Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Snarkeology 101: Both Siderism Like Strontium-90 In The Milk And The Triumphant Return of The Driftington Post

These days, playing the Both Sides Do It card is no longer the automatic win it was just a few years ago.  Yes, it's still with us like the chronic ideological disease it has always been, but the unalloyed deference to anyone who invokes it is not so omnipresent.  

To save what's left of his career, Matthew Dowd, the undisputed King of Both Siderism during the 2016 presidential campaign, has gone so far as to nuke his entire, damning Twitter archive full of gloating, pissy Both Siderism and automatically block anyone who brings up his very inconvenient past.  Pundits who, make no mistake, are still members of the High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It, now routinely couch their Both Siderism by prefacing their lie with "This is not one of those both sides do it things".  And even recently-former Republicans regularly roll their eyes at Both Sides-ism. 

Don't get me wrong.  It's still out there and it's still virulent, especially at the local level where fools, cowards, simpletons and Republicans still hide their foolishness or stupidity or cowardice or the rank evil of their party by aping the ersatz savviness of the pundits and waving off any Republican atrocity with, well, y'know, Both Sides   

But twasn't always so.  No sirree Bob.

Not so very long ago, attacking this Biggest of the Big Lies -- pointing out that it was the Big Lies that made all the other lies possible -- 

But the Pig People would be nothing but a minor nuisance -- a boil on the ass of democracy -- without their  Centrists who keep the "Both Sides Do It" spider hole well-furnished and open for business.  Pound for pound, Centrism is the biggest and most debilitating lie in American politics bar none.  It is the Big Lie that makes all the little lies possible, which is why I focus so hard on those who traffic in it.  They are the ones most vulnerable to and terrified of being called out in public.  They are the ones we must run out of the media on a rail.

-- was the darkest of heresies.  Merely whispering your doubts about Both Siderism, questioning whether it was a toxin that had poisoned our politics, was considered shameful and transgressive.

So just imagine the fate of those of us who shouted this heresy out loud.

Over and over again.

Decade after decade.

All of the following is from a two-week period, a decade ago, in September of 2012.

Fake Centrism: Democracy's Retrovirus:

On this blog, I have made the point thousands of times over the last seven years that Fake Centrism is our most dire and dangerous political problem.  Without a Fake Centrist narrative, Conservatives have no place to hide their lies, slander and depravity.  With a Fake Centrist narrative, there is no Conservative fraud or treason so large that the media will not* bury it under an avalanche of reflexive, "Both sides do it"-ism.

Fake Centrism is the retrovirus that is killing our democracy's capacity to defend itself from its internal enemies: it is the immune-system-destroying disease which allows every other kind of Hate Radio/Fox News opportunistic political malignancy to run wild through our body politic.  And man, once you start to notice how automatically every water-cooler Cicero and two-bit Tom Friedman uses  Fake Centrism  to prop up their lazy arguments, it's really creepy.

 The Big Lie of Centrism -- Like Strontium-90 In The Milk.

You know, I just ran across this the other day in a piece for the Creativity Post, titled "George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior":
"Both of our political parties have become openly uncivil toward each other and toward anyone or anything that disagrees with their programs. The televised debates focus on which candidate can hurt or dishonor the others the most. The winners are usually the most dishonest, unscrupulous and immoral of the lot and who have the most money to wage the most comprehensive “hate” campaigns."
    1. How this has fuck-all to do with creativity, I have no idea.
    2. The author uses the list to whine about what big meanie heads our politicians have become
Of all the places to come across centrist bullshit. They could at least have the decency to confine it to the news sites. 

Once you start listening for it, you cannot help but notice how the Big Lie of Centrism has seeped into everything and now shows up everywhere


And on.   The Big Lie of Centrism -- Like Strontium-90 In The Milk, Continued. 

And on:  The Big Lie of Centrism -- Like Strontium-90 In The Milk, Continued Again

A million posts have been written by a thousand bloggers debunking the Fake Centrist equivalence using every instrument in our orchestra, from methodical deconstruction  to operatic swearing.

