Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ingraham + Greenwald = Ingwald


Bolshie Freedom Troll, Glenn Greenwald, has finally arrived at the place where he has been headed all along.

An honored "guest" on The Laura Ingraham White Supremacy Advertiser Death-Spiral Hour.



Yes, wedged in there between Byron York dry-humping Donald Trump's leg and Michelle Malkin screeching about the horror of people being held accountable for the things they say, there you will find Mr. Greenwald, holding forth on the need for everyone to stop being so mean and snitty and holding-people-to-account-for-what-they -say-ish on social media.

It has been quite a journey for ol' Glenn, someone whose, just five minutes ago, regarded any social media slight, real or imagined, as a reason to go completely ballistic.

Someone who relentlessly parsed every semicolon of anyone Not Of The Body and always, always, always adjudged them to be drooling, jackbooted, fascist Obot enemies of Liberty who were obviously operating entirely in bad faith.

And then would come the Spleenwald Horde to punish the impure like me.

Someone who has since purged 27,000 of his old Tweets --

-- and starting showing up like a long-lost lodge brother on the Trump News Network.

Because as Sun Tzu once wisely noted, if you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.

Or you'll see on Fox News, making a complete farce of everything they once claimed to believe in.  Either as Tucker Carlson's wacky sidekick or on the most boycotted show in the whole Fox News lineup, making nicey-nicey the Eva Braun Nose.

Funny old world.

Contributions to the "God damn it, droneglass was right again" swear jar can be made below.


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Captain Beefheart versus Bolt Vanderhuge


"Because in Mr. Sullivan's world, 'Liberal' does not refer to a political ideology, but to an impoverishing political ghetto from which no amount of 'being right about everything' will permit you to achieve escape velocity. In Mr. Sullivan's world, 'Liberal' is a terrible disease that afflicts losers who do not get invited to spout their views on teevee." 
-- driftglass, December 2009

Three years ago, the official Vox magazine line on Mr. Andrew Sullivan was that he was "the most influential public intellectual of the last 20 years":
How Andrew Sullivan changed America

Who is the most influential public intellectual of the last 20 years?

This designation should go to someone who actually has helped change the world, rather than just changing lots of minds. It also should go to someone who has embodied key trends of the time, noting that for both standards I am focusing on the United States.

Based on those standards, I am inclined to pick Andrew Sullivan, who is most recently in the news for his announcement that he is quitting after fifteen years of blogging.

Three years later, Ezra Klein has suddenly discovered that Andrew Sullivan is actually more of a mealy-mouthed fraud who continually and radically reinvents the history of the United States and the history of Christianity to comport with his woozy, myopic, Tory sense of How Things Should Be:
The political tribalism of Andrew Sullivan
Sullivan’s essay on political tribalism shows he’s blinded by his own.
Which means I'll probably have to pack up my shack at the edge of respectability and move on down the road.

Again.

Well, I've had a good run.

You see, since blogging's earliest days I've been writing about the "Andrew Sullivan" which Ezra Klein discovered only yesterday and which would never have risen to Vox's editorial attention had Mr. Sullivan not decided to take a gratuitous shot at Mr. Klein during his long, weepy disquisition on Very Important Things Like the Meaning of Fucking Life You Assholes.
I knew when we launched Vox that there would be criticisms I didn’t anticipate, but I’ll admit, I never foresaw one of them being that writing explainers doesn’t satisfyingly replace the role of religion in people’s lives.

Yet here we are:
But the banality of the god of progress, the idea that the best life is writing explainers for Vox in order to make the world a better place, never quite slakes the thirst for something deeper.
Rats. Foiled again!

That’s Andrew Sullivan writing in New York magazine, and while the column caught my attention for that line, which I will now have needlepointed on a pillow, the broader piece is wrong in more important, less amusing, ways...
So now I expect my little beanfield of serious Sullivan critiques will be overrun for awhile in an extended, low-stakes, high-drama, clickbait slapfight among privileged, cloistered Beltway insiders:
What I am interested in is American politics, and in this essay, Sullivan offers a nostalgic analysis of our current problems that has become popular among a certain class of pundits — David Brooks calls Sullivan’s essay a shoe-in for his annual Sidney Awards — but that doesn’t hold up to the slightest scrutiny, and in fact displays the very biases it laments.
Were I a betting man, I would lay down a couple of small wagers on the following propositions.

