Pretty much it's gotten to the point that if the producers of the bobblehead shows stopped inviting known liars on their shows and the editors of op-ed pages stopped giving column inches to known liars and reporters of all stripes stopped using known liars as sources, then Republicans and "conservatives" would disappear from the news.
And you and I might think that's as it should be.
But without Republicans to flatter and fawn over and lie down and roll over for, how would the members of the Village Media prove they aren't liberal?
Which I'm convinced they think is their most important job. Proving they aren't liberal.
I'm not sure why it's so important to them to prove they aren't liberals, especially since the people they seem most determined to prove it to are the liars they flatter and fawn over and lie down and roll over for. Why would people who work in a profession supposedly devoted to identifying and reporting the truth, or at least, the facts, want to have approval of liars who see it as they're job to, well, lie?
Access? The liars are out of power. Access now only gets you access to their lies not to the corridors of power. I'd say this is a habit they got into during the Bush Administration and now they can't shake it plus they're just too lazy to update the contact lists on their smart phones, if I didn't know that proving they aren't liberal is a line to their job description they added during the Reagan Administration but perfected during the Clinton Administration. So they've kept it up for a generation now through periods when the corridors of power they want access to were patrolled by Democrats.
Some of the Villagers are just plain corrupt. They don't want to offend Republicans because that's where the money is. They're afraid of losing their lucrative speaking gigs and their invitations to the best parties. They're afraid of costing a significant other or a child or a friend a high-paying job. They're afraid of doors closing when it comes time for them to quit journalism and seek a job that pays real money.
But I can't help thinking that for a lot of them the reason they're desperate to prove they aren't liberal is that they hate liberals and they hate liberals because they hate themselves and against all evidence they're convinced they are liberals.
What they are are establishmentarian types comfortable with the status quo who don't hate gay people and want their wives and daughters and selves to have access to abortion and accept it more or less as a given that poor people's children probably shouldn't be left to starve in the streets, provided it doesn't cost too much money to feed them and move them inside at least during the winter. And they usually vote for Democrats. All of that is enough to make them practically Communists in the eyes of the Republican elites they're trying to prove they aren't liberal to. But nevermind.
They think they're liberals and they don't like liberals because they've adopted their own version of the cockeyed syllogism Woody Allen posited in Love and Death. Which starting with the premise that all the ancient Greeks were homosexuals went:
A. Socrates was a man.
B. All men are mortal.
C. All men are Socrates.
From which he concluded that "all men are homosexual."
The Villagers' syllogism goes:
A. We're a pack of elitist sissies.
B. We're liberals.
C. All liberals are elitist sissies. Eww.
If you start with this then it's not that they're trying to prove to the world they're not liberals, it's that they're trying to prove to themselves they're not sissies, but of course they do that in the way sissies tend to do it, by becoming bullies and beating up on other supposed sissies or if they can't work up the guts for that by hero-worshipping other bullies who'll do the beating up on other sissies for them.
So, while the rest of watch in horror and dismay as the liars come on and go cheerfully spreading their lies and think how are they allowed to get away with lying like that, the Village Insiders aren't thinking about truth vs. lies or facts vs. malicious fictions. They're thinking "Haw haw!" as their bully-heroes stuff liberals into lockers, take their milk money, and give them wedgies.
They're thinking "haw haw" as they cheerlead for political bullies who start wars that kill lots of brown people and push policies that run poor people out of their homes and jobs and deny them decent medical care and otherwise push the voiceless and the powerless around.
Ok, maybe I'm just being mean. Maybe they aren't a pack of self-loathing elitist sissies. Maybe they're just a pack of lazy goofs who've taken on jobs they enjoy only for the celebrity conferred and not for the actual work required.
If they were to decide as a group not to give known liars any more print space or airtime, then David Frum would collapse from exhaustion trying to keep up as the only conservative source for journalists in DC.
There'd be nobody else to invite on the bobblehead shows but Democrats and Liberals, who might be liars or who might be so wrong about things that they're as good as lying, but to prove that would require actual homework and engagement with policy and the issues.
It would require treating politics as a serious matter and the governing of the nation as a life and death business with consequences that change the lives of real human beings. It would mean giving up their complacent, comforting, corrupting habit of treating everything that happens in Washington as a game.
But that might cause them to seem to take sides. It might open them up to the accusation that they are liberals!
So much easier to just divide every issue into a contest between two teams and then let the teams sputter and shout at each other while you sit back and keep score.
Oh and think "haw haw" every time a known liar trash talks a liberal and makes him cry foul.
Satirically related: Michael Berube interviewed the American Mainstream Media about what they see as their job in these crazy times.
CA: Pardon me? People are threatening violence because a Democratic administration might be considering public health insurance? That’s not exciting, that’s lunacy. Why doesn’t anybody explain the “public option” to these nutcases?
AMM: With all due respect, Michael, that’s not really our job.
AMM: No, really. We’re not in the business of pushing some President’s agenda, unless it’s a war. We’re in the business of reporting what people say. And if some people say that Obama’s plan will feed your grandma to the wood chipper, and some people happen to disagree with that, then it’s our responsibility to report both sides fairly. That’s all part of democratic debate, and we’re proud to play our part!
CA: So, so you’re actually saying it’s your job to report complete falsehoods without challenging them?
AMM: That’s basic journalistic ethics, yes. Besides, even if it was our job to choose sides, which it isn’t, we’re just not well equipped to handle this kind of thing. Health care involves very serious policy issues and complicated stuff about money, and everyone knows math is hard and policy is boring. So we try to concentrate on what we do best.
CA: Which is?
AMM: Determining who won the week!
Read the whole post.
Shrilly related: Dean Baker explains to a baffled Howard Kurtz how the liars keep getting away with their lying even after their lies have been shown up as lies. Simply put, the media imposes no penalty for lying!
Hat tip to Skippy.