Ed Driscoll

Great Moments in Professional Journalism


It’s come to this: “Huffington Post Reporter in Ferguson Asks if Ear Plugs Are ‘Rubber Bullets:'”

A Huffington Post reporter whose profile has been elevated by his arrest in Ferguson, Missouri while covering protests and riots in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death mistook ear plugs for rubber bullets Sunday.

Ryan J. Reilly, who was arrested Wednesday night after police asked him to leave a McDonald’s as protesters closed in, learned the hard way that Twitter can be a place where your thumbs move faster than your mind—and where every mistake you make is saved forever.

And the snark in response on Twitter is brutal and seemingly unending. But then, as Twitter user Matt Cover writes, “So the guy reporting on the ‘militarized’ police all week thinks ear plugs are rubber bullets. Great.”

“And journalists wonder why they aren’t trusted on ‘gun’ issues. Never seen a damn earplug before,” another Twitter user notes.

Early last year, while Piers Morgan was still doing his best to auger CNN’s ratings even further into the ground, Ace explored “The Unburstable Bubble of Willful Ignorance of the International Self-Purported Elites:”

As I mentioned with regard to Piers Morgan, there is a certain level of pride that attaches to being ignorant of those one considers his inferiors. After all, it’s the natural duty of the simple shopkeeper to know the names of the Great Lords, but it is not the duty of the Great Lords to know the names of the shopkeepers. In fact, it’s the Great Lords’ class obligation to go out of their way not to know the names of the shopkeepers, because this Duty to Know flows in one direction — upwards — and hence ignorance of one’s lessers tends to solidify and reify the assumptions of certain castes being superior to others. It makes certain that everyone understands who’s important, and who’s not.

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You notice that at this late date, with a major policy campaign against the dreaded Semi. Automatic. Weapon., that most of these guys still haven’t bothered to discover what a semi-automatic is?

That’s a learned habit. They are signalling to other members of their class (or the class they aspire to) that they consider such knowledge base, the sort of thing known by the dirty callous-handed illiterates of the rabble and certainly not by the Lords of Intellect.

I mean, it’s like a recipe for ‘Possum Stew. To even know the thing would reduce you in status. Knowledge about guns is something the lower classes have; the criminal class, the agrarian workers (the peasantry), the lesser Servitor Classes of policemen and armed guards and military betas.

What could possibly explain such ignorance at this point, except a calculated, learned ignorance of the habits of one’s putative lessers?

See also: Godzilla facepalm worthy gaffes such as: Dude, the Constitution is like, really old and so really hard to understand; or Gerald Ford is still alive; or the Clinton administration’s role in Iraq, or not knowing that conservatives and libertarians have been writing about the increasing militarization of the police for over a decade. (This short list doesn’t even include the president’s astonishing lacunas of knowledge.) Democrat operatives with and without bylines both operate from the principle of willful ignorance of American history and the day to day lives of its citizens — while insisting they be allowed the unchecked privilege to reshape the nation to their whims. This — coupled with Saul Alinsky’s Rule #5 — explains the massive amount of snark being heaped upon Reilly on Twitter.

Update: “That’s strange since the press has been wearing earplugs for years.” Heh, indeed.™