One, this will end in a Bill Maher show rapprochement between the antagonists.

Two, once all the Beltway sound and fury signifying nothing has passed, nothing will have changed.

Because there is a Club...

Meanwhile, for you Future Historians, here is a thing I wrote a very long time ago:
Yes, Mr. Sullivan, your objections emphatically do make you a "radical leftist", because in the hands of the shitkicker demagogues of the Right like Malkin, phrases like "radical leftist" have long since lost any meaning. They are just the pejorative-du-jour, pulled from a random grab-bag of Limbaugh-words -- socialist, elitist, feminist, Marxist, anti-American, compassionate, cut-and-run, surrender, Liberal, extremist, collectivist, queer, Communist, fascist, atheist, humanist, "New York", "San Francisco", “Chicago”, French, European -- that each used to have discrete and very different meanings, but are now bleated interchangeably by the Pig People and their overlords at anyone with a softer heart than Curtis LeMay and less imperial ambitions than Genghis Khan.

But then again, if Mr. Sullivan simply outed himself as a Liberal, he would instantly lose his place in the food-chain, wouldn’t he? Because like that microscopic number of self-loathing black Conservatives who make their daily bread by serving the interests of the Southern Bigot Party, more than any other single factor, it was always the sheer gawking, oddballness of the brazen self-delusion inherent in being the gay champion of the Christopath Homophobe Party that put Mr. Sullivan in the spotlight.

That was what gave him his unique and lucrative cache.

After all, Liberal gay political writers are a dime a dozen, and so in a strange way we find Andrew Sullivan locked in the same kind of mortal combat over labels -- and for exactly the same reasons -- as Roy Cohn's character in "Angels In America" as he adamantly insisted -- even as he was dying of AIDS -- that he was not a "ho-mo-sex-shall".


(Not Safe For Work)

Because, Cohn reasoned, homosexuals were nobodies; losers who had zero clout and “in 15 years cannot pass a pissant anti-discrimination bill from City Council.” And since Roy Cohn could get the President of the United States (or his wife) on the phone -- could take the man he was fucking to the White House and make Ronald Reagan smile at him and shakes his hand -- it therefore followed that Roy Cohn could not possibly be a homosexual.

That unlike every other person in his position on Earth, Roy Cohn was a heterosexual man, who fucked around with guys.

Likewise, even though Mr. Sullivan now, belatedly comes to believe much of what Liberals believe and finally deigns to notice a horde of grotesque truths about his Conservative Movement about which Liberals have been sounding the alarm for 30 years, Andrew Sullivan nonetheless looks us all straight in that eye and argues that he could not possibly be some mere Liberal.

Because in Mr. Sullivan's world, "Liberal" does not refer to a political ideology, but to an impoverishing political ghetto from which no amount of "being right about everything" will permit you to achieve escape velocity. In Mr. Sullivan's world, "Liberal" is a terrible disease that afflicts losers who do not get invited to spout their views on teevee.

Mr. Sullivan regularly receives such largess, therefore he must not be a Liberal.

He instead must be the lone member be of some rare and singular new species; some miraculous form of haploid political minotaur.

Because if he is not something spontaneously-generated and utterly sui generis, then he is just another Lefty-Come-Very-Lately, showing up at our door at 3:00 A.M., 20 years late and trailing toxic baggage behind him like a Halley Comet.

And who in the world would pay him to do his little dance then?




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Monday, December 10, 2018

Fact Checking's Newest Category: Cartoonish Super Lying


One of my less charitable memories from the Age of Dubya was just how infuriatingly far out of shape everyone in the media and virtually every elected official was willing to torque themselves in order to avoid calling Bush a liar.  The Mouth Wash blog helpfully compiled some of the more tortured examples here:
This country has the willies when it comes to accusing the president of lying, no matter how blatant the lying. Instead, the mainstream media and our politicians give us euphemisms for the accusation, lots and lots of euphemisms. If you listen for the euphemisms, you’ll soon be impressed that we find so many different ways to accuse the president of lying without actually using words such as “lies,” “lying,” or “liar.”

For instance, we read in the media that a blatant lie is a “now-disavowed claim.” We hear of “false” and “farfetched” accusations. Instead of calling Bush a “liar,” the media tells us of “questions about his credibility” and “the flap over Bush’s assertion.”

