Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What Motivates Morning Sedition?

Note: This post was originally written for posting late last night. Better late than never. We’re playing catchup.

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Dymphna and I live in the back of beyond. As a matter of fact, we have to drive about fifteen miles to get to the back of beyond. From there it’s still quite a hike to actual civilization.

Morning SeditionSo, back before the internet, our primary source of information was beamed into our home by the powerful state-supported transmitters of public radio. That is, we had to get most of our news from — ugh! — NPR.

We developed an amusing family terminology to help us bear up under the load of what we listened to. “Morning Edition” became “Morning Sedition”, and the Saturday version was “Weakened Condition.” We awaited with a special frisson of distaste the commentary dished out by people like Daniel Schorr.

Dymphna had a greater tolerance for this dreck than I, and from time to time I’d have to leave the room in disgust, muttering, “I can’t take any more of this s**t.”

NPR is the perfect distillation of Essence of MSM. All of the bias, prejudice, sanctimony, and preening self-righteousness, plus an extra dose of hauteur, an additional soupçon of élitism, but none of those vulgar commercials! Not a hint of capitalism sullies the pristine perfection of their progressive stance.

These thoughts were brought to mind by a comment left on Monday’s post by whiskey_199:

The reason Jihadist propaganda spreads so easily on the Media is because the Media and the interconnected/intermarried elites are profoundly threatened by actually fighting back against an enemy. Any enemy. Invaders from Mars would probably provoke the same reaction.

Consider Time’s Matt Cooper. One of the reporters in the Plame-Libby affair. Married to Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff. Now envision a world where America and the West fights back against jihad and terror designed to make non-Muslims submit to Islam.

Where would Matt Cooper and his wife fit in? What important positions of power would they occupy? The answer is none at all, power would shift from hereditary families to 20 year old Lance Corporals, 22 year old Sergeants, and of course generals and the like. Plus a lot of pocket-protector wearing engineers who went to Carnegie Mellon, not Yale.

This is why jihad has been so effective in controlling media organizations. They want to be controlled because jihad, terror, and submitting to Islam is in their terms “the cost of doing business in the global economy.” A mere bagatelle to lose a few skyscrapers. Commuters. And so on.

Therefore the necessary part of counter-jihad must be to expose the elites for their anti-populist, anti-average person sentiment and make them known for their hatred/fear of the average person.

Whiskey’s got a good point there. He’s right, but it’s only a part of the story.

First of all, if we ever really fight back, it will not be primarily using our military power.

Our armed forces are unparalleled. They are the greatest in history. But if they were all that were required, the war would already be over and done with. Iran, Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula would be a smoking wasteland, and no ragtag band of insurgents anywhere in the world would ever consider trifling with America again.

Obviously, military power is not the issue. Political will is the issue, and in that crucial theatre we are outgunned and outmanned by a crew of medieval thugs armed with bomb belts and AK-47s.

According to a famous legend, the Duke of Wellington said, “The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.” The Long War, by contrast, will be won or lost in the sound bites from CNN, on the crawl ribbon at Fox News, and within the intricate lattice of internet sites.

We’re not ahead in this war, but some of us at least are waking up to the true nature of the conflict.

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Weakened ConditionJust for the sake of argument, let’s look at what motivates Matt Cooper and Nina Totenberg and Bob Siegel. Have they really decided that submitting to Islam is “the cost of doing business in the global economy”? Are they focused enough, intelligent enough, and well enough educated to reach such conclusions?
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My personal experience with the media has been limited mainly to personalities from local radio, TV, and newspapers. These encounters have made me conclude that media people are too shallow of thinking, too poorly-educated, and too narrow in their experience to reach conclusions as sophisticated as those whiskey_199 proposes.

Instead, I’ll go out on a limb and offer some guesses on what might motivate the knee-jerk cannon fodder of the MSM:

