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The Midgets’ Fury


Editor’s Note: Spot-on contributor Josh Trevino was a co-founder of with former RedAmerica blogger Ben Domenech.

What does it say about the “reality-based community” that a fundamental tenet of its world-view is profoundly unreal? The belief that the mainstream media is set against the American left has emerged since roughly 1998 as a cornerstone of the embattled paranoia that animates the masses from Beacon Hill to Berkeley who cannot grasp why they are out of power. This much ought to be obvious: in a democratic system, one is out of power because one is unpopular — and one is out of power for a long time because one is profoundly unpopular. But like the preening egomaniac for whom admission of a fundamental flaw will collapse the entire psyche, the American left clutches at any proffered external cause for its misfortune: The war is manipulated for electoral purposes. The Supreme Court is nakedly partisan. The voting machines are rigged. The American media is against us.

It’s a stupefying conceit for media professionals, who know their milieu — and for conservatives, who spent the prior generation asserting that the media was against them. That conceit was certainly fueled by conservatives’ own share of paranoia and persecution complexes, but it was still eminently more defensible than the left’s descent into the same fear now. Conservatives then pointed to avowed leftists anchoring network newscasts, Communist-friendly reporting verging on genocide apologetics, and a journalism profession shot through, post-Watergate, with a generation of eager anti-establishmentarians. Leftists now point to….Ben Domenech.

Oh, how they have shrieked since Domenech took the helm at the Washington Post’s newest blog. Back in the day, conservatives wanted a fair shake from the media: today, leftists reveal that they want their media back — and back under their full control. The resultant outrage at the mere existence of a right-wing blog at the website of Dan Froomkin and Dana Milbank has made them, well, stupid. It’s impossible to catalogue all the dumb things written in the past 24 hours as a result of the left’s frenzy, but a representative sample is worthwhile:

First up is David Brock, who rather amazingly believes that the characterization of Froomkin as a “liberal” is “debatable.” Then there’s John Aravosis, who, after declaring Domenech’s hire an “atrocity” and managing to forget Froomkin’s existence, is reduced to utter wordlessness. (NB on the death of language: I’ve been to Rwanda, Yad Vashem, and Auschwitz; and those had something to do with atrocity.) Next up is the staff at Editor & Publisher, who nicely buttress the thesis of general media leftism by revealing an ignorance of any distinction between conservatives, Republicans, and supporters of the President. Garance Franke-Ruta of The American Prospect takes her own swing, denouncing Domenech’s first post as “vitriolic, almost hysterically nasty,” and then, immune to irony, goes on to opine about “responsible journalist[s].” Chris Bowers of MyDD, apparently unaware that his thesis is more or less one of crushing defeat for his side, announces the right-wing blogosphere’s Gotterdammerung and claims real authenticity (whatever that means) for the left. Brad DeLong sneers at the pretense of young whippersnappers without credentials trying to play his game. On a Washington Post online chat, Tom Edsall is straightaway ambushed by irate lefties, the first of whom doesn’t know what “defame” or “slur” mean. And “Skippy” seethes that the netroots are only mostly losers, not total losers. Take that, DomeNazi.

This list could easily be a lot longer.

So what, again, does this say about the “reality-based community”? What does their anger tell us? What does their enraged realization of not owning wholesale the Washington Post tell us? What does their sense of persecution tell us? What does the profound threat they feel from a mere blog by Ben Domenech tell us? It is, certainly, an anger at not having a thing they never had a right to expect. So are they really ethically opposed to a swift crossover from political operative status to journalism? Or are they, despite their self-appointment, despite their pretense, and despite their arrogation, fundamentally unreal?

Share  Posted by Josh Trevino at 5:57 PM | Permalink

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