Intelligence is alternately “discredited,” “dubious,” “disputed,” “tainted,” “flawed,” “suspect,” “questionable,” and “faulty,” as if the intelligence itself is at fault, not those who “manipulated” and “hyped” it. Maybe misplacing the blame makes us feel a little better about the “falsehoods.”

We are told about “misstatements,” “false pretenses,” and “an assertion not approved by the CIA.” We read of “deficiencies,” “distortions,” “questions about prewar intelligence,” and “lapses by President Bush.” What we aren’t told is what actually happened—that for seven months George W. Bush and his gang fed us daily helping of “lies.” Why is everyone so afraid of that word?

Politicians get in the euphemism game as well. Instead of just saying “he lied,” Sen. Carl Levin gets long-winded. “The key question is whether administration officials made a conscious and a very troubling decision to create a false impression about the gravity and imminence of the threat that Iraq posed to America.” Like many others, he’s a nervous and talkative man when it comes to presidential lies.

Sen. Chuck Hagel refers to one of Bush’s lies as “another example of a very serious inconsistency.”

“They hyped it,” Joe Biden said on Meet the Press, which is a gentle way of saying, “They lied out their asses.” Politicians evidently use euphemisms to protect one another, or maybe it’s that they fear retribution from Bush. After all, he’s known for being good at that.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller says that Bush’s statements were “potentially misleading” and wants to know if we were “misled.” Rockefeller is evidently afraid to point out what we all already know, so he phrases the mild accusation as a question. A euphemism inside a euphemism. That earns bonus points, for those of you scoring at home.

Sen. Dick Lugar was evidently in a gentle, euphemistic mood when he said, “The basic assumptions … simply were inadequate to begin with.”

Some politicians get closer to calling the lies “lies.” Al Gore recently told us of a “a systematic effort to manipulate facts.” Sen. John Edwards talked about the “myths perpetrated by the Bush administration.”...
It was maddening.

And right up to the very end of the 2004 campaign, while John Kerry's presidential ambitions were being bulldozed onto the ash heap of history by the full-on, knives-out campaign style of Karl Rove, Matthew Dowd and the Swiftboat Liars...


...Kerry was still trying to play by the dainty, Beltway rules in which Democrats are never permitted to raise their voices or flat-out call out a liar as a liar. 

This was one of the more terrifying milestones along that long, dark road to Donald Trump.

And now, 14 years later, Republican lying all the time has become so brazen and endemic that The Washington Post has had to invent a new category just to contain it:

Meet the Bottomless Pinocchio, a new rating for a false claim repeated over and over again

...
Trump’s willingness to constantly repeat false claims has posed a unique challenge to fact-checkers. Most politicians quickly drop a Four-Pinocchio claim, either out of a duty to be accurate or concern that spreading false information could be politically damaging.

Not Trump. The president keeps going long after the facts are clear, in what appears to be a deliberate effort to replace the truth with his own, far more favorable, version of it. He is not merely making gaffes or misstating things, he is purposely injecting false information into the national conversation.

To accurately reflect this phenomenon, The Washington Post Fact Checker is introducing a new category — the Bottomless Pinocchio. That dubious distinction will be awarded to politicians who repeat a false claim so many times that they are, in effect, engaging in campaigns of disinformation.
What the WaPo gets wrong, of course, is the idea that Trump's constant repetition of debunked lies represents something unique and unprecedented in Republican politics.  Anyone who was awake and paying attention during, say, the Age of Dubya knows this claim itself rates a "Bottomless Pinocchio".  Leaders of the Bush regime lied constantly, about all sorts of things:


And then they lied about their lies:


And they got away with it largely because the Right had already been feeding from the Fox New/Hate Radio cesspit so long that their brains could no longer metabolize reality that was inconsistent with their ideology..

And that is the real tragedy here.  The fact that, while the WaPo felt it had to invent an entirely new category for Cartoonish Super Lying, they felt no need to create a new term for people who are stupid enough or racist enough or craven enough or cynical enough to go right on believing those Cartoonish Super Lies. 

They're still just "Republicans".



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We're All Paul Krugman




David Brooks on Paul Ryan in 2011.
The Ryan Journey

...
The best thing about the long-term budget proposal from Paul Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, is that it forces Americans to confront the implications of their choices. If voters want taxes that amount to roughly 18 percent of G.D.P., then they are going to have to accept a government that looks roughly like what Ryan is describing.

