The ‘victory’ of conservative punditry, such as it is

“It’s safe to say conservative professional pundits have defeated their liberal counterparts,” Eliana Johnson writes triumphantly in a fund-raising plea in National Review, citing the undoubted ratings success enjoyed by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck as her evidence.

I admit: Gauged by that standard, Johnson does have a point. Right-wing media have nurtured a quite-profitable conservative audience of at least several million Americans that avidly consumes conservative narratives and avidly seeks confirmation of its conservative perspective. Within that world, conservative professional pundits have done quite well for themselves. They become rich, they become famous, they become influential … at least within that world.

However, isn’t the true test of the effectiveness of conservative punditry its impact on the world outside the bubble, changing the hearts and minds of those not already fully convinced? Even while proclaiming victory,  Johnson acknowledges that larger problem:

“… where has it all gotten us?,” she asks. “Conservatives, by and large, are devastated by the state of the country.”

The problem, Johnson suggests, is that while the market is awash in conservative-oriented punditry, what’s lacking is conservative-oriented reporting. I agree. I think actual, factual reporting from the conservative media would benefit conservative media, conservative audiences and the tone of the national political debate as well. In the absence of such fact-based reporting, most of these “highly successful” conservative pundits peddle invented myths and legends to their audiences instead. If conservative reporting can change that, I’m all for it. And no, I’m not talking about the antics of people like James O’Keefe, and I doubt Johnson is either.

To the contrary, Johnson, the Washington editor of National Review, goes on to laud her own publication for its work in filling that vacuum of conservative news reporting:

“Take, for example, Jillian Kay Melchior’s report on the substantial tax debts owed by four MSNBC hosts — hosts who routinely call, on the air, for increasing taxes. Or our recent revelation that Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, who rose to prominence denouncing real-estate speculators, herself flipped several homes for profit. This is reporting both about the people at hand but also about political identity, because it calls into question the subjects’ self-proclaimed status as ideological purists.”
I don’t quibble with the reporting cited by Johnson, other than to note its relatively small-bore impact. They are legitimate stories, and it’s interesting to learn that Warren made substantial profits in the real estate market. Apparently her critics are wrong when they claim that she has no real-life experience with risk and capitalism.
However, it’s  interesting to see Johnson brag about such stories when I count roughly a dozen pieces by her friends and colleagues at National Review that complain bitterly about a recent New York Times article that assessed the financial habits of Sen. Marco Rubio, with “hit piece” the operative description.
‘Tis a puzzlement. Apparently, National Review believes that the tax problems of semi-known cable TV hosts is a legitimate field of journalistic inquiry, while the financial record of a major candidate for president is not. It’s an interesting premise, to be sure.

In one of those pieces, David Harsanyi writes that the Times’ coverage is likely to prove an asset for Rubio rather than a liability because it depicts the Florida senator as another striving middle-class American, just like the rest of us. He argues that it makes Rubio more sympathetic than Hillary Clinton, and I can see how that might be true.

Then again, I’m not sure that the average American had his or her own personal Miami billionaire as a sugar daddy to employ his spouse or endow a college teaching job, as does Rubio. Nor does the average American have a credit card from the Florida Republican Party that they could use for things such as paving their driveway and flying the whole family out of state on vacation.**

“The problem with the New York Times investigation is not so much that it’s a transparent attempt to paint Rubio as an unfit candidate but that the paper exhibits an ugly double standard in coverage,” Harsanyi writes. “Listen, some folks make $100,000 trading cattle futures their first time out of the gate, and others have to take on mortgages and wait years for any profit.”

For those who may have forgotten or were too young at the time, “$100,000 trading cattle futures” is a reference to a semi-scandal involving investments back in the ’70s by Hillary Clinton, when she was the First Lady of Arkansas.

And how did we come to learn about Hillary’s dabbling in cattle futures?

Why, from the very same New York Times that Harsanyi accuses of a double standard in now writing a similar story on Rubio. The Times’ initial story, published way back in March 1994, was a major front-page article that dominated the news for weeks. (The Times has also played an aggressive role, dating back to at least 2013, in covering the very legitimate questions about the finances and conflicts of interest involved in the Clinton Foundation.)

In time, the cattle-futures story morphed into another semi-scandal called Whitewater, which in time morphed into the very real Monica Lewinsky scandal, which in time led to President Clinton’s impeachment by the House of Representatives. In short, that cattle-futures story and all that followed was the likely genesis of a deep loathing among both Clintons for the media in general and the Times in particular.