1. The herd mentality. Members of the MSM, like those of any other religious orthodoxy, are bound very tightly by groupthink. Being put outside the pale is what one fears most. Therefore, no one strays from the “Bush-lied-people-died-and-Iraq-is-Vietnam” meme no matter how much evidence intrudes. The stakes are simply too high.
2. The penalties for apostasy. As has been noted here previously, straying from orthodoxy in the media and literary world brings the awful risk of “You’ll never work in this town again.” If you depend on MSM checks to pay the rent and feed your kids, this tends to concentrate the mind.
3. Simple snobbery. The desire not to be a member of the great unwashed can outweigh everything else. No one, after all, wants to be confused with the slack-jawed slope-browed bigoted yokels who actually think conservative thoughts.
4. Knee-jerk pacifism. Leftover and simple-minded Christian thinking, but without any vestige of remaining Christian belief, can lead well-meaning people to the sincere belief that no violence is ever justified, anywhere, anytime. When the wild-eyed zealot finally reaches their doorways, ready to inflict bodily harm, the same well-meaning folk will dial 911 in hopes of summoning rough men ready to do violence on their behalf, not realizing that such men no longer exist, but have been banished by a combination of gun control, birth control, and emasculating thought control dispensed by schools and other public institutions. By then it will be too late.
5. Irresistible schadenfreude. Bringing down a Republican administration (and conservatives in general) is just too good an opportunity to pass up, no matter the consequences. Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!

These are some of the more plausible motives that I can think of. If readers can come up with additional ones, please list them in the comments.

The treason of the mainstream media is a complex and subtle process. Trying to fit it into a simple pattern does not help our analysis, and can lead to later miscalculations as we wage this 4GW against them.

Let’s not underestimate the enemy.


History Snark said...

I think you overlook the most obvious: These folks just really believe they're correct. And as such, since they know more than We, they are better.

Years ago, I worked for a grocery store in Ann Arbor MI (aka Berkeley East). We had a "union", and went out on strike. I still recall some guy crossing the line with his young son, as we tried to convince him not to. The father looked at us with such contempt that I've never seen the like before or since. Because he and his son were obviously far above such menial issues.

Pops didn't realize that there were 3 of us out on the line that had some 7 college degrees between us.

I'd bet everything I own that this kid has been brought up listening to NPR, and now belongs to the Dhimmicratic Party.

And can't conceive of how an idiot like Bush could steal the election from Saint Al.

Terry Baker said...

I think the common thread is moral vanity. The die hard liberals I know really believe they possess superior virtue. They may not be handsome, talented, popular or accomplished, but they know better, and that makes them better. It's about power and superiority. -Terry Baker, Chicago, Il

History Snark said...

"moral vanity". Nicely put. You made the point I wanted, much more succinctly.

Ypp said...

The problem that the anti-populist, anti-average person sentiment is inherent to the "modern" ideology, which is now widespread and promoted by education system and media. Everyone thinks he is above average, which is of course nonsence from mathematical point of view. Modern people are sure that they are much better than previous generations, because ... they have more powerful tools. And powerful people should not pay attention to some medieval thugs. So, by not paying attention to jihad modern people prove to themselves that they are powerful and thus above average.

unaha-closp said...

Baron, If you were to make "Iran, Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula" into a "smoking wasteland" it would seriously damage oil supply. Lead to large increase of gas price and have a negative impact on the American economy. Perhaps this economic cost plays a large part in reducing the political will to act.

ypp, do like your take on the media.

Ypp said...

Actually I want to specify - elitism may be spacial and temporal. Spacial means that we are better than others. Temporal means that we are better than previous generations. And both are widespread. For example, the idea that we have higher IQ is a kind of spacial elitism. The idea that we are smarter than people 200 years ago is temporal elitism. There are many sub-classes of both types. Only then we will start to win when we do away with all kinds of elitism. Everyone, not just "elites"

Baron Bodissey said...

unaha-closp --

Surely you realized that I was expressing myself hyperbolically.

To say that "the region would have been humbled by resounding military defeat at the hands of the United States" would have been more literally accurate, but would have lacked that satisfying rhetorical punch, which is what motivates me to write these screeds in the first place. :)

El Jefe Maximo said...

I think the attitude you might be looking for is that of rich, well off, people who are doing well who cannot even IMAGINE a world in which their class is not on top of everything.

Submit to Islam ? Your average Blue State upper middle class opinion maker, who drives a nice import, has multiple professional degress, pays a nanny, lives in a dual income household and vacations in exotic places would die laughing if you suggested such. Wars are stupid and matters for stupid people and boring books that nobody reads. Only suckers fight in them, and as for what happens to the US ? Who cares, except for a bunch of benighted rednecks and their leader Bushhitler?

As long as money can find the best return, the imports still come in, the maid shows and the right private schools don't have to educate the riff-raff, there's really no problem.

Have a look at Correlli Barnett's The Collapse of British Power sometime. Similar thinking did in the British.

pst314 said...

There is an old joke that a liberal is a person so open-minded that he won't take his own side in a fight.

But with the increasing degradation of liberalism we have to update that: A liberal is a person who will pin your arms to prevent you from defending yourself.

pst314 said...