...
Ryan has moved us off Unreality Island. He is forcing Americans to confront the implications of their choices. With a few straightforward changes, his budget could be transformed into a politically plausible center-right package that would produce a fiscally sustainable welfare state while addressing the country’s structural economic problems. I suspect the process Ryan has started will take us back toward the moderate framework the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission proposed a year ago.

Great journeys begin with one bold step.  

Ezra Klein on Paul Ryan today, demonstrating once again that the power of Beltway-bros-defending-Beltway-bros is mightier than mere facts:

Paul Krugman on Paul Ryan today.



Laughing and crying.
Laughing and crying.
Laughing and crying.


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Friday, December 07, 2018

Professional Left Podcast #470


“I said to Hank Williams, how lonely does it get?
Hank Williams hasn't answered yet
But I hear him coughing all night long
Oh, a hundred floors above me in the Tower of Song."
-- Leonard Cohen

Don't forget to visit our new website -- http://www.proleftpod.com -- for all of the sweet bells and whistles:  there are links to donate to our podcast work at that site, as well as links to our swingin' Zazzle merch store,  our respective blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Kittehs! and much more. Many thanks once again to @theologop for building it all for us!


Links:

The Professional Left is brought to you by our wholly imaginary "sponsors" and real listeners like you!




Stupid Shit Andrew Sullivan Says



Once again, Mr. Sullivan has wandered way, way out into the poppy fields to publicly muse about Very Important Things Like the Meaning of Fucking Life You Assholes.

And once again, Mr. Sullivan has failed to heed the dangers of chugging all the communion wine and huffing all the poppers on his road to satori.  Because wherever he thought he was headed in this latest, maundering adventure in Lecturing Everyone About Jebus and Science and Atheism and Shit, Mr. Sullivan ended up in the same place it always seems to end up:  passed out in a puddle of his own hectoring, contrarian-because-contrarian-is-my-brand Both Siderist sick.

Here's a sample.
America’s New Religions

...
Now look at our politics. We have the cult of Trump on the right, a demigod who, among his worshippers, can do no wrong. And we have the cult of social justice on the left, a religion whose followers show the same zeal as any born-again Evangelical. They are filling the void that Christianity once owned, without any of the wisdom and culture and restraint that Christianity once provided.
And what is there to make of this is but Mr. Sullivan getting up on his hind legs and begging to be invited back on Bill Maher's show?
Which is to say, even today’s atheists are expressing an attenuated form of religion. Their denial of any God is as absolute as others’ faith in God, and entails just as much a set of values to live by — including, for some, daily rituals like meditation, a form of prayer.
I would say we should let poor old Andy sleep off his bombast bender, but in all the many years he has been cranking out drivel like this for money, he has yet to sleep it off.


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Thursday, December 06, 2018

More Thrilling Tales of True Conservatism! Vol 25: Ross Douthat Defends The Hive



Yeah, Douthat wrote that.

Got paid to write that.

Got paid by The New York Times to write that:
Why We Miss the WASPs 
Their more meritocratic, diverse and secular successors rule us neither as wisely nor as well.
And immediately the Internet Justice League dragged him across social media.  But honestly, I consider the best reaction to have been this:
Also fun fact:  Mr. Douthat's column is such a near-carbon copy of this David Brooks column from 2010 --
...
Sixty years ago, the upper echelons were dominated by what E. Digby Baltzell called The Protestant Establishment and C. Wright Mills called The Power Elite.

Since then, we have opened up opportunities for women, African-Americans, Jews, Italians, Poles, Hispanics and members of many other groups. Moreover, we’ve changed the criteria for success. It is less necessary to be clubbable. It is more important to be smart and hard-working.

Yet here’s the funny thing. As we’ve made our institutions more meritocratic, their public standing has plummeted. We’ve increased the diversity and talent level of people at the top of society, yet trust in elites has never been lower.
-- which I extensively vivisected back in 2010 here --
Monster

brooks_david2

"What monstrosities would walk the streets were some people's faces as unfinished as their minds."

