Thursday, March 19, 2009

LEFT OUT. Often the controversies that roil the blogosphere are, to those happy souls who have but casual acquaintance with it, inexplicable. I can only imagine what a stranger to this wild frontier would make of the controversy over the "JournoList" online coffee-talks of lefty inside-media types like Paul Krugman and Matthew Yglesias. Some profess outrage that White House apparatchiks like Peter Orzag have deigned to talk to the Journos, which is just rich considering the access Bush gave to conservative media figures. But other rightbloggers are calling for names to prove that, in Patterico's words, "no purportedly objective journalist is a member of this apparently reliably left-wing group."

Apart from the McCarthyite whiff, this is just silly. What would it mean if, say, John F. Burns talked to these guys? Would that invalidate his reporting? And if so, would that include the stories conservatives have approved as well as the stories they have disapproved?

In recent days I've been reading story after story in the liberal media like "Treasury Learned of AIG Bonuses Earlier Than Claimed" (Time), "Dodd: I Was Responsible for Bonus Loophole" (CNN), "Main Street is Speaking Out. But Will Obama Listen?" (Washington Post), etc. With a minimum of effort, I've also heard stories about Obama's problems with the teleprompter and Gordon Brown's DVDs from other alleged socialist enablers of the President. If they're covering for him, they're doing a piss-poor job.

I've talked before about the conservative rage over institutions which they perceive to be beyond their control and hence call biased. But a listserv of writers from the New Yorker and The Nation is puny pickings beside Hollywood, academe, and all the other monoliths at which they daily shake their fists. They seem to be descending into an ever more paranoid state. Maybe if one of them saw Ezra Klein having a smoke with Eric Alterman he'd be unsettled for the rest of the day.

I notice that at the same time they continue to brag on the mighty power of their tea parties and whatnot. Mark Tapscott calls these gatherings "flash crowds," perhaps afraid that using the actual old-school nomenclature to which he evidently refers might subject him and his movement to ridicule. As he is in chest-beating mode, Tapscott betrays no awareness that by admitting the role of Ole Perfesser Instapundit and his immense reach in publicizing these demonstrations, he is obviating his own complaint that the MSM won't cover them -- as well as the complaints of his fellows that the liberal media plots to freeze them out. They've got their bullhorns, they've got their flash mobs, they've got their talk show radio and internet marching societies. I have it on good authority that they've even got Twitter. What's stopping them from taking over?


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