FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2014
The disintegration of the American discourse: We don’t know when the American discourse has ever been so depressing.
In fact, we don’t know when it was ever depressing at all. We’ve covered a lot of journalistic misconduct since 1998, when this site began. Only now has our national discourse struck us as truly depressing.
Why do we find the current discourse depressing? Because the liberal world is playing an active role in its disintegration.
In 1998, the liberal world was largely asleep in the woods. A person could imagine that we liberals might turn out to be giants, if we were ever roused.
Now, the corporate world is building “liberal” news sites. As they do, an unfortunate fact becomes clear: our intellectual capital is no more impressive than that on the other side of the aisle.
This morning, three examples:
Professor Cooper’s response: As we noted yesterday, someone on a crowded commuter train touched Professor Cooper’s bag, which was occupying a seat.
At the new pseudo-liberal Salon, the professor staged her weekly rant about this fiendish act. Evoking Rosa Parks, she said the incident “encapsulates the breadth of the battle against racism we have to fight in this country.”
(The man who touched her bag was white.)
In comments, hundreds of readers ridiculed Professor Cooper’s reaction. As if to prove our point about the liberal world’s lack of intellectual capital, the professor replied with the following tweet:
“So during the protests in Ferguson, white folk were beside themselves abt their property. I get indignant about my property, and I'm a jerk?”
Are you able to follow the logic there? In Ferguson, business owners of various races were upset because their businesses were getting burned to the ground.
At Salon, the professor was upset because some guy on a train moved her bag six inches so he could sit down. Can you see the connection?
When our intellectual leaders “reason” this way, we’re lower than the ditto-heads. Salon is publishing work of this type every day of the week.
Rothkopf watches BillO: This morning, we finally went for the bait. We read yesterday’s post at the new Salon about a recent O’Reilly segment.
The piece was written by Joanna Rothkopf, an “assistant editor at Salon, focusing on science, health and society.” Briefly but excitedly, Rothkopf discussed the appearance of Martin Luther King III on Wednesday night’s O’Reilly Factor.
Rothkopf prepped at Georgetown Day, graduated from Middlebury in 2012. She is very, very young—and her skill set and her judgment are both extremely limited.
Increasingly, our mainstream and our liberal news orgs feature writers like Rothkopf—writers who are very young and surprisingly unimpressive.
In this instance, Rothkopf wrote three paragraphs about the segment in question, then posted videotape of part of the segment. She introduced the videotape with this exciting blurb:
“Watch below for the most hateful segment in recent memory.”
What was supposed to be so “hateful” about the segment? In the context of the new Salon, there’s rarely a need to explain such things—and Rothkopf didn’t exactly try.
In fact, King and O’Reilly agreed on a wide array of points that night. Rothkopf edited her videotape so you wouldn’t see King semi-agree with the point O’Reilly had just expressed at the point where the hateful tape cuts off.
(King’s immediate reaction to O’Reilly presentation: “Well, I think that's a part of it, but that's not the entirety.”)
King and O’Reilly agreed on an array of points that night. Neither man speaks for us on the racial matters they discussed. But if this full segment was the most hateful thing this child has seen, she needs to get out much more.
Rothkopf’s post is very unimpressive. This dumbness was once the hallmark of the ditto-headed right. Increasingly, it’s our liberal hallmark too.
Back to Kristof’s perfect story: We keep trying to get back to Nicholas Kristof’s perfect story of forgiveness and redemption.
We think that column was fairly dumb too—and that it was designed to drive the kinds of wedges which keep us divided and conquered.
That said, the new Salon is actively trafficking The Dumb. We find it hard to believe that any good is going to come from this cynical corporate practice.
Salon is stunning every day. We can’t say that MSNBC’s work is gigantically better.
Postscript—omitted at Salon: Some of the comments by O'Reilly we weren't allowed to see:
“The cold truth is African-Americans have it harder than other ethnic groups in the USA. That is a fact. And anyone who denies it is not living in the real world.”
“It is certainly valid for President Obama to tell People magazine that he has experienced racism in his life. He and the first lady tell stories about white folks talking down to them. I believe every single African-American has experienced that.”
“A bad decision by a grand jury, such as the one in the Eric Garner case, does not mean the entire justice system is rigged.”
“Again, African-Americans do have it much tougher than whites. It's true some cops don't like blacks. It's true historical injustice has affected the black experience in America.”
Progressives can build on comments like those. At cynically tribal sites like Salon, such comments must be disappeared.