-- Eric Hoffer

As the Republic burns and the New Conservative Barbarians caper in the firelight screaming for blood and tax cuts, America’s Greatest Conservative Public Intellectual sits in an empty lot at the edge of the conflagration, desperately sifting the Sands of Derelict Nostalgia, looking for something other than the complete failure of everything he has ever believed in to write about.

Which is a tough beat.

Because no matter where one pokes one’s pen these days, out oozes a radioactive stream of Conservative fraud and failure, and unluckily for him, for all of David Brooks’ stature and influence, in the end he really only knows three or four card tricks. There is the Barely Humorous Anecdote. The 800-word essay on The Last Book I Read. The “Ain’t Modern Life Kooky?” chestnut.

And, most often these days, there is the Ahistorically Nostalgic Melodrama starring nonspecific groups of People...
-- that if I were I still teaching writing, and Mr. Douthat was my student, I'd have a strongly-worded chat with him to make sure he understood that plagiarism has consequences.

Which is why no one should lose any sleep over the apparently imminent demise of The Weekly Standard.  Because, kids, there will always be huge piles of stupid money burning holes in the pockets of rich idiots who are ready and eager to underwrite the True Conservative fan fiction that flatters the rituals and dogmas of their caste.


And as long as there are fat stacks to be made selling toxic drivel to wealthy cretins, it doesn't matter if one distribution node for their narcotic of choice is shut down.  Another will rise up to try and meet the market demand.  From The Hill:
Michelle Malkin departs CRTV one day after Blaze merger announced
...

“I am so proud of the investigative journalism I did for CRTV,” Malkin said to her 2.14 million followers. “So many heroes, so many compelling stories. I will not be continuing with the company, but wish my colleagues all the best.”
Honestly, so far CRTV has been so effective at concealing their existence that I had almost forgotten Michelle Malkin exists at all.

The Hill continues:
The Blaze and CRTV announced on Monday that they were merging to create Blaze Media. Both say the move will allow the new conservative entity to reach 165 million people via television, online and on social media. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Blaze was founded by former Fox News host Glenn Beck in 2011, not long after he parted ways with the network, while CRTV was founded in 2014 by current Fox News host Mark Levin, who also hosts a nationally syndicated radio program.

In addition to Levin, hosts at CRTV include co-founder of Vice Media Gavin McInnes, Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty,” former Fox News host Eric Bolling and Deneen Borelli.
So, this new powerhouse is staffing up with..

Neo-nazi and Proud Goys founder, Gavin McInnes.

The Duck Dynasty goof that Andrew Sullivan used to find so adorably atavistic back when he believed such people weren't really a threat ( from me back in 2013):
...given that Mr. Sullivan spends most of his life firmly cocooned in the Washington D.C./NYC elite media bubble, I tend to believe that his venomous contempt for Alec Baldwin and his detached bemusement with Mr. Robertson --
... I’d much rather have dinner with Phil Robertson than Alec Baldwin. Engaging fundamentalists on this subject is one of my favorite activities. And I’d much sooner engage than condemn.
-- come less from the details and context of either incident, and much more from Mr. Sullivan's hardwired Tory elitism.  When he looks at Alec Baldwin, the Conservative Mr. Sullivan sees a successful member of the rival, Liberal upper class who must needs be brought to book in the harshest manner available.  When the Conservative Mr. Sullivan looks at Mr. Robertson, Mr. Sullivan does not -- dare not -- see a fellow, card-carrying member of his Conservatism: instead, Tory to the core, Mr. Sullivan merely sees a harmless aboriginal tribesman from the furthest reaches of Darkest Louisiana, brought before him to poop adorably in his teevee cage and say outré things for Mr. Sullivan's amusement.
Eric Bolling:  Another right-wing troll who got drummed out of Roger Ailes' Fox News sexual predator petting zoo once the employees started ratting each other out.

And some person named Deneen Borelli who has clearly decided that hitching a ride on the same wingnut welfare train that brought Dinesh D'Souza to national attention is easier than honest work.

And based on arc of True Conservatism over the last half century, I would not be terribly surprised to find that within two or three years, most of the The Weekly Standard's loyal readers crowd happily snorting Gavin McInnes' ass hair off Glenn Beck's dick using rolled up pages from Mein Kampf and calling it True Conservatism.