None of it works, because aging Villager clowns like Ted Koppel will never put themselves across the table from people who will press the one question for which there is no rebuttal:
And what if you're wrong? 
What if the actual history of the rise of Hate Radio and Fox News and Regnery Press and on and on exactly parallels the craven, capitulating, Broderite fail, fail, fail of your Mainstream Media?

What if the simple, sad truth of the matter is that your "objective" corporate media was simply, hideously unfit to cope with an aggressive, coordinated and sustained siege from a mob of well-funded demagogues and liars (Hunter Thompson from The Atlantic, 1997):
MH: How will history remember Bill Clinton?
HST: I don't know about history. I don't get any satisfaction out of the old traditional journalist's view -- "I just covered the story. I just gave it a balanced view." Objective journalism is one of the main reasons American politics has been allowed to be so corrupt for so long. You can't be objective about Nixon. How can you be objective about Clinton?
MH: Objective journalism is why politics have been corrupt for so long? 
HST: If you consider the great journalists in history, you don't see too many objective journalists on that list. H. L. Mencken was not objective. Mike Royko, who just died. I. F. Stone was not objective. Mark Twain was not objective. I don't quite understand this worship of objectivity in journalism. Now, just flat-out lying is different from being subjective.
MH: If you found yourself teaching a journalism course -- Dr. Thompson's Journalism 101 -- what would you tell students who were looking to go about covering stories? 
HST: You offering me a job? Shit. Well, I wouldn't do it, I guess. It's not important to me that I teach journalism classes.
MH: But if you did, what would your reading list be? 
HST: Oh, I'd start off with Henry Fielding. I would read writers. You know, I would read Conrad, Hemingway, people who use words. That's really what it's about. It's about using words to achieve an end. And the Book of Revelation. I still read the Book of Revelation when I need to get cranked up about language. I would teach Harrison Salisbury of The New York Times. All the journalists who are known, really, have been that way because they were subjective.
I think the trick is that you have to use words well enough so that these nickel-and-dimers who come around bitching about being objective or the advertisers don't like it are rendered helpless by the fact that it's good. That's the way people have triumphed over conventional wisdom in journalism. 
It was the relentless fail, fail, fail of your Mainstream Media, Mr. Koppel, more than any other factor, which left our democracy staked out like a goat at a watering hole, wide open to the predations of monsters like Rove and Limbaugh, DeLay and Coulter, Cheney and Hannity...

And Trump.

And on:  The Big Lie of Centrism -- Like Strontium-90 In The Milk, Contd Yet Again.

It's everywhere:

Political Independents: The Future of Politics? 
by John Avlon Sep 23, 2012 
They've been both relentlessly courted and politically sidelines for years. But two new books show how voters who reject both Democrats and Republicans can become a force.  
In the final stretch of this play-to-the-base presidential election, it is strange to say that the 40 percent of Americans who identify as independent are currently close to an afterthought. With so few undecided voters left, even most independents have chosen sides by now. 
But some day this election is going to end, and if the next president and the next Congress hope to break through the hyperpartisan stalemate, they are going to have to find ways to appeal to the largest and fastest-growing segment of the American electorate.
Edwards details prescriptions for each of these problems: primarily election reform, including open primaries and redistricting reform and congressional reform, including filibuster reform. (Some of these proposals dovetail with suggestions made in the “Making Congress Work” plan developed by No Labels, a group Edwards and I helped cofound with fellow Daily Beast columnist Mark McKinnon and Nancy Jacobson)...


I frankly cannot see the other side of this river of offal.  It runs as deep and wide as the mighty Mississippi and carries so much freight for awful, lazy and cowardly people that I can't imagine the corporations who own our media will allow it to be dredged without a fight.

But what else can we do?

What immortal hand or eye/ 

Can reframe this fearful symmetry?

Not a Liberal hand, certainly.

Not a Liberal eye.

Because as long as Liberals are not permitted to exist anywhere within our national political conversation except as strawmen and cartoon characters, there will never be a spare nickel in the system for anyone who stands athwart this nonsense and shouts "bullshit".