I know that doesn’t jibe with the world as viewed from the conservative bubble, in which the Clintons remain the darlings of the elite media while Republicans are their victims. I know it doesn’t matter that almost every single legitimate count in the conservatives’ anti-Clinton indictment has come from reporting conducted by that very same “elite media.”

In fact, the ability to pretend that none of that record exists is another gauge by which conservative professional pundits can be said to be successful.

——————-

** The Times article was interesting and informative, part of the necessary vetting of any candidate. But nothing in it is likely to do any serious damage to Rubio’s candidacy or career.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

821 comments
KUTGF
KUTGF

An Iowa mall cop — with a Facebook account loaded with open-carry and right-wing memes and photos of multiple weapons — is under arrest for shooting and killing a fellow mall worker because she filed sexual harassment complaints against him.

According to The Gazette, Alex Kozak was taken into custody after shooting 20-year-old Andrea Farrington three times in the back while she was at work at the Iowa Children’s Museum in the Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville, Iowa.

Police say that the 22-year-old Kozak left the mall and went to his home and retrieved a 9mm Glock handgun before retuning and shooting Farrington late Friday night..

___________________ 


How many of these "open carry" leaders and extreme wingnuts are also killers and criminals.  Sees to be a very recurring them of those who argue "second amendment remedies" seem to want to use them for the smallest of slights and the gun extremist still assert the "remedies" claim and cowardly fail to clearly define what they are and when they may be used.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Well, I just wasted a minute or two of my life clicking this headline:


Bristol Palin blasts Miley Cyrus for anti-Christian comments


and searching in vain for any actual "anti-Christian comments" quoted in anything like context. 

Amazingly, astonishingly, they're all contextualized by Bristol flippin' Palin.

Ladies and gents, your "liberal media," at it again.

dbm1
dbm1

@Visual_Cortex 

Might Bristol Palin be getting attention out of proportion to her importance?

KUTGF
KUTGF

@dbm1 Finally the real Captain Obvious! who can state the obvious  ;) :P

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@SimpleTruths @Visual_Cortex

Still waiting on that context, Simple. 

Like for instance, where she made an "anti-Christian" comment.

Here's a protip--castigating ignorant literalists who pick and choose bits of the Bible to use as a bludgeon against people they don't like, is not the same as saying "Christianity is bad."

bu2
bu2

@SimpleTruths @Visual_Cortex 

Miley needs to be ignored.  She's just trying to emulate Madonna and she's not very good at it.  Mainly because she's not anywhere near as intelligent.

TBS
TBS

Philo started his blogging day the way he usually does

Right out of the gate with his open mouth insert both feet routine. At least he is consistent

Hilarious

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Philo_Farnsworth

How many who self identify as being left of center, who post here, claim to be happy with the way the Democrats have coalesced around one well-heeled candidate this early in the process?

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

" You wont find many arguing that unions give too much or Hillary has gotten too much or Soros gives too much."

Certainly not on this blog. But lotsa wadded panties at the mere mention of Koch(!).

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Philo_Farnsworth

and I'll add, focusing on superficial stuff like who happened to be the sugar daddy this time around, versus the structural issues in play, sounds like deflecturbation to me.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Philo_Farnsworth

Certainly not on this blog.

well except for the very next post in reply to the one you quoted.

Do you really think I--or any other DFH in good standing--am particularly pleased with what this process has churned out so far in terms of viable candidates from the "left"?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

I've heard people rationalize events to fit their own agenda before, but never quite like Capt. O did down there, regarding the problem of sky's-the-limit campaign money as enshrined via Citizens United.


You and your party actually BELIEVE what your campaigns churn out over the media, therefore, you're bought by the big money which finances your campaigns.

Some of us don't, and can think for ourselves despite the barrage of ads (heck, some of us just fast forward past them because we know their actual value).


Got that unpacked yet? The thing that just happens to benefit me is good because I am a better sort of person than you, and know enough not to do bad things with this power, so trust the thing that happens to benefit me forever, amen.

(Circulus Logicus Maximus, ISTR from my Philosophy 101 classes back in the day, is the official rhetorical term for this technique.)

And by extension, I guess, all that's needed to erase any harmful effects of Citizens United is for all Americans to suddenly get More Intelligent so they ignore those silly political ads. And the planted "news" stories. And the official spokespeople pretending to be independent spokespeople on TV shows. And all the other cool stuff money can buy a political juggernaut.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@Visual_Cortex  The only problem anybody REALLY has with big money is who gets it. You wont find many arguing that unions give too much or Hillary has gotten too much or Soros gives too much. It's only about contributions to the GOP that give people heart burn. Hypocrites Unite.  

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@InTheMiddle2 @Visual_Cortex

You wont find many arguing that unions give too much or Hillary has gotten too much or Soros gives too much.