Because as William Burroughs once noted --
"The junk [heroin] merchant does not sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client."
-- and right now in American politics there are no more reckless, helpless, desperate junkies than the True Conservative and the Both Siderist, joined at the hip. shaking, down on their knees, both begging for a hit of anything that will let them pretend for just one more day that the Left hasn't been right about the Right all along.

And for the right price -- a terrible price -- eventually the free market will always provide.


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A Vintage Season


And now, just for laughs, I've gone to the cellar and picked out this unusual dessert wine. Before they rebranded themselves as Crooked Media, the troupe of podcasting Obama speechwriters were "Keepin' It 1600".  Here is an episode from just two years ago, kickin' it Beltway-style with one-time friend-of-the-pod Charles David "Chuck" Todd.

Chuck Todd hand wringing.

Chuck Todd's protestations that this time we've learned our lesson.

Chuck Todd frustrated by the "concierge" media that gets in the way of mighty journalists like Chuck Todd doing his important work.

So halting.  So uncomfortable. 

For the record, this dropped between episode #366 of The Professional Left podcast where we did a long pieces on Obama administration's focus on rust-belt manufacturing that no one noticed, fake news and the obsessive Both Siderism of Matthew Dowd...

...and episode #367, which was a discussion of Russia, Memory, a Chris Hayes/Bernie Sanders forum and how Barack Obama could never bring himself to look the GOP straight in the eye and understand their unhinged hatred of him for what it really was.



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Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Matthew Dowd is a Fundamentally Ridiculous Person


Today, in the further adventure of a certain ABC News chief political analyst who blocked me on Twitter and personally insulted my readers for repeatedly pointing out that Both Siderism was bullshit...


My original point -- the sin that got me blocked -- was that "Both Sides Do It" was a comforting lie invented by the media.  And that the constant, mindless repetition of that myth over and over again has been incredibly toxic and incredibly toxic and was, in no small part, responsible for the disaster we now find ourselves in.

And you know who agrees with me that many in the media repeat such myths without ever fact checking them? 

Yep.


The professional pundit terrarium is a funny little world.

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Who Mourns For a Dumbass?


From Vox:
“Not a natural death”: the Never-Trump bastion Weekly Standard may be shut down 
“This is not about dwindling subscribers. This is about strip-mining TWS for its assets.”

The future of the conservative magazine the Weekly Standard is at risk as the magazine’s ownership, MediaDC, is reportedly refocusing its attention on its other main publication, the Washington Examiner. And the Daily Caller is reporting that the magazine could be shut down as soon as December 14, though the company that owns MediaDC (and thus TWS) told CNN that it is continuing to explore possibilities and “does not have any news to share” at this point.

As one source told me, “This is not about dwindling subscribers. This is about strip-mining TWS for its assets” — namely, the magazine’s subscriber lists.

At the heart of the troubles is the Weekly Standard’s turn against Trumpism, which has proven a losing bet in a conservative movement that has increasingly embraced the president. MediaDC reportedly wants to jettison the anti-Trump brand of the Weekly Standard but use its subscribers to bolster the more pro-Trump — or at least Trump-agnostic — Examiner...

Our story begins in September of 1995, when Australian fascist media mogul Rupert Murdoch was on one of his periodic American media property buying sprees, and decided to give Irving Kristol's son Bill (and Bill's friend Fred Barnes) a big sack of wingnut welfare cash to create The Weekly Standard and staff it with the dregs of every Conservative think tank in D.C.  The first Managing Editor of this "redoubt of neoconservatism" was a gentleman named David Brooks.  At the time, Mr, Brooks' talents had led him to the position of op-ed page editor of the Wall Street Journal where his job consisted of not reading or understanding things that his employees were printing on his op-ed page.

Since then -- and by the standard (weekly or otherwise) of any sane society -- Bloody Bill Kristol has been an infamous and spectacular failure at almost everything.  A failure as a political prognosticator.  A failure as a strategic thinker.  A failure as a foreign policy thinker.  A failure as the voice of Conservatism as it actually exists in the real world.  A failure as David French's presidential hype-man.



In other words, a truly world-class failure as a haver-of-opinions on pretty much every subject you can think of.

And yet, for all of that and so much more, Bill Kristol has been wildly successful at one thing -- keeping his reserved seating at the Beltway media table.  From Politico in 2013:
...
Kristol, who said he was "treated nicely" at Fox News, declined to comment on the incident. "I had a great ten years at Fox, but it's also been fun being a free agent," he told POLITICO. "Fox seems to be doing great without me being on all the time, I hope I'm doing ok being on all the other networks some of the time."