The hatefulness of contemporary liberals has to be seen to be believed. I attended the Robert Heinlein Centennial last on July 7th in Kansas City. Various blue-staters, professors, intellectuals, and pseudo-intellectuals, missed no opportunity to insult and defame conservatives, red-staters, and even Kansas City. Correction--they didn't miss any opportunity, they invented opportunities. In contrast, the conservatives were unfailingly civil. There is a long tradition of military service in the Heinlein family, and I saw many uniforms on Saturday night. The contrast between their behavior and that of the visiting blue-state bigots was like night and day.

unaha-closp said...

Baron, Sure do admire the rhetorical heft the Gates - come for the news, stay for the hyperbole.

Any military action against Iran and/or Saudi jeopardises alot of oil production, bad news for those importing oil.

Profitsbeard said...

They seem like people who were never in a hitting fight, never changed a tire, never cleaned a toilet or a gun, and never read any history but the negative about their own country.

Floating and gloating.

Like the people of Swift's Laputa.

In a world where the exotically foreign is always given the benefit of the doubt.

Even when it beheads your fellow journalists.

Their rationale: We must have driven them to it, somehow.

As if everything revolves around them.

Even the motivation of their sworn enemy.

A kind of crypto-egomania, posing as truly superior modesty.

Subvet said...

There seems to be a disconnect from day-to-day reality. This has already been touched upon by Profitsbeard and gun-toting-wacko. The libs of my acquaintance can't fathom that anyone might have strong beliefs they'd fight or even die for. They seem to live lives filled with smoke and mirrors, lives that are fulfilled only by flocking to whatever the newest "progressive" idea might be.

Critical thinking is almost nonexistent. Character doesn't exist, being a character is all important. Successful posturing is everything.

In Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" the protagonist Montag realizes at the end that his wife will spend her last minutes gazing into the mirrors her "walls" have become. Then she'll see the souless woman she's become and die shrieking. I wonder if something similar in the way of self-knowledge lies in store for the morally bankrupt of the world who style themselves "liberal".

PapaBear said...

Another part of it is the mob mentality, the idea that as long as you're part of the mob, then you are safe.

Visualize that you are a new reporter or columnist at some news organization. One distinguishing characteristic of Leftists is that they take disagreements VERY personally, and can become quite heated (or even violent) towards somebody who voices an opinion that conflicts with their belief system. People who express anti-Leftist opinions become the targets of every Leftist in the area. OTOH, somebody who expresses a Leftist opinion in a group of conservatives is not given as much of a hard time. So it's SAFER to be on the left. Over time, any organization that is mostly Leftist will drive out conservatives.

Baron Bodissey said...

unaha-closp --

You are exactly correct.

I propose taking action now, pre-emptively, when the cost is lower.

Because make no mistake, we will pay the cost, one way or another, and it will be higher later. The cost of the oil will eventually be nothing less than full submission.

Act prudently now and pay $10 a gallon for a while.

Or wait until later, and say La illaha ila Allah, wa Muhammadun rasul Allah.

fenchiph said...

I will add to the list of motivations for the reporting on Morning Sedition

Intellectual Laziness: Often their stories echoed or were damn near copied from other sources such as the New York Times (or, more recently, left-leaning blogs). I have caught them at this on several occasions and suspect that when a deadline approaches it is easier to copy someone else's homework then do one's own.

George Bruce said...

There is an element of laziness and denial in all this. It is easier to believe that we somehow caused the problem or that Muslims will be nice to us if we are nice to them than to confront the unpleasant truth. It is not the evidence that matters, but what they prefer to believe. They prefer to believe that we don’t have a problem. It is a belief that appeals to a certain mindset in the same way as Marxism, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. If we recognize that we are in a conflict, then we must be prepared to make an effort, pay a price and sacrifice to prevail. Those folks don’t want to pay any price or make any sacrifice, so they choose to believe that no problem exists. Besides it is just plain safer to oppose conservatives than jihadis. They can call Bush all kinds of names without getting their heads cut off.

Don Miguel said...

"These encounters have made me conclude that media people are too shallow of thinking, too poorly-educated, and too narrow in their experience to reach conclusions as sophisticated as those whiskey_199 proposes."

You are spot on. My personal experience with the media, both direct and indirect, has been the same. What I tell people who seem to believe everything in the media is to ask themselves the following: why should I believe that an ability to write coherently or a telegenic face in combination with a J-School degree automatically confers upon a journalist any knowledge about what they are reporting?

mikej said...

