Ed Driscoll

The Doghouse inside the Cocoon

It’s a dog doesn’t report the president eats dogs world in the MSM, as Mark Steyn writes:

My weekend column addressed Romney’s dog-transporting and Obama’s dog-eating – the former referenced by New York Times columnist Gail Collins some four dozen or so times, the latter not at all by her or any other Times bigshot. And yet there was the President of the United States up on stage doing dog-eating shtick in front of the nation. That represents an amazingly swift victory for the man who, all but entirely via Twitter, injected the topic into the public discourse – Jim Treacher.

Indeed,  as The Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta wrote:

My favorite DC/world disconnect at #WHCD dinner lst nite was when frmr politico now in NY asked why Obama kept talking about eating dogs.

It’s not really a “DC/world” disconnect so much as a housetrained media/freelance bloodhound disconnect. If you rely for your news on the poodles of the Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc, or the self-neutered attack-dogs of the late-night comedy shows, you would, like Ms Franke-Ruta’s friend, have been utterly in the dark. Jim Treacher forced the President and his palace guard to break their own embargo. Or as he put it:

I win.

More from Treach (as my friend Steve Green likes to call him) in just a moment, but first a couple of more examples of cocooning. Next up, Moe Lane wonders why the Politico is “excusing in 2012 their lack of foresight about 2010:”

I need to push back on this cover-their-rear statement by Politico on the ‘surprise’ flipping of the House of Representatives in 2010.

[House Speaker John] Boehner doesn’t play political prognosticator often. But when he does, those close to him say, there’s usually a calculated reason. In April 2010 — almost two years ago exactly — the then-House minority leader said in a radio interview that an astounding 100 seats were in play in that year’s midterm elections, a figure he said was broader than “anything we’ve seen around here during my 20 years” in the House.

Few from either party believed Boehner at the time, but his assessment proved accurate. Republicans put about 100 Democratic-held seats in play, ultimately winning 63 of them to seize the majority.

(Bolding mine) Actually, people who read RedState (or MoeLane) were prepared for that scenario. People who read Sean Trende at RCP were prepared for that scenario. People who read Hot Air and AoSHQ were at least prepared for the possibility.  In fact, people who were following the election using right-leaning sites and news sourcess were by and large prepared for what happened. But the people were relying on the Daily Beast or the Left-blogosphere or, well, Politico for their political content? …Yeah, those folks ended up being kind of surprised in November. Usually unpleasantly.

Walter Russell Mead notes that “Walker Gains in Wisconsin: NYT Shields Readers From Distressing News:”

Intrade, a site where people can in effect bet on political races, shows Walker with a 68.5 percent chance of re-election as of Sunday morning. (By contrast, President Obama has only a 59.7 percent shot at a second term.) Recent polls on the race show Walker ahead, though the race is close and volatile — and the dynamics may change once the Democrats pick a nominee. None of this appears in this article.

Forget accusations of media bias and ideological agendas: this is a collapse of basic news judgment. On this issue at least, readers who rely on the New York Times to tell them what’s happening in the country — don’t know what’s happening in the country. They genuinely don’t know that in Wisconsin this all out mobilization by both sides on a polarizing question is, tentatively and certainly not irreversibly, but noticeably and to a certain degree increasingly… breaking Walker’s way.

Sometimes I wonder if the Times hasn’t been infiltrated by a group of stealth conservatives, a sleeper cell dedicated to making the left stupid and ineffectual. For liberals to be basking in a dream world in which OWS is effective and unions are fighting back and winning in Wisconsin is exactly what conservatives want. Look how it worked on Obamacare: not a serious liberal in the country thought the individual mandate could possibly be thought unconstitutional until, quite horribly, the Supreme Court justices started asking all those questions that the press had done its best to ignore.

And at Commentary, Jonathan S. Tobin writes,  “To listen to some Democrats lately, President Obama’s re-election is in the bag:”

The lead in the tracking polls has changed hands several times in the last few weeks, and we can expect it will continue to fluctuate in the coming months. As Gallup confirms, the matchup in the swing states that will decide the contest are as close as can be. If the Democrats think all Obama has to do is call the Republicans names and play the “cool kid” on late night television, they may be in for the shock of their lives when they discover that the competition for posts in his second administration is a waste of time.