As the Hunter Thompson interview reminds us, the plague of Both Siderism in American political reportage has spanned the millenia.  It's the engine that drives a mighty, multi-billion dollar machine that smooshes anything that would stand against it.  Which made it all the more dispiriting trying to pound home the same point that no one wanted to hear over and over again on a platform so tiny that maybe no one listening it at all.  

In fact, a few of you might recall that, just to relieve the mind-numbing barrage of Both Siderism which rained down on us every day from every direction, 12 years ago I very briefly spun off a parody blog called "The Driftington Post" --

-- in which I had planned to toss off short, chirpy, vapid "Some Say a Thing, But Others Say the Opposite" posts about the evils of partisanship -- 

Partisanship Decried.

-- in the voice of the endless parade of Both Siderist opportunists and scuttlefish over the decades who have all but destroyed our ability to speak honestly about our national problems.

[Fun Fact: The Driftington post above links of a now-dead-and-gone article from The American Conservative that was entitled, "Can The Tea Party Deliver?"]

Now flash forward 12 years and you can, perhaps, imagine my reaction to the most recent crew of Both Siderist grifters launching, with great fanfare and national media coverage. this latest political scam which is literally nothing but a big ol' slab of moldy Both Siderism --

-- served up like Elmer Gantry selling salvation to the rubes.

On the other hand. looking back at where we were 10 years ago in this long, uphill slog, it's fair to say that you and I have made some actual progress.   

 And I do find some comfort in that.

I Am The Liberal Media


Robt said...

Like the old saying

" He crossed the rubes with a con".

Anonymous said...

Just the fact that the MSM talking heads have to qualify "This isn't some 'both sides do it' thing," right before they drop some 'both sides do it' bullshit, means at least they know the false equivalence is falling out of favor.

I sincerely hope history accurately remembers the span of the mid-1960s through late 2020s (and quite probably beyond) as the era in which US journalism so tragically and comprehensively failed its duty and obligation that it offered up the populace it was Constitutionally enshrined to accurately inform as a fatted sacrifice to the nihilists, fascists and pseudo-religious zealots.

Start with David Broder, or go farther back. End with the Chuck Todds and other enablers. Call out the Brookses, the Stephenses, all the paid professional liars who used opinion columns as area-denial weapons of moral and political cowardice and abject falsehood. Let their names ring in history with shame.

Burn all the dogdamned motherfucking lifeboats.

Neo Tuxedo said...

What if the simple, sad truth of the matter is that your "objective" corporate media was simply, hideously unfit to cope with an aggressive, coordinated and sustained siege from a mob of well-funded demagogues and liars[?]

Three years before that Atlantic interview, the great Doctor of Journalism made the same point at greater length in his Rolling Stone obit for the rotten scum:

Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism -- which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful.

We must never forget.

Anonymous said...

Let me interrupt the past for the future. So what are you going to do about it when they take power? And really it's very very close.

General Strike. The fun part is no more paying bills. Just spend on bare necessities.

By the way. Sell your financial asset, now because those clowns are going to destroy everything. Steve Bannon thinks a couple of weeks of trouble, a hair mussing. No, think 1933.

Freddy said...

That monkey is fucking brilliant, and look at the way Gantry’s eyes sparkle when he looks at him. If the monkey had started playing a fiddle that whole withered crowd would have started dancing a jig.

Speaking as a rando East Coast libtard who wishes he’d found your work sooner, I believe you’re contributions have not gone unnoticed in progressing the important narrative you’ve constantly beat the drum for, for whatever my 2 cents are worth. Mainstream folks aping your shit has been surreal lately. Keep up the good work, driftglass.

Hal Rager said...

"I'm not saying we won't get our hair mussed…" -- General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott)

Snarkeology 101: I Cannot Believe We Forgot The Celebrate The 17th Anniversary Of The Late Robert Novak...

...losing his shit and storming off the CNN set back in 2005. The Dubya Administration was just beginning to come apart at the seams.  ...