Big Government makes for bad journalism. As I like to point out whenever someone like David Frum gushes over “moderates,” there is no meaningful way to be moderate when a carnivorous super-State is chowing down on huge portions of the private sector, while dismissing bedrock Constitutional rightswith an irritated wave of its hand. You either resist the onslaught of the State with all your might, or bear passive witness to its expansion.See also this NeoNeocon piece.
At this moment in American history, there is no functional difference between a genuine “centrist” and Dave Weigel’s right-wing “ratf**kers.” If you think you should be allowed to keep your own medical insurance, and see your own doctor, you’re taking an extreme partisan stance. If you don’t think the government should be able to revoke the First Amendment or due process rights of private corporations at its convenience, you are a declared enemy of the State.
For the same reason, journalists can only make the thinnest pretense of objectivity when covering the super-State. Merely reporting honestly on its past and current activities would qualify a journalist for associate membership in the Ratf**ker Pack. As my Green Room colleague Karl points out, some of Weigel’s most intellectually offensive emails concerned the kind of organized narrative manipulation that appears to have been the true purpose of JournoList all along. In the immense political struggle now under way, there is no room on the sidelines.
Mainstream media figures want to pose as friendly partners in an intelligent conversation, but the size and power of the government they cover makes it impossible to analyze dispassionately. In their hearts, journalists really hate the idea of seeing that exciting mega-government torn down, or they believe it’s impossible to do so. That’s why they see the new breed of aggressive, Tea Party-endorsed Republicans as either enemies or lunatics. It doesn’t help that they’re well aware of ongoing statist efforts to control or subsidize the media. Even those reporters who aren’t True Believers are reluctant to earn a spot on the enemies list of an eternally triumphant statist elite.
It’s striking how much venom Dave Weigel directed at people who never insulted him personally. In the pressure cooker of an overwhelming, and collapsing, centralized government, the personal and political are fused into a single identity. Asking uncomfortable questions is an act of rebellion, and effective resistance to the will of the elite is a declaration of war. Media operatives, who eat and drink politics with every meal, are just a little further down the spiral of bitterness and desperation that awaits us all.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
"Big Government Makes For Bad Journalism"