neoconservatives such as Kristol and Jeane Kirkpatrick. At the Pierre the other night Henry Kissinger, Mike Wallace, Tom Wolfe, and scores of other notables paused to celebrate Buckley. In the Kultursmog the event never took place and eventually Bill Buckley will never have existed. But Buckley helped create what in politics has become the winning side, and in time the Kultursmog will not exist at all.

You can see it explicitly at work in this item from the George Soros-funded Media Matters gang: “Memo to media: Pamela Geller does not belong on national television.” (For screen cap, click here, in case the post is “disappeared”, as they say in Argentina).

Which is a really fascinating development. In the old days, TV shows would have guests on from the left and right, give them microphones, let them hash the arguments out, and let the audience decide who won the battle. In contrast, here’s is a self-professed far left media watchdog group telling the liberal media whom they should and shouldn’t book for their shows. (Which presumably is quite a compliment for Pamela, otherwise, why would they bother issuing this sort of stuff?)

As Stacy McCain notes:

If Fox covers a story that other networks ignore, the attack is directed at the network. However, if MSNBC books a guest (Geller) to discuss a story that it had otherwise ignored (the Ground Zero mosque), Media Matters screams bloody murder that this one guest is unacceptable.Media Matters is attempting to exercise the power of an arbiter, to arrogate to itself the authority to decide which stories are newsworthy and which sources are credible, and it does so through intimidation. The message to news producers and editors couldn’t be clearer: Give serious coverage to a story we don’t like, and we’ll unleash these attacks against you.

Remember Liz Mair’s theory that David Weigel’s Journolist e-mails were made public because Weigel had dared to dispute the Left’s narrative that portrayed Rand Paul as a racist. Weigel wasn’t toeing the line. He hadn’t cooperated in the Meme-O’-th’-Day agenda and, by speaking out, had helped kill the meme that Democrats were employing to tremendous advantage. Was that why he became the Luca Brasi of MSM reporters?

Hey, I’m just askin’ questions . . .

Other than class warfare – the GOP as “party of the rich” — no message has been more electorally productive for Democrats than the “R is for Racist” meme (which seems to be shaping up as the MSM’s pre-emptive explanation for any Republican success in November). By furiously attacking stories that disrupt or distract from that message, Media Matters is shaping the political battlefield to favor Democrats.

Even more so than the old media has for decades, as Tyrrell’s item at the start of post highlights.

Update: More attempted stifling of dissent spotted here.