Perhaps not. But I'll be happy to argue that there's just too much money funding political campaigns for too long, period. If it takes a Constitutional amendment to 

a) keep the paid messaging quiet until a reasonable time before an election, and 

b) make most, perhaps all, of the money after a fairly short pre-primary point publicly funded  

so that (if nothing else) elected officials can just focus mostly on doing their damn jobs? I'd support that.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@InTheMiddle2 @Visual_Cortex

FWIW, I have no idea how to craft an Amendment that would accomplish what I'm seeking either. But I think there's a pretty broad consensus among Americans that the amount of time and effort spent on general election campaigns is ridiculous.

Maybe we're doomed to a cycle of election campaign reform legislation that gets bipartisan support, that's almost immediately weakened and ultimately wiped clean every decade or so.

dbm1
dbm1

@Visual_Cortex @InTheMiddle2 

The root of the problem is mixed-economy statism, which has several effects.


1.  Business has to curry favor with government to limit the damage.


2.  Businesspeople who wish to can buy special favors.


3.  The more complicated and pervasive government interference becomes, the harder it becomes to sort points 1 and 2 out from each other.


4.  All this has a corrupting, distorting effect on both government and business.


The cure is laissez-faire capitalism, which we should adopt anyway out of respect for individual rights.

IReportYouWhine#1
IReportYouWhine#1

How can the old hag, first introduced to the country in 1992, call her young republican opponents "yesterday?"


She's twice as old as any of them.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@IReportYouWhine#1

Hey, how long you guys going to go on calling her "Grandma"?

Why are you hating on Flyover Country, where one typically becomes a grandparent around age 41 or thereabouts?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@IReportYouWhine#1

She's twice as old as any of them

Fun fact--if that were true, then none of the GOP clown car would constitutionally qualify to be President.

gotalife
gotalife

Shut down government so they can't pass the trade deal.


Shut it down.


Vote for a default like the gop.

gotalife
gotalife

The Clinton machine is back .


Good luck beating her.


Not going to happen,

td1234
td1234

I have to give credit where credit is due. Salon mag stated the best way to go after Hillary is going to be on crony capitalism and they are correct.  

IReportYouWhine#1
IReportYouWhine#1

Clinton’s top campaign aides and even her husband blanketed the morning political interview shows to defend her against accusations that she is inaccessible and needs to take a firm stance on the Obama administration’s trade agenda.

Clinton herself did not give an interview.


lol

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

NBC:

"Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney listed some of his favorite contenders for the party´s 2016 nomination Sunday on NBC´s "Meet the Press," but notably left off a few big names. Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and John Kasich were all name-checked by the former Massachusetts governor — but notably Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie were not. "

All the Senators should be disqualified. All have the same accomplishments as Hillary -- Zero.

IReportYouWhine#1
IReportYouWhine#1

What's clinton's position on the government shooting people dead in the street for no reason whatsoever?

Corey
Corey

Forgive me for straying off topic. But when I read the story about the woman in Washington pretending to be black I thought of a classic: John Howard Griffin (June 16, 1920 – September 9, 1980) was an American journalist and author, much of whose writing was about racial equality. He is best known for darkening his skin and journeying through LouisianaMississippiAlabama, and Georgia to experience segregation in the Deep South in 1959. He wrote about this experience in his 1961 book Black Like Me.

Gmare
Gmare

I read that years ago, Corey. VERY INTERESTING.

Corey
Corey

I predict that on the Wed after the special Tue in Nov of 2016 the Republican party will once again wonder what hit them. Perhaps if the Republican candidates stay far far away from Fox they may just have a chance. Of course, that's asking too much. Sure Fox gets higher ratings than the other broadcast news outlets, but voting for president is not the same voting for a preferred news outlet. No, no, my advice is free. Put your wallets back in your pockets. Laugh if you must, or just dismiss Corey. 

gotalife
gotalife

"This week, the nation waited in breathless anticipation for the expected announcement tomorrow that Jeb Bush is running for president. Bush, who seems more adept at raising money than votes (he hasn't gotten one since 2002, the year his brother called for "regime change" in Iraq), appears to be the Republican most capable of uniting the money wing of the party with the money wing of the party. If nothing else, Bush's extended run-up to actually running demonstrates how pointless and fake so much of campaign coverage is. And the "process journalism" doesn't stop after Election Day. On Friday, President Obama suffered a defeat on fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. But most of the coverage was over the political and procedural ins-and-outs rather than the effects of the bill itself. Too bad we can't contain the media's horse-race coverage to the exploits of American Pharoah. " AH.


The trade deal and the president deserved to lose and did lose.