No, I am actually not David Roberts.
But in our current words-by-Kurt-Vonnegut-music-by-Philip-K-Dick universe, it is a genuinely surreal experience to crack open a real "paper" with a paid writing staff and read things for which many of us on the Left were cast out of polite society as untouchable pariahs for saying on our dirty, hippie "blogs" not so many years ago.
The real problem with the New York Times op-ed page: it’s not honest about US conservatismIt wants to challenge its readers, but not with the ugly truth.
By David Roberts @drvoxdavid @vox.com Mar 15, 2018, 9:30am EDT
...[New York Times editorial page manager James] Bennet clearly believes liberals live in a bubble. He wants to challenge them. It still hasn’t occurred to him to challenge them from the left, so he goes out looking for more conservatives.But what kind of conservatives are on offer at NYT?Consider, oh, David Brooks. His conservatism, of Sam’s Club affectation, fiscal conservatism, tepid social liberalism, and genial trolling of center-leftists at Davos — whom does it speak for in today’s politics, beyond Brooks?Or Ross Douthat. He is sporadically interesting, often infuriating, but above all, pretty idiosyncratic. His socially conservative “reformicon” thing — whom does it speak for in today’s politics, beyond Douthat?Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss are a familiar type of glib contrarian. Their opposition to Trump has given them undue credibility among Washington lefties, whom they relentlessly (and boringly) troll. But whom are they speaking for? What has the Never Trump movement amounted to?These writers are, to a (wo)man, alienated from the animating force in US conservatism, which is Trumpism. They command no divisions. They have nothing to do with what is going on in American politics today.They might serve the purpose of challenging liberal thinking, but they do not serve the purpose of exposing NYT readers to the people and the movement from which they are allegedly alienated.If Bennet wants to do that, he needs to be clear-eyed about what the right is today......So how many of these “true” conservatives did there turn out to be? Almost none! A few intellectuals and writers have jumped ship (David Frum, Bill Kristol, George Will), but the Wall Street Journal, Fox, Breitbart, and the rest have happily adapted to acting as state media. For all intents and purposes, Trump commands the support and loyalty of the GOP coalition.The ragged band devoted to the principles of conservative governing philosophy is in exile, with no home. It was, it turns out, almost entirely epiphenomenal to the movement; its roots were an inch deep....So what motivates this swell of right-wing support for Trump? At this point, though many people on all sides still refuse to acknowledge it, the evidence is overwhelming: It was cultural backlash, against immigrants, minorities, uppity women, liberals, and all the other forces seen as dislodging traditional white men from their centrality in American culture.
The people who support Trump have been embedded in a hermetically sealed right-wing media bubble for so long that they only know liberals as horrific caricatures and only experience politics as a war to save white Christian culture from its sworn enemies. They are exposed to endless lies and conspiracy theories designed to keep them in a frenzy, convinced that antifa is around the corner and Sharia law is imminent.
If the New York Times wanted to expose its readers to the motive force of contemporary conservatism, that’s the kind of stuff it would run.
But let’s be real, James Bennet is not going to run that stuff in the NYT...
Obviously, I agree with almost everything in the article, because it is virtually identical to what I have been writing on my own blog every day for the past 13 years. And saying out loud (often very loud) to friends for much longer than that.
What bothers me is where the author stopped short. He got the "who" and the "what" right. Screwed up on the "when" somewhat, considering that this madness has been loudly metastatizing inside the Republican Party for decades. But I was really let down in the "why" department. Because if the facts presented here are true -- and I certainly believe them to be -- then the indictment of The New York Times op-ed page also applies to the Washington Post op-ed page, which enthusiastically participates in the same farce. It is also an indictment of every major network Sunday morning political show. Every PBS political discussion program. Every public affairs program on NPR. And the overwhelming majority of cable news network programming.
And so the question remains, why? What is the motive behind a conspiracy this comprehensive to deny the existence of a calamity this huge? And remember, this conspiracy of conspicuous and malignant silence is not being carried out by dentists or farmers or long-haul truckers. It is being carried out by journalists: members of a professional which enjoys unique protections which the founders wrote into the Constitution so that our free press would be able to tell us the truth about what the rich and powerful are getting away with behind closed doors without far or favor.
I have my own theories derived from decades of careful observations, deduction, and refinement. And they hold up remarkably well.
But for all of that, I'm still just some guy in a cornfield in the middle of Middle America who is not David Roberts. I have no access to primary sources. No friends in the business who owe me a favor or will confirm or deny my informed speculations. There is almost no one in the media who has ever replied to an email from me and none who is ever going to spill the beans to me about exactly why the corporations who own the Beltway media have made a fetish out of protecting this particular lie at all costs. The closest I have gotten so far is when I asked Dave Weigel at Netroots Nation why in the nine billion names of God do people in his industry media still fete Newt Gingrich like a favorite uncle and put him on teevee as if he has something to offer other than unalloyed wingnut bullshit.
Mr. Weigel laughed and laughed and walked away.
Behold, a Tip Jar!