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The Old Scout Gets Older

Lileks has the thankless job of once again deconstructing his fellow ten-thousand-lakes scribe:

It's the usual Keillor twaddle - a humorless, scattershot ramble of run-on sentences and unsourced assertions, and I didn't see anything that set it apart from the dozens of sour broadsides that preceded it. He doesn't like Sarah Palin, although if she was on the Obama ticket he would have found a few nice words before falling silent on the matter, just as the wisdom and august judgment of Biden seems to hover beneath his radar. He is also angry about Republican economics, because, as he stated in a previous column, they deregulated everything and caused the whole mess. In his imagination, sixteen GOP Senators dressed like the fellow from the Monopoly game took a break from playing polo - with slaves dressed up as horses, of course, ha ha, capital idea, Smidley - and somehow did something which was totally unrelated to the sub-prime mortgage issue. I suspect he believes that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd woke nightly from sheet-soaking nightmares in which the loan standards were loosened just a bit too much, and every time they went to the office intent on fixing this mess, gol dang it, John McCain dragged them into a coatroom and administered ether. Amazingly strong fellow.

It doesn't matter what Clinton signed; it doesn't matter that Bush and McCain tried to raise alarms; there's not an jot of responsibility on Keillor's side, because if anything goes wrong it can be traced to the one simple fact that shapes his world: the other side is composed of despicable, cowardly, dishonest, cynical bastards still upset that Jolson's reputation is sullied by his use of blackface. On his side: angels. The man makes a Manichean look like an agnostic Unitarian.

You have to ask yourself how the media would cover a long-standing association between John McCain and a fellow who, in the hurly-burly-mixed-up-folderol of the Civil Rights Era, went a little too far and burned some Black churches, or led a group devoted to blowing up abortion clinics. Mind you, he was never convicted - technicalities, which was ironic, because Conservatives hate those - but he went on to serve on school boards and charity foundations that advocated for States' Rights, an issue dear to conservative hearts. Imagine the deets are the same - cozy fundraisers, serving on the same boards, McCain's name on Bomber Bob's memoir. Add to that some other parallels - say, McCain attended a church that praised a fellow who believed black people were descended from the devil, and believed Jesus was an Aryan.

John McCain wouldn't be the nominee, and if by some chance that happened, this association would be draped around his neck every day.

You may disagree with this, but I don't think I've attempted any deceit here. Deceit would entail lying about what Ayers did, and insisting they had a connection when there was none. You could say it's almost deceitful to say there's nothing there whatsoever, but that's up for debate. But you can imagine Keillor writing 14 pre-election columns that never mentioned the McCain friend who tried to blow up a Planned Parenthood clinic. I think it would matter, and it wouldn't be "desperation" to point it out.

Of course, Keillor's been full of this nonsense for years. What's really appalling is that the so-called "objective" media have given up the pretense this year.


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Anonymous wrote:

I think he's just envious that, as Minnesota's second least funny humorist, it never occurred to him to run for the Senate this year, or that Minnesota's least funny humorist beat him there first.

The next step will probably be for the MSM to come out in open opposition to the whole idea of "impartiality". If McCain wins, the MSM will be out to destroy him at all costs. If Obama wins, they will grovel at his feet. Either way, the pretence of impartiality will become impossible to sustain and opinion polls will show a steady increase in the percentage of Americans who don't believe it at all.

Therefore the MSM will realise that they need to discredit the concept of journalistic impartiality in order to retrospectively justify their actions and salvage some credibility before the 2010 mid-terms. The argument will probably go like this:

(1) Nobody can be truly impartial, so it's an impossible standard
(2) The highest duty of the journalist is to be an advocate for justice, which inevitably means taking sides
(3) Impartiality prevents a journalist from doing this, so it only serves to protect the existing power structures from proper scrutiny
(4) Therefore the "biased" journalist is upholding the highest ideals of his or her profession while the "impartial" journalist is betraying them
(5) Therefore all the journalists who engaged in biased reporting while pretending to be impartial were actually heroic dissidents, resisting the hegemonic jackboot of "impartiality"

By 2012 the conventional wisdom will be that only hicks and rubes could believe that media impartiality is a good thing.

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on October 20, 2008 5:14 AM.

Conflicted was the previous entry in this blog.

A Potemkin Airplane? is the next entry in this blog.

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