Ed Driscoll

That Depends On Your Definition of 'Failure'

Regarding #Ferguson and the MSM, “The left is very good at starting racial firestorms but, like irresponsible campers leaving behind an unquenched campfire, they are not so good at putting them out,” John Sexton writes in a post that really should be read in its entirety at Breitbart.com. As Sexton notes, “What we saw in their handling of the Brown case is a rerun of the Martin case. The facts don’t seem to fit with the left’s views and even after substantial evidence comes to light showing what did happen, they refuse to believe it:”

When the left’s racial narrative gradually falls apart, just as it did during the Martin case, they retreat to claims of an unfair process or they claim that someone is a liar based on their own faulty BS detector. The more obvious explanation is the one the left, with few exceptions, refuses to contemplate, i.e. this was never the test case they wanted it to be.

There are real world consequences to the behavior by the progressive media. Early, incomplete reporting  leaves behind an understandable residue of anger. Irresponsible attacks on the process based on feelings, BS detectors and misreadings of evidence (or ignoring evidence altogether) further stoke that anger. The real fires we see burning in Ferguson aren’t that surprising given the story the progressive media has tried to tell about this case. Even after those fires go out the damage will remain.

Sexton’s article is titled “Progressive Media Failed Again in the Brown Case,” but that depends on your definition of “failure,” doesn’t it? And your definition of the MSM. If there’s anyone left who still thinks of the media as objective news gatherers, then of course, Ferguson was nearly as big a bonfire for their national reputations as the actual riots and arson were for the 21,000 inhabitants of the real Missouri town. But the pattern for the MSM doesn’t date back to Trayvon Martin, but to the election of Barack Obama when anyone, any group who opposed him — on either side of the aisle — was automatically deemed racist.

This was followed by the rise of the Tea Party — immediately dubbed racist bomb throwers by an increasingly paranoid elite chattering class. The following year, the blind media ran wild claims that “Maybe fifteen people about fifteen times” shouted the N-word on the steps of Congress in protest when then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her giant novelty gavel led the socialist brigade that passed Obamacare. That effort by the left to smear the right as racist was debunked by the late Andrew Breitbart and colleagues so thoroughly that even JournoList member Ben Smith, then of the Politico, declared, “I think you’ve pretty much won this one, no?”

2011 kicked off when an apolitical lunatic shot Democrat Gabrielle Giffords, a Bush #41-appointed judge, and a dozen other victims  in Arizona, which the media tried to blame on the magic powers of Sarah Palin’s clip art, followed by the equally hypnotizing ability of icky — and racist! — words about guns and violence.

Rinse and repeat until Trayvon and Ferguson.

CNN, a TV news network that, on the one hand, thinks of themselves as the last vestige of objective journalism  (hey, stop laughing back there, they really do!) and, on the other, the day before Thanksgiving ran stories on “racism without racists,” smearing the entire country (aka, their potential audience) without even knowing it — yet another variation on the old Marxist “false consciousness” trope. That puts them one up on NBC-Comcast-owned MSNBC, which only thinks of half the country as racist.

As Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal once posited, the most traumatic event in recent history for many on the left wasn’t September 11th, 2001, but losing to President Bush the previous year. Thus, from November of 2000 through November of 2008, with a brief time out for 9/11, until, as Charles Krauthammer wrote in August of 2004, the left’s pressure cooker finally exploded, the focus of the MSM’s intense rage was on one man in the White House. After a brief ceasefire from November of 2008 until the rise of the Tea Party in March of 2009, when it became increasingly obvious that their dreams that we will all be lockstep socialists for the next four decades (to mash-up the Washington Post’s Newsweek magazine and James Carville) weren’t likely to come true, the media transferred their anger from George Bush to the entire American people for failing his successor.

No, these aren’t journalists, these are Democratic operatives with bylines, as Glenn Reynolds would say. Sure, they’ve completely sacrificed their reputations as news gatherers, but they delivered up to eight years of President Obama, and trashed the lives of numerous American citizens. Not to mention keeping minorities entrapped in the narrative and entitlements. Or as Thomas Sowell once said, “The more people who are dependent on government handouts, the more votes the left can depend on for an ever-expanding welfare state.” And in return, votes, of course.

I assume from their perspective, the trade-off was worth it. And if that’s your baseline, then far from being a failure, their coverage of Ferguson was one of a string of glorious successes. We’ll have confirmation that’s how the MSM views it, when they repeat the pattern again.

And they will.

Related: Jerry Pournelle on “Civilizing Barbarians.”