On C-SPAN this weekend was a talk by Evan Sayet on “Liberals and the Media.” What I found most interesting in the speech was his reference to an article by Bret Stephens of the WSJ.
Stephens characterizes the cumulative effect of MSM reportage as…. useless. He deduces this uselessness as function of liberal media bias. Given that liberal theories of the world are almost always wrong, and given that our Culture has been dominated by such a wrongheaded worldview, then when a seismic world event happens (that, say, conservatives saw coming for years), there is the consequent surprise. Sayet, paraphrasing Stephens, provided some compelling examples, including:
- For those of us old enough to remember, recall how surprised you were in 1989, when the Soviet Union ‘suddenly’ collapsed. After all, how could a world ‘superpower’, in the matter of a week, go from “tied with the U.S. in #1 status” to complete collapse. Our surprise at this turn of events was a function of the decades of MSM reportage we’d been acculturated to: that the USSR was much stronger than it in fact was, that there were no longstanding, simmering, ethnic tensions within the Soviet Union; that the inherent economic contradictions of the communist model were inevitably imploding, etc.
- Similarly was our surprise, in the days and weeks after 9/11, to learn that radical Islam was spreading around the globe, manifesting itself in increasingly violent, bloodthirsty anti-Western sentiments. Why? Decades of MSM reportage which ignored reality-based ‘clash of civilization’ theories, indirectly promulgated ‘religion of peace’ motifs, etc.
To this one could add the apocryphal story of Pauline Kael’s reaction to Nixon’s victory, the cultural elite’s shock at the spontaneous rise of the Tea Party, the European cultural elite’s current shock at the rise of politically viable ‘neo-Right’ parties in their countries.
These same cultural elites – and their plebe minions – will someday be equally surprised when ‘neo-Right’ political viability emerges in the U.S.