If so, it wouldn’t be the first time. Way back in 2003, Mickey Kaus, via the Media Research Center defined “liberal cocooning,”  a phrase originally coined by J. Peter Mulhern in a 2001 Washington Weekly article thusly:

“The point is that reporters and editors at papers like the Times (either one!) are exquisitely sensitive to any sign that Democrats might win, but don’t cultivate equivalent sensitivity when it comes to discerning signs Republicans might win. (Who wants to read that?) The result, in recent years, is the Liberal Cocoon, in which Democratic partisans are kept happy and hopeful until they are slaughtered every other November.” Kaus’ subject was an article in the L.A. Times, but his theory applies equally well to the paper’s New York namesake.

The fiction of the size of the chocolate ration only heading a northward direction was easier to maintain over a decade ago when the liberal cocoon was nearly impenetrable; but as Jim Treacher illustrated last month, with the right meme, and a sufficient coordinate push, it’s entirely possible to toss it over the walls of the gatekeepers. Here’s Treacher himself, yesterday:

It’s just more proof that we don’t need these guys anymore. They’re not our gatekeepers. They’ve proven it over and over: ACORN. Rielle Hunter. Van Jones. Anthony Weiner. They keep trying and failing to cover up stories that don’t suit their agenda. They keep pretending they control the flow of information. They’re determined to prove their own obsolescence. And they’ve got the ratings and circulation numbers to prove it.

Anyway. Back to me! I’d like to take this opportunity to humbly acknowledge a few of the accolades bestowed upon me. It would be ungrateful not to, don’t you think?

Absolutely — you’ve earned the victory lap. But hopefully there will be more “inconvenient truths” that make it around the old media gatekeepers in a variety of mediums, in the coming weeks and months, including Twitter, which is where Treacher’s discovery of the president astonishing quote really got its (four) legs. Which is why, as John Nolte writes at Big Journalism, we saw a coordinated effort by the left to knock at least one conservative off that medium this past weekend:

What troubles these Leftists is that they now know that through Twitter Americans are not only having a national conversation in an environment the left fears most — without a mainstream media filter — but we are also freely and without that filter exchanging ideas and information.

What truly terrifies the left, though, is that Twitter is now where media narratives are generated that the mainstream media can no longer ignore. As recently as last year, narratives inconvenient to the Left that began on Twitter (i.e., Obama wouldn’t have found bin Laden without the water-boarding he opposed) and that would’ve surely been memory-holed otherwise, suddenly found their way into the MSM’s news-cycle against the MSM’s will.

Because the MSM can’t ignore (and better yet, control or filter) these conversations taking place amongst millions, the media is now forced to either report on this topic or look completely out of touch with what activist America is most passionate about. Moreover, you now have thousands upon thousands of citizen journalists directly challenging the media on their biases.

Speaking of biases and cocooning, one quick juxtapose before we wrap this topic up. As spotted by Tim Graham of Newsbusters, “WashPost Writes The Public Be Damned: They’re Biased If They Think We’re Biased:”

Saturday’s Washington Post included a story dismissing the public for believing the media has a bias, complete with the headline “Public has its own biases about media.”  It sounded like a twist on “I  Know You Are, But What Am I?” Media reporter Paul Farhi argued studies finding an increased perception of the media favoring “one side” since 1985 are somehow dashed because professors and their studies disagree.

Farhi threw massive doubt on the assertion of bias: “But have the media really become more biased? Or is this a case of perception trumping reality? In fact, there’s little to suggest that over the past few decades news reporting has become more favorable to one party.”

That would be news to the paper’s former ombudsperson, who wrote in 2008, “I’ll bet that most Post journalists voted for Obama. I did. There are centrists at The Post as well. But the conservatives I know here feel so outnumbered that they don’t even want to be quoted by name in a memo,” a few months before Newsweek, back when it was still owned by the Post declared, “We Are All Socialists Now” on its cover at the start of the Obama administration.

Or to paraphrase the Monty Python sketch on cannibalism in the Royal Navy, There is no bias at the Washington Post. Absolutely none. And when I say there is none, I do mean that there is a certain amount.

But in both cases, necrophilia is still right out. Even at the Egyptian branch office.