Even with electoral victories, we have to worry about being undermined by the media

The liberal media is a myth. It’s been bought and sold by the rich. Take a look at this critique of the editor of the NY Times editorial section, James Bennett.

By now, there’s a somewhat prolific repertoire of writings critical of Bennet’s tenure. The beef is primarily with the op-eds as opposed to the editorial page, which remains a champion of progressive values, especially on urgent issues like gun control, climate change and, of course, opposition to the policies pouring forth from the Trump White House. It’s not surprising that some of the most blistering assessments have come from anti-establishment precincts. Here’s Glenn Greenwald: “If your goal were to wage war on media diversity in all of its forms, and to offer the narrowest range of views possible, it would be hard to top the roster of columnists the paper has assembled . . . Beyond the obvious demographic homogeneity, literally every one of them fits squarely within the narrow, establishment, center-right to center-left range of opinion that prevails in elite opinion-making circles . . . None is associated with or supportive of the growing populist left or the populist right; they all wallow in the vague, safe, Washington-approved middle ground, members in good standing of the newly overt neoliberal-neoconservative alliance.”

It’s all got the same flavor, whether it’s the Sunday morning news shows or the op-eds of most of the elite newspapers: wealthy old white guys droning on to support failed ideas backed only by tradition. It’s agonizing to watch.

Charles Pierce forecasts the future.

You can almost taste the flopsweat from the elite political media. They’re warming things up in case there really is a Democratic wave in the fall. Experience tells us that, if that happens, the elite political media will immediately engage the dampers on anything a Democratic majority might want to do that is in anyway Democratic or (horrors!) liberal. Expeditions to the Trumpish hinterlands will depart immediately. Appeals to “bipartisanship” will deafen the gods. This is what happened in 2006, when the country revolted against George W. Bush and his many crimes and failures. This is what will happen next fall, too.

You’re seeing it with the hilarious contortions of James Bennet regarding how he’s putting together his Opinion staff, and this obvious ratings extravaganza is another indication that all the old tracks are being set down again. In 2006, this phenomenon helped with the efforts to toss the Avignon Presidency down the memory hole so that people wouldn’t notice how it was the logical end to 30 years of conservative politics. It’s going to take even more of an effort to do that with this disaster. No wonder they’re starting early.

I’m afraid that’s a safe prediction. Trumpistani’s win: we get stories about sad, stupid people who are unhappy that we don’t respect their self-harming opinions. Trumpistani’s lose: we get stories about sad, stupid people who are unhappy that they don’t get to inflict their self-harming opinions on the rest of us. The media will do whatever they can of the myth of the Golden Age of Trump, just as they’re resusciating George W Bush’s reputation, and as they’ve always enshrined the myth of St Ronald Reagan.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a reality-based media that was less interested in pampering the opinions of the yahoos who still buy their papers and more concerned with reporting facts? Bret Stephens should never have gotten a column, not because he’s conservative, but because he rejects the facts of climate change.


  1. jack16 says

    I have a book somewhere the title of which is “What Liberal Media?”. It is more than five years old!

  2. rpjohnston says

    What amazes me most is the stupidity of it in the business sense. The Right wing market is saturated. Not only saturated, but by superior products, in the minds of the people who buy that shit.

    There’s a virtually pristine market for left wing opinions, people are literally begging for it. Those who tap into it, like Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann, see their ratings soar. And, of course, if the Right wins everything except official state media will be put to the sword.

    The NYT is scrambling rat poisoned crumbs from the RW table when there’s a feast on the left. A high school sophomore halfway through a business class could run the company better.

  3. microraptor says

    rpjonston @4:

    And they’re simultaneously wondering why readership of mainstream newspapers is going down the tubes.

  4. antigone10 says

    My final project in introduction to journalism was a paper explaining that “liberal media” was a myth. It was footnoted. It was a 45 minute presentation.

    It didn’t seem to matter. Everyone in my class still “felt like” the media had a liberal bias.

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a reality-based media that was less interested in pampering the opinions of the yahoos who still buy their papers and more concerned with reporting facts?

    What do you expect when you have freedom of speech/press/religion? If you give people a choice, they will always make the wrong one.

    Time for the grown ups to take that choice away and make the racist, sexist, homophobic, capitalist, theist children accept reality. Accept it, or be punished.

  6. leerudolph says

    Akira MacKenzie @7: Goodness. I suppose it was inevitable that eventually a Social Injustice Warrior would show up in this thread. But such a pure example! I stand in awe.

  7. ethereal says

    It’s “Trumpistanis”, without the apostrophe. Please use good grammar when being appallingly racist, too.

  8. Pseudonym says

    “newly overt neoliberal-neoconservative alliance”? Give me a break. When have neoconservatives not been neoliberal? Neoliberal is an actual term with a meaning, not just an insult for leftist-cosplaying crypto-libertarians like Greenwald to throw at establishment Democrats.

  9. Pseudonym says

    Rat Master @2: “The wealthiest precincts in the country are represented by Democrats more than Republicans. Surveys of individuals with various income levels show that rich people are turning democratic in their voting”
    It depends on one’s definition of rich. Educated upper-income professionals and some tech billionaires are leaning more Democratic, but finance wealth is still Republican. And policy-wise the GOP is still the party of using white racial resentment to enhance the wealth of the super-rich.

    “The Democrats get huge amounts of money from super rich donors.”
    With unlimited donations being essentially unregulated now, and with the level of wealth inequality in this country, of course they do. The Democrats at least still want to pursue campaign finance reform. Unilateral disarmament isn’t a particularly promising strategy.

  10. Pseudonym says

    Akira MacKenzie @7: Freedom of speech/press/religion is what allows an outspoken atheist to openly criticize a prominent and politically powerful corporation without much fear of retaliation. Dumbass.

  11. antigone10 says

    It also ignores that though there are some wealthy people who vote Democrat, the majority of poor people still do too.

  12. fffabio says

    You can’t argue with Crazy and Greedy. That’s why Progressive and Responsible always get a boot in their face and then they even have to apologize to the boot.

  13. rrradam says

    Since I like levity… This article is both VERY funny yet also very accurate:
    NOTE – Do not read this unless you are in a place where you can literally laugh out loud.

    I have since tried to maintain the following mantra when considering trying to reason with unreasonable people:
    “If it will take me longer to compose my arguments than it will for you to flippantly dismiss them, I am wasting my time.”

    But, I often digress, and try anyway. =/