The MSM: Trapped in the Overlook Hotel
"No sir, you are the caretaker. You've always been the caretaker."
The epistemic closure of America's Ruling Class is painful to watch, and will likely only get worse in the next two months, as highlighted by two posts from Brent Baker of Newsbusters:
The late Peter Jennings, shortly after the Republicans took control of Congress in 1994: “Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week.”
Washington Post Associate Editor Eugene Robinson, a frequent guest analyst on MSNBC, in his Friday column on polls showing voters will throw out Democrats, again, in November: “This isn't an ‘electoral wave,’ it's a temper tantrum.”
More Jennings from 1994: “Parenting and governing don't have to be dirty words: the nation can't be run by an angry two-year-old.”
And more from Robinson this year: “The American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats.”
But is this really "Plagiarism," as Baker alleges in his headline, or simply a case of what elite journalists think about their customers when they watch them about to commit mass Thoughtcrime?
Elsewhere at Newsbusters, Baker spots another example of epistemic MSM closure:
Filling in for Bob Schieffer as host of Face the Nation, Early Show co-host Harry Smith brought his liberal sensibilities to the Sunday show, pressing his economic panel to agree the Bush tax cuts should not be extended, the stimulus was too small and so another would be wise – even suggesting a return to an FDR-era government make-work jobs program: “What about, say, something like a new WPA?”
Schieffer is engaged in another kind of MSM mobius loop thinking, as Jonah Goldberg presciently noted in July:
Gleichschaltung is a German word (in case you couldn’t have guessed) borrowed from electrical engineering. It means “coordination.” The German National Socialists (Nazis) used the concept to get every institution to sing from the same hymnal. If a fraternity or business embraced Nazism, it could stay “independent.” If it rejected Nazism, it was crushed or bent to the state’s ideology. Meanwhile, every branch of government was charged with not merely doing its job but advancing the official state ideology.
Now, contemporary liberalism is not an evil ideology. Its intentions aren’t evil or even fruitfully comparable to Hitlerism. But there is a liberal Gleichschaltung all the same. Every institution must be on the same page. Every agency must advance the liberal agenda.
And this is where the Catch-22 catches. The dream of a nimble, focused, problem-solving government is undone by the reality of hyper–mission creep. When every institution is yoked to an overarching philosophy or mission, its actual purpose can become an afterthought. In 2005, volunteer firefighters from all over the country offered to help with Katrina’s aftermath. But FEMA sent many of them to Atlanta first to undergo diversity and sexual-harassment training (which most already had).
Such examples are everywhere. What is political correctness other than the gears of the liberal Gleichschaltung? The financial crisis was worsened because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac became tools for liberal social engineering. Let’s not even mention public schools.
The White House is determined to be a great friend (i.e., servant) to the unions, so everything from the stimulus to the automaker buyout to the Gulf spill must first pass union muster. Remember those vital, “shovel-ready” weatherization jobs the stimulus was supposed to pay for? The Labor Department delayed them for nearly a year while trying to figure out how to comply with pro-union “prevailing wage” rules for each of more than 3,000 counties.
Liberalism has become a cargo cult to the New Deal, but many of the achievements of the New Deal would be impossible now. Just try to get a Hoover Dam built today.
These days of course, as self-described "progressives" see progress any only running backwards, it's far easier to get a dam destroyed than it is to get one built.
Fortunately, at the American Thinker, John Fricke believes he's seeing "Liberals' Sticks and Stones Losing Potency:"
Twisting the concepts of what journalism really is into something that was an activist movement for "the public good" allowed liberals to begin to control the message. Once in control, they wielded the blade and cut off all debate, with an agreeable media firing bullet points.
"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."
- Saul Alinsky: Rules for Radicals, number 13
This was not some simple radical theory that sat dusty in a coffee shop in Haight-Ashbury. This was war-gaming. It was, until recently, effective. Alinsky also noted, overstated but true, that "ridicule is man's most potent weapon." The committed operatives chose the targets, the faithful believers barked out the points, and the agreeing media echoed the sentiments. It was a tremendously successful plan executed with precision that would not just shape public sentiment, but build the fortress of a framework of public policy. Lust for total control of that policy collided with the discovery of a political figure they truly believed was messianic, one so bright that he would blind them and open the eyes of the opposition at the same time
"We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America."
- Barack Obama, October 31, 2008
As it turns out, Obama's math was a little off. From the day he said this to the real transformation will be, more exactly, two years and two days. That will be the day Alinsky modeling dies.
The left, especially their media wing, are stunned at what is likely to happen on November 2, 2010 -- not just in the election results or the repudiation of their ideals, but more in that, from nowhere, it seems to them, all the ammo they have is suddenly worthless. Backs against the coming electoral wall, they have attacked on every front, using their entire arsenal. Americans who oppose their agenda on any given issue have been, and still are, called the most vicious names the media can conjure up. Homophobic, Islamaphobic, xenophobic, greedy, and, of course, racist. Their media does its not-so-subtle best to paint conservatives with a blood brush, from direct attacks (Time magazine asking if "America [is] Islamaphobic" -- meaning anyone who dares disagree with the liberal position on the mosque at Ground Zero is a racist) to the indirect assaults (CNN referring to the massive crowd at Glen Beck's 8/28 Washington rally as "predominantly white" -- insinuating that the crowd was a collection of racists). Those and all their other attacks have failed. For the first time in modern American political debate, the liberal label gun is jamming. Worse for liberals, the bullets will likely never be effective again.
Obama can take credit. His "transformation" turned into an American awakening. The Democratic Party made a gigantic miscalculation in 2008. If it had pushed Hillary Clinton over the top (and let's recall the primary ended in a near dead heat), then it could have continued -- steady as she goes -- in its use of words and labels to bottle debate and win on its issues. Instead, it backed a young, untested, and unknown politician. Even its media was unsure of its footing (see, for example, Charlie Rose interviewing Tom Brokaw shortly after the election, with the two of them saying openly that they were not really sure who Obama was). The price the left will pay is beyond large. The short-term political blowback is a fairly minor cost compared to the laid-bare exposing to the public of their tactics. Obama was and remains a true believer in those community activist tactics. It is who he really is. Taking those tactics from grassroots liberal organizing (in the media and politically protected areas of south Chicago) and parading them onstage before the entire nation has come at a stunning cost to liberalism.
No longer can the left use broad terms to describe people who disagree with them and have those people sit idly by and accept it. For example, it used to be the left would play the "R" card to silence dissent against its positions and control any particular debate. Those tagged would likely turn and run from any fight for fear that any pushback would make a false accusation stick. Keeping out of the line of liberal fire was the only way to survive. That fear is now gone, and likely for good.
Hopefully he's right. But heck, at least in the short-term, even Palace Guard comedians like Jon Stewart and his sidekicks suddenly find themselves temporarily free of the Overlook's mind-numbing vortex, and suddenly able to make jokes such as this:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Race Card Is Maxed Out|
Related: Star Parker on "Withdrawing From Reality."