THE REFUSAL TO SPEAK! David Brooks refuses to speak. E. J. Dionne gives him cover: // link // print // previous // next //
FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2010
Olbermanns school for hate: Laura Bush has published a book. In a review in yesterdays New York Times, Michiko Kakutani makes it sound like the book is quite interesting, especially the early sections about Bushs early years in West Texas:
Pause now for pseudo-liberals to screech, But she didnt write it herself! You see, we pseudo-liberals just gotta hate, as tribalists always have, all the way back through prehistory. Tribal hate is destructivebut thrilling. It makes blood rush through veins.
Luckily, the modern pseudo-liberal has a top-rate school of hatred. At the start of Wednesdays Countdown, offering a pleasing tease, Sheik Olbermann helped young liberals see where review of this book should take them:
Laura Bush caused a fatal car crash when she was seventeen. Late in the show, the sheik dragged out the little corporate Brit he totes around in his hip pocket, and this pair of corporate hustlers taught us liberals that we should sneer at Bushs treatment of this fatal accident.
For the record, neither Olbermann nor his ratty friend had actually seen Bushs book. They were operating off an early news report about the book in Wednesdays New York Times. But heres how KO framed the discussion when he finally reached the topic. Perhaps you can see how pathetic this construction is:
First she tries to settle scores? Olbermann had no way to know if that description was accurateand it was certainly designed to teach us how to hate. Soon, he questioned Our Own Richard Wolffe about this troubling matter:
Olbermanns account is truly remarkable, given the account of this matter from which he and his hack staffers were working. Well offer you the full section Olbermann was working from, letting you see the skill with which a man of hate can hunt down a preferred text. This is the lengthy account in the New York Times, by Anahad OConnor, from which Olbermann captured his focus:
KOs hacks sifted that textand they spotted a way to let young liberals hate. You see, tribal hatred keeps viewers coming back for more. It puts millions in KOs pants pockets.
By the wayits very much like the 2000 press corps to be asking all sorts of questions about a car accident involving a candidates spouse when she was 17. Those ratty fixers rarely asked about the things which actually mattered. But good lord! How they did pursue matters like that! (Or so they tell us now.)
Olbermann is a wealthy man, a man who instructs young liberals in hate. There was no particular reason to discuss this book at all. But when he spotted those seven highlighted words, he knew where he could take you.
About that inquisitive press corps: The press corps from that 2000 campaign should all be rotting in prison, serving time on some sort of public impersonation rap. Just this week, we read a column, for the first time, which describes an event from that campaign. Given Our Own Richard Wolffes remarks, we think its worth excerpting.
In June 2000, Candidate Gore flew to the state of Washington, where he helped open a national monument. Seven years later, in a column in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Joel Connelly recalled the press corps focus that day. (Sorry, cant find a link to this column.) The ice he recalls from that icy 2000 flight refers to their hatred of Gore:
According to Connelly, Americas most prominent political journalists were focused on Gores bald spotthe bald spot to which Maureen Dowd had devoted a strong of columns. And sure enough! This was the opening paragraph of Sandra Sobierajs AP report, that very day, in real time:
Sobieraj started with Gores mussed hair, then suggested that he had been playing politics. (Heres a real-time piece from the Seattle Times, which turns straight to the bald spot.)
According to Our Own Richard Wolffe, these same public servants were asking and asking about the details of that old car wreck. Sadly, they couldnt get us voters the answers we desperately needed.
PART 4THE REFUSAL TO SPEAK (permalink): Lets return to a very important part of Thomas Friedmans latest column. In the following passage, Friedman comes close to defining an age:
In fact, much of our politics has been so designed over the past several decades. So has much of our journalism. We refer to the type of journalism whose noxious effects Brooks pooh-poohed last week.
Lets review some highlights:
In the 1990s, a string of shrieking journalists tried to convince the public that Bill and Hillary Clinton were perhaps serial murderers. (One such journalist was Rush Limbaugh. Another such journalist was Jerry Falwell, a frequent guest on cable.) You might regard these lunatic claims as a form of politics, though they often appeared in the form of journalism. But whatever you call them, these claims were designed to make people stupid, confused.
They did great harm to this country.
In the late 1990s, a gang of shrieking journalists concocted a two-year war against Candidate Gore. They invented streams of pseudo-facts about what a Big Crackpot Liar he was. These claims were designed to make people stupid, confused.
They did great harm to this country.
In the last few years, Glenn Beck has emerged as a major figure, screeching and shrieking, day after day, about the Communists surrounding Obama. Vast confusion and vast stupidity are involved in this project too.
What can we say about these efforts to make the public stupid, confused? We can surely make this statement: David Brooks has refused to confront them! Cowering in his ivory chamber, stuffing his salary down into his pants, the well-bred noble looks away from the problem Friedman defined. Indeed, how vast is Brooks myopia? In last Tuesdays column, he even suggested that a happy ending to this story has been found. Try to believe that he wrote this nonsense about a certain new study:
In Brooks panglossian world, these facts are supposed to show that the Internet really isnt lead[ing] to a more ghettoized, polarized and insular electorate. But this is an utterly ludicrous claim about our political world.
What is the truth about our worlda truth which involves cable TV and talk radio as well as the Net? Heres the truth: We now live in a dangerously ghettoized political world! Its a world in which liberals hear perfect smack from KO and the Brit he totes in his pocket, while conservatives have a very wide range of lunacies to select from. We live in a world where a cosmic nullity like S. E. Cupp is publishing gong-show books about religionand getting them reviewed in the Washington Post!
Every manner of pure stupidity is on display in what was once described as the marketplace of ideas. The fact that people click around on the web in no ways changes this fact, or the damage that is resulting.
Forty years ago, things were different. In the age of Murrow and Cronkie, only a narrow range of people were allowed at the top of the discourse. As a matter of theory, this isnt a great way to run a democracy. But in those days, screaming lunatics and cosmic fools simply werent allowed on the air. They werent given the presumed authority of positions high up in the national media. If average people wanted to hear things that were blatantly stupid, they had to go to a corner baror they had to seek out dusty corners of the published discourse.
Today, the loonies and fools are on TV. They get reviewed in the Post.
This started with Imus; then came Howard Stern. After that, they even let Limbaugh on the air. Soon, the Limbaugh imitators were all around. Now, the Limbaugh imitators are found on MSNBC too. Theyre not as bad as Limbaugh yetbut their skill sets are growing.
And in the midst of all this stupidity, there sits Brooks, suggesting that this really isnt happening.
Simple story: Princes like Brooks have ducked this story every step of the way. They refused to stand and tell the truth about the things Rush was doing. They refused to stand and tell the truth about the war against Gore. They glanced away from the Clinton murder claims; they didnt much discuss death panels. Just a guess: Life is simpler when they keep their heads downwhen they type columns which start with Cass Sunsteins wonderful wisdom, then tell us, only a few grafs later, that the Beck Effect isnt that bad.
People! Beck has been calling Sunstein a Communist for the past year. Millions of people see him do it and lack the first clue.
Just a guess: Brooks didnt know that.
Quite plainly, your nation is dying from Dumb. David Brooks will not address it. But then, the prince is in good company. E. J. Dionne wont go there either.
Go aheadsearch the archives for columns where these comfortable fellows have told you the truth about these matters. Youll have a very long search on your hands. During that time, Glenn Beck will tell his viewers ten times about Sunsteins vast love for Mao.
A nation cant survive this way. Isnt this already clear?