If the Long War is to be won in the MSM, then it's lost already. To get into the MSM, one needs to get past the academic gatekeepers. Any sign that one does not share their leftist, anti-American attitudes will lead to academic failure.

Of course, it doesn't help that the Bush administration did falsify the intelligence that led us to war in Iraq. If Saddam had had any deployable weapons of mass destruction, he would have used them against our invading army rather than run away and hide in a hole.

It doesn't help that the Bush administration declared that the war would be a cakewalk. More than four years after the invasion, everyone's still wondering where the cake is.

It doesn't help that the announced aim of the Iraq war - imposing democracy on the Iraqis by force of arms - is altruistic at best and stupid at worst. Very few Americans really care what sort of government Iraq has.

It doesn't help that the administration, like the characters in a Harry Potter novel, are afraid to name the enemy. They keep saying Islamism, Islamofascism, or something like that rather than just plain Islam. How can they defeat an enemy they're afraid to name?

I myself have been wondering why, if we're engaged in this "Long War" thingy, we're still issuing visas to the enemy.

Yorkshireminer said...

Dear Baron,
on a point of historical accuracy Eton did not have a playing field at the time of Waterloo. What the public schools did tend to do, was supply the British army with a set of upper class thug. General Cotton is perhaps the best know. He was the ringleader of the 1797 Rugby school mutiny when he blew up the headmasters office with gunpowder. Sending your son to an English public school in those days, had, how can I put it certain plus points.

Deep Regards

Yorkshire Miner

Baron Bodissey said...

YM --

I know that. I said it was legendary, didn't I?

All sources indicate that the Duke of Wellington never said such a thing. But it's too good a quote to pass up, even if it isn't authentic.

To quote the late John Gardner, "Since the truth is ultimately unknowable, what matters is not what is true, but what is entertaining."

Check the authenticity of that one for me, would you? I'm quoting from memory; it's in The Wreckage of Agathon.

Yorkshireminer said...

Dear Baron.
You certainly did and I did not miss the reference, it is just that my rag bag mind is so full of trivia that the name General Cotton popped up when you mentioned Eton and public schools. The anecdote was just too good not to be used.

I certainly liked your quote

"Since the truth is ultimately unknowable, what matters is not what is true, but what is entertaining."

and it certainly applies to my comment, and I will certainly check out John Gardener in the morning it is now 3 o'clock here in Holland and I must get to bed . I must admit that I have never heard his name before, you have prickled my curiosity.

Deep Regards

Yorkshire Miner

Baron Bodissey said...

YM --

John Gardner was an American novelist, who died some years ago in a motorcycle accident. His books are flamboyant and entertaining; I read quite a few of them when I was young. He wrote a book called Grendel, which was a version of Beowulf from the point of view of the monster.

He was a classicist, and the The Wreckage of Agathon was set in ancient Greece. It concerned the last stages of the career of the eponymous drunken sage, as narrated by his apprentice.

Another quote (describing Agathon): "Always drunk; always lucid."

james said...

Part of the attitude stems from a kind of practical materialism. Every problem boils down in the end to something that can be solved with money. Warped psyche? Spend time with a psychiatrist, and maybe a few bucks for some Valium. Youth are angry? It must be because of a lack of opportunities: invest in some job-creation and make sure there's room for advancement. Bizarre beliefs? Education will put that right. Is the world going to end next Thursday? Buy some carbon credits! "When you're alone and life is making you lonely You can always go - downtown." You have entertainment or drugs for when you're unhappy.

This might seem a hard attitude to sustain, since there are a few things (fatal illness, for instance) that money can't seem to deal with. But money can keep the dying someplace out of sight; and have faith, someday there'll be a cure for whatever it was.

Within this world view the problems of the Middle East are theoretically easy to solve. All that is required is money and persuasion. The money is easily obtained from taxing other folks, and as for persuasion: these are media folks we're talking about. They may not know much else, but they know language; and within their circumscribed little worlds language is powerful. Their words never have to be tested against anything solid.

And this is another factor, described by others here: If you are never challenged by anything substantial, you feel like superman. I feel pretty strong until I try to lift a few barbells. If you advocate some cure, but the other folks didn't listen to you, call you on the phone every day for advice, it'd be no wonder their approximations of your prescriptions aren't working for them. It couldn't possibly mean that you (wonderful media celebrity that you are) could be wrong.

So if the powers-that-be will just listen to them, all will be well and the Hamas thug will come to learn the joys of golf and Paris Hilton 24/7.