When I say that substantial parts of the media are the New Reactionaries, I am not joking. That’s a heavy accusation, but I feel I have earned the right to make it because I have been a member of that media all of my adult life (longer than any other blogger that I know of). Yes, I was almost always an “imaginative writer” of novels and screenplays, but virtually all of those fictions had political content. I have no intention of disavowing any of them. Indeed I am proud of them. But somehow I have grown and changed over the years while many of my colleagues have not. Why is a big question, which I will deal with elsewhere (a book), but the results of this inability to change on the part of many have turned them into a new form of unconscious reactionaries. And like most reactionaries of the past, they are quite willing to lie and distort for what they consider a larger good.
Sometimes they are caught in their prevarications, as with yesterday’s now vanished “booing” allegations by the Associated Press, and sometimes they attempt to tell us that what any intelligent adult would know is important is unimportant (as with John Kerry’s lies about Cambodia on the floor of the US Senate), but the reactionary behavior remains.
An interesting (but small) example is how I have been distorted. In tomorrow’s Newsday there will be a number of quotes from those who blogged at the Republican Convention. While crossing the country yesterday, I received two urgent emails from a gentleman named Seifert from that newspaper. My email box gets rather clogged and, despite dodgy WiFi connections, I could easily have missed them, but I did manage to read them. They asked permission to excerpt my blog, without providing the excerpts they had in mind (a normal and professional thing to do – I would have). I smelled a rat, but gave them permission to do so as a test. And guess what? They chose the most anti-Bush remarks I made, highlighting my firm opposition to the President on the social issues. You would have to read these excerpts very closely to realize that I unequivocally support Bush in the election and would no more vote for John Kerry for President in an era of terrorism than for a protester on Seventh Avenue. (I will provide the Newsday link tomorrow, if it is available.)
Interesting times indeed. If the latest poll numbers are in any way predictive of this election, if Bush wins by five or more points, the big loser will not be the Democratic Party (it can realign like all political parties), but the mainstream media. They will have more trouble because their level of self-understanding and therefore self-criticism is practically non-existent.
UPDATE: Michael Totten amplifies.