A roundup of great reads from this weekend.
We’re saturated with bad news, fake news, cheap analysis, third-rate opinions, and (snicker) “data journalism.” Hunter S. Thompson famously asked in a slightly different context, “Why bother with newspapers, if this is all they offer?” And that was in 1971, when the press was still riding high.
In the new issue of Imprimus, Michael Goodwin, chief political columnist for the New York Post, casts a cold eye toward the current journalistic landscape in the wake of the 2016 election.
Among the many firsts, last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility,” Goodwin says. “I have never seen anything like it. Not even close.
Meantime, Washington Examiner Editor Matthew Continetti laments (with his typical dry humor) this sad state of affairs in his latest column, headlined “They’re Wrong About Everything.” Everything? Yep. Everything.
“The fact is,” Continetti writes,
that almost the entirety of what one reads in the paper or on the web is speculation. The writer isn’t telling you what happened, he is offering an interpretation of what happened, or offering a projection of the future. The best scenario is that these theories are novel, compelling, informed, and based on reporting and research. But that is rarely the case. More often the interpretations of current events, and prophesies of future ones, are merely the products of groupthink or dogma or emotions or wish-casting, memos to friends written by 27-year-olds who, in the words of Ben Rhodes, “literally know nothing.” There was a time when newspapers printed astrology columns. They no longer need to. The pseudoscience is on the front page.
Speaking of groupthink and dogma, check out this freak show. Question for American Greatness fans: Are any of you planning to attend that thing? Slightly different question: will you be in the L.A./Pasadena area the weekend of July 29-30? We’re trying to gauge interest in putting together a small event. Let us know in the comments.
Also worth noting are new pay-to-play suspicions swirling around John McCain’s eponymously named foundation. The Daily Caller notes:
Conservative and liberal critics, however, believe the institute constitutes a major conflict of interest for McCain, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.
Critics worry that the institute’s donors and McCain’s personal leadership in the organization’s exclusive “Sedona Forum” bear an uncanny resemblance to the glitzy Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) that annually co-mingled special interests and powerful political players in alleged pay-to-play schemes.
Sounds a lot like the accusations that dogged The Clinton Foundation until the day it decided that the world could live without all of its good works. (After Hillary left office, natch.)
At Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield exposes the scam of Liberalism, Inc. ©. This flipside of Conservatism, Inc. shows the intellectual and moral bankruptcy at the heart of the liberal elite who pull the levers of power within the Democratic Party and its satellite operations. Greenfield looks at all the money the Dems have been able to raise on the heels of their defeat in November with the false promise of hopes for a series of special elections. Here is a key graph:
The special elections scam was set up to funnel money from angry lefties to the infrastructure. Some $40 million was burned through on a dead end program. But it went to all the right people on the left.
Ossoff’s campaign was the final leg of the scam. He was the least promising candidate of all the Dems in all the red state special elections. But his backers weren’t really trying to win in Georgia, but to raise money in California and then take it back to Washington D.C. And Ossoff was perfectly suited for that.
That’s why the most money was raised and spent on his campaign.
Like Bernie Sanders, he was never really supposed to win. He was sucker bait. And the suckers bit hard enough to make a special election in a conservative district the most expensive House race in history.
In other words, the elites within the Democratic Party are bilking money out of their donors to support their comfortable and cozy operation. Sounds familiar. I hope it continues.
But I wouldn’t be so sure it will. After all, we aren’t talking about Republicans here. And don’t misunderstand, it’s not that the Democrats will have any moral compunction about bilking their donors. It is rather likely, however, that at least one among them will take seriously the job of figuring out how they might return to power. Democrats remember, apparently unlike Republicans, actually like being in power.
Maureen Dowd’s piece in the New York Times in which she interviews Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) shows how they might go about it. This Ryan fellow (as opposed to ours) doesn’t seem intimidated by the prospect of winning. Further, he seems to understand a thing or two about how to do it. More important, he understands (again, as ours does not) that the Democrats are losing:
“It’s Trump four and us zero,” says the Democratic congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio. “I don’t want to admit that. When it comes out of my mouth, it bothers me. But Trump does robo calls. He tweets. He talks about the races. He motivates his base, and he moves the needle, and that’s a problem for us. Guys, we’re still doing something wrong here because a) he’s president and b) we’re still losing to his candidates.”
Ryan also understands why Democrats are losing and it comes down to ideological ram-rodding and, the bane of post-60s Democratic Party existence, identity politics. Their voters (imagine this!?) want to be persuaded as opposed to told what to think and they care more about issues that they share in common with most other voters than they do about the divisive questions of race, gender, religion, and the like.
Of course, it’s a big question whether seemingly sensible Democrats like Ryan can shed the millstone of identity politics that their elites want to keep around their necks. Conservative NeverTrumpers aren’t the only ones with “preenciples.”
Yet Ryan may not be the only Democrat to be awakening to actual political reality. Salena Zito takes note of one Stacey Evans who is a Democratic candidate for Governor in Georgia. Have a look at her powerful ad here and see if you don’t think that will present more of a challenge to Georgia Republicans than all of the money San Francisco and Hollywood leftists could throw at the state.
Republicans need to wake up and start paying attention to the political realities outside of Washington D.C.—you know, the ones that Trump’s keen insights in recognizing propelled them to power. Who knows? Maybe if they could get past the fact that they’ve been wrong about what makes voters tick even they might actually do something with their victory. Heck, they might even discover that they like it.