The Media's Potemkin Village Starts to Topple

Wednesday night's CNBC Republican debate turned out to be a tussle between the three left-leaning "moderators" and the candidates on the main stage, most of whom can safely be described as center-right. And finally -- thanks largely to the huge ratings bonanza that is Donald Trump -- the American people got a chance to see the true, ugly, partisan, smug, self-righteous face of what we used to call journalism, but now is simply political advocacy employing computers and television cameras under the shield of the First Amendment.

Ted Cruz punched the hardest when he went straight after the moderators: "This is not a cage match," he snarled. But of course it was a cage match and never was intended to be anything else. The entire Leftist media operation cannot imagine it being anything but; for them, a group of Republicans needs to be confronted, challenged and if possible humiliated, while a group of Democrats needs to be cosseted and caressed. It's not that it's a deliberate plot, mind you, but rather is the result of a world view that states there is now only one side to a story, and that is the Left side. And all right-thinking people agree.

It may difficult for conservatives, who often smell a conspiracy where there is none, to accept this. Surely the lockstep, if not to say the actual socialist goosestep, of the Left can only be the result of a malevolent plot to crush conservatism. Now, crush conservatism they most certainly want to do, but for decades they've gotten away with it because -- and this is important, so pay attention -- there has been no effective opposition within the ranks of reporters and editors. Conservatives have simply taken themselves out of the game, and largely through attrition.

As a result, the journalists at the national level are rarely exposed to any kind of contrarian or oppositional thinking when it counts -- in the story conferences.  Most civilians have no idea what these are or how, outside of the movies, they actually function, but during my 25-year stint in the mainstream media -- including sixteen years at Time magazine at the end of its glory days, they were places to present story ideas, get criticism on the spot from editors and colleagues, and hash out the day's top news qua news.

But for lack of any pushback, the "progressive" mindset (cultivated at the university level and reinforced by the old-school ties that operate to a degree among top journalists that would amaze you), the Big Seven -- the three nets, Time and Newsweek, plus the New York Times and the Washington Post -- that set the agenda for the rest of the country was pretty much the epicenter of the famous "bubble" we hear so much about.  It's also worth noting that, even today, most of the senior figures and marquee writers in the media establishment not only know each other, they socialize, live in many of the same neighborhoods, work within blocks of each other, have summer houses in the same place, sleep together, and occasionally even marry each other. It's an incestuous as you feared.

But not a conspiracy. Rather think of the MSM as a small Scandinavian village, so far untouched by "diversity." Since everybody knows each other, and follows the same rules, life is calm and good. It's only the outsiders -- those conservatives -- who disrupt the natural harmony. Like foreign bodies, they must be mobilized against and expelled by the progressive immune system.  To quote a famous Leftist, Benito Mussolini, the founding father of Fascism, "everything within the State, nothing outside the State."

Now here's the thing...