Ed Driscoll

'Uncivil Disobedience'

As Glenn Reynolds notes in the New York Post, media — at least old media — continues to ignore union thuggery:

At the Huffington Post, liberal Lee Stranahan wonders why this kind of thing isn’t getting more attention from the traditional media who were tut-tutting over much more minor (and even imaginary) offenses to civility so very recently. “Ignoring the story of these threats is deeply, fundamentally wrong. It’s bad, biased journalism that will lead to no possible good outcome and progressives should be leading the charge against it.

“Just before writing this article, I did a Google search and it’s stunning to find out that the right-wing media really isn’t exaggerating — proven death threats against politicians are being ignored by the supposedly honest media. If you’ve never agreed with a single thing that Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly et al have said about anything, you can’t in any good conscience say that they don’t have a point here. Death threats are wrong and if a story like Wisconsin is national news for days, then so are death threats.”

He’s right, but the big-media folks seem so anxious to peddle the same tired storyline — right-wingers are violent and ignorant, left-wingers are peaceful and virtuous — that they almost have to ignore anything that will spoil the narrative.

But in doing this, they only undermine their own position more. Word still gets out — even to liberals at the Huffington Post. And people catch on: If there are big stories out there that traditional media won’t cover because it offends their storyline, then why listen to traditional media at all?

Maybe that helps to explain this recent post from Stranahan on his blog:

I found myself pretty shocked by two things. First was the hostility. People were really tearing into me and one common accusation was that I was a conservative troll. In fact, many suggested that I’d pretended to be liberal – like I was in a sleeper cell. These sort of accusations are a common argument.The other shock was a really antipathy to facts. I mean, actual facts – like John Edwards was caught by reporters who saw him firsthand. My critics did all sorts of backflips to get around this; the reporters were lying, the Enquirer can’t be trusted, they are going after Edwards because of his stance on poverty and so on. I pointed out that while the Enquirer will stretch the truth, it seemed highly unlikely they would outright lie about seeing Edwards firsthand – especially since he was a successful attorney – and that tellingly, Edwards hadn’t denied the facts. I made phone calls to the Beverly Hills police to confirm facts…and still the mob on DailyKos went ballistic.

For almost half a century, from about 1950 to the rise of Matt Drudge and the Blogosphere, it was possible for old media to virtually bottle up a story, back when there were three TV networks, and only a couple of newspapers per big city, all getting their raw material from the New York Times, the Washington Post, AP, and Reuters. These days, media coverage is infinitely more diverse, but that hasn’t stopped the left from attempting to “steer the coverage,” as the New York Times would say, via such methods as the JournoList (and presumably its successor email list(s), and if those fail, the pressure that Stranahan described above.

And if those techniques don’t work, there’s always the fear of excommunication, as I noted six years ago:

Years ago, Tom Wolfe (and this isn’t an exact quote) described what made Radical Chic and The Painted Word get so far under the skin of New York intellectuals. “It was like talking out of turn in church”.At a conference on global warming, the late economist Julian Simon once began a speech like this:

“How many people here believe that the earth is increasingly polluted and that our natural resources are being exhausted?” Naturally, every hand shot up. He said, “Is there any evidence that could dissuade you?” Nothing. Again: “Is there any evidence I could give you — anything at all — that would lead you to reconsider these assumptions?” Not a stir. Simon then said, “Well, excuse me, I’m not dressed for church.”

Apparently, neither is Michael Wolff. In an article in the New Partisan, Russ Smith writes that Wolff’s apostasy has turned him into a Manhattan pariah — which also isn’t all that surprising. As Glenn Reynolds wrote three years ago:

As the old saying has it, the left looks for heretics and the right looks for converts, and both find what they’re looking for. The effect is no doubt subliminal, but people who treat you like crap are, over time, less persuasive than people who don’t. If people on the Left are so unhappy about how many former allies are changing their views, perhaps they should examine how those allies are treated.

Anyone who’s been holding his breath for six years waiting for change and introspection, you may resume the intake of oxygen. Just don’t tell Al Gore.

At least in the British media, they’re willing to apologize when they blow their coverage. asking “whatever happened to the nuclear meltdown” in Japan, James Delingpole of the London Telegraph quotes Lewis Page from the Register:

As one who earns his living in the media these days, I can only apologise on behalf of my profession for the unbelievable levels of fear and misinformation purveyed this week. I have never been so ashamed to call myself a journalist.

Is there such a profession, at least as it was once conceived of, left in the United States? After all, as Victor Davis Hanson wrote on the eve of the 2008 presidential election, “Sometime in 2008, journalism as we knew it died, and advocacy media took its place.”

No one, at least on this side of the aisle, should be surprised that it continues apace.