The MSM and The Narrative Style

Ace uses a recent essay by Fred Thompson in National Review Online on how the MSM's Official Narrative of his candidacy helped to drive several nails into it, as a jumping off point for "why the media so heavily depends on The Narrative -- 90% of the time, their reportage is weak and incomplete. It is riddled through with missing details and unknown motivations." The narrative that the MSM constructs allows them to paper over these gaps:

I can predict what a liberal will say on any issue. I will not only guess his position, I will accurately guess his reasoning. The latter, most of the time, anyway: I will either guess his primary reason, or his secondary reason, or a reason he's actually contrarian on (and thus departs from the liberal mainstream) but which he will at least recognize as a legitimate reason offered by may other liberals.

He won't be able to do that with me. He doesn't know and doesn't care to find out.

But if called upon to supply an explanation, he'll guess.

And he'll resort to The Narrative. Devoid of facts or accurate guesses based on close questioning on other matters, he'll take his best guess at a logical Narrative about my beliefs and motivations.

And what will his guess be? Well, since he never bothered to ask, and never bothered to read a conservative writing his beliefs out, and since, even when he ambushes a conservative (as Martin Bashir did yesterday with Andrew Breitbart) he doesn't actually bother listening to the answers but instead simply follows up with a re-worded restatement of the accusation, he'll resort to the very easy, very natural, very simple Narrative that explains it all.

He'll choose from the following list:

1) Because they're stupid

2) Because they're uneducated

3) Because they're superstitious and credulous and think that God told them to believe this

4) Because they have weak minds and Rush Limbaugh told them to think this

and, of course, for those who aren't clearly in the above categories:

5) Because they're racists and they hate

6) Because they literally -- as the Simpsons' parody went -- because they very literally "Want What's Worse For Everybody," i.e., they are not only villains, but self-aware villains of deliberate and knowing choice, villains because they've decided to Choose Villainy

Sometimes, the media actually has better answers than that -- they could at least offer up "because of the Constitution, or something?" -- but they find repeating our beliefs so hateful and so beyond credibility they refuse to.

Our black lies cannot pass their fair lips. Even in the few cases where they could accurately describe our reasoning and beliefs, they won't, because our reasoning and beliefs are so disgusting and transparently dishonest they cannot abide propagating them.

And thus The Narrative. Where facts are either missing, or unknown, or too hateful to actually be repeated in polite company, the Narrative fills in any and all blanks.

It's all worse now, of course, because the most unbelievable thing has happened to liberals. Ten times more mystifying than Fred Thompson's failure to catch fire is conservatives' failure to worship Barack Obama.

If I was mystified by Fred Thompson's failure to charm conservatives, liberals are stunned and apoplectic over Barack Obama's failure to charm conservatives.

They don't get it. Their imagination fails. How can such a clean, articulate (and I'm not kidding) genius be rejected by so many, beautiful in form, in voice, in mind, and spirit?

How can someone who quite literally is alike a Second Christ be rejected?

They can't explain it. Not just to the public, but to themselves. I sometimes wonder, slightly, why Fred Thompson didn't win; but they -- they! -- are almost dazed by distraction over the central mystery: "How can the world reject a God?"

Since this is so inexplicable to them, so beyond their experience and even beyond their capacity to imagine, the normal power of the Narrative is increased by a full order of magnitude.

How could so many fail to be "enchanted" (remember that word?) by Obama? Well, let's see: Fear, ignorance, lack of education, God told them not to be, Limbaugh told them not be, and, of course, hate and racism.

How could so many turn their backs on this wonderful man's determination to bring to the country the Democratic dream of ObamaCare? Well, obviously, ignorance, fear, lack of education, Gold told them it was bad, Limbaugh said it was bad, that stupid Wasilla Witch said the magic words "death panels," and, of course, hatred of minorities and/or the poor.

Now, by the way, on that point, the liberal media loves discussing how the Ryan plan will probably alienate many older voters who are hellbent to that their FDR-era bureaucracy of health delivery not be modified in any way.

At this point, it's worth flashing back to January of this year, when the left's War On Clip Art was in full swing the immediate wake of Gabrielle Giffords' terrifying shooting, and the New York Times deemed itself obligated to "Steer the Coverage" (read, the Narrative) against conservatives.