Indeed, Kristol has become a coveted free agent since leaving Fox News. He has made multiple appearances on ABC's "This Week" (where he was a panelist in the 1990s) and NBC's "Meet The Press" (he will join the roundtable again this Sunday). He has also made multiple appearances on CNN's "Crossfire" and on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"I enjoy the flexibility of being a free-agent and the variety of the shows, which have been stimulating," he said. "It's also fun getting a rise out of the MSNBC viewers."

Kristol hasn't severed ties with Fox News completely. He appeared on Fox News Sunday's roundtable on Sept. 15 -- but this time as a guest, not as a contributor.

Kristol said it was very possible that he could strike a deal with another network in the months ahead...
I would say that this situation is inexplicable, but it's really not.

There are undoubtedly plenty of people who can explain why an incompetent ghoul like Mr. Kristol has floated effortlessly from one, highly paid, high-profile media position to the next for years.

Why he has been able to embed his idiot son-in-law, Matthew Continetti, into the Beltway media so deeply that they frequently follow each other on the same cable news show (and no one ever mentions their familial ties.)

Why a very-nearly-post-pubescent person named Mr. Jonathan Greenberger managed in just a few short years to go from being the the editor of his college's Student Life newspaper -- 


-- to having enough firepower at ABC News to hire one of the most demonstrably awful human beings on Earth for yet another turn in front of the cameras because Mr. Greenberger believed Bloody Bill Kristol to be an "original thinker with a unique perspective":
Jonathan Greenberger, executive producer of "This Week," said in a statement Kristol is "an original thinker" that will make their team stronger:

“Bill makes our outstanding team of contributors and analysts even stronger. He’s an original thinker with a unique perspective on the political and cultural landscape, and we look forward to hearing his voice on the 'This Week' roundtable on a regular basis."
As I said, all of this could be explained quite easily by the people who are members of the Beltway Club ... except based on all observable evidence, one of the preconditions being granted membership in the Beltway Club is making the Unbreakable Vow to never speak of inconvenient horrors like Bill Kristol being both a platinum card-carrying member of the Club and an incompetent ghoul.


However, one things that virtually every jumped-up Beltway bigot, climate denier and simpering drivel-monger has in common is that their mass-media teevee credibility is always underwritten by their close association with some established, printed-on-paper newspaper or journal or think tank.

Something solidly brick-and-mortar with a paid staff and business cards and office managers.

And so, when the poisonous Rich Lowry --


-- or the odious Ben Domenech --


-- or Bill Kristol's aforementioned son-in-law --



 --show up on your teevee, the corporations that put them there vouch for their credibility by giving you the name of the publication with which they are associated without bothering to mention that said publication may be, say, America's most respected journal of white supremacy, or a dark-money-funded cesspit of conspiracy mongering and Trump groveling.

 In this way the craven Beltway media and the deplorable Conservative media have propped each other up for decades -- each leaning on the other like two drunks shambling ever onward towards abyss and dragging the rest of us along behind. In this way, the careers and fortunes of virtually every conservative pundit -- from unhinged gorgons like Ann Coulter and unreconstructed torture pimps Marc Thiessen to professional Conservative revisionists like Michael Gerson and David Brooks -- have been extended decades past their sell-by dates.

Furthermore, in this toxic, codependent ecosystem, Conservative newspapers and journals and think tanks and radio stations and book publishers and teevee networks are not merely wingnut welfare petting zoo for depraved goons with terrible opinions and policies.  They have become bases of operation for colonizing the rest of the media and the rest of American politics with those terrible opinions and policies.

Which means that, as the co-founder and senior editor of a national political magazine Bill Kristol, has not only has a licence to print money, he has the clout to bestow the gift of Beltway media reserved seating to others people, and collect political chits from those people to be cashed in as needed.

And while that has been a jewel beyond price for Mr. Kristol, it has never had anything whatsoever to do with journalism.

So here our story ends.  With the savage elder gods of Conservatism begetting a monster even more savage than themselves.  A monster that fed on the rage and racism they provided in such abundance until it grew powerful enough to overthrow them.

I'm sure somewhere in the depths of Tartarus, Cronus is laughing his ass off.



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