Alone among the political bloggers, he has no wish to be a member of the Village. Every other blogger above a certain visibility level wants to be part of the crowd, associated with a high-profile website, regurgitating the stories of the MSM, featured in celebrity interviews in papers and magazines, and appearing in the talking heads venues of cable, broadcast and radio.
Somerby knows that to have an independent and critical voice about the media you must be independent and unrelentlingly critical of that media. In order to do this, it also means criticizing the enablers of the media, the social and political insiders who hold the cocktail parties, pick up the phones, provide the spin, and, most of all, enforce their narrative of how the world works. The "creative class" on the left has never relinquished the fantasy that somehow the press is on "our" side, secretly harboring fantasies of being the next Woodward and Bernstein. It is all about catching someone in an act of wrong-doing, not about presenting a corrective context to the agendas presented to them. It's all about "gotchas". Their counter-parts on the right have never relinquished those fantasies, either, and they have been strikingly successful at taking over the media while asserting that the media is a hopelessly biased tool of the liberals. The chief difference between these two groups is that the right has used the media to consolidate its hold on power while the left has cheerfully assisted the right in achieving that goal. They both delight in playing "gotcha" with Democratic figures.
His five part (to date) response to Tim Russert's death is an incredible, blistering analysis of this self-serving relationship. While other people (myself included) have focused on Russert himself, either to lionize him or reject him, Bob has taken the occasion to use their own words to expose their solipsistic adulation of their own dishonest culture. The last paragraph of the first post lays it out succinctly:
The guy [Russert] who wrote those books about dads is the same guy who gave those embarrassing answers in that interview with Bill Moyers. (In fairness, we’re inclined to think that Moyers overstated one alleged problem.) Predictably enough, Tim’s colleagues told you about the books; that interview got disappeared—along with the (inevitable) human shortcomings behind it. And no, they didn’t necessarily do that out of respect; it’s what they do in every circumstance. The instinctive refusal to tell you the truth lies at the heart of their culture.
Let's repeat that: The instinctive refusal to tell the truth lies at the heart of their culture.
Read all five of Somerby's posts. They are somewhat repetitive, but they build to his ultimate criticism, which is of the netroots and those who claim to be liberal voices.
- The instinctive refusal to tell you the truth lies at the heart of their culture
- Three pundits staged a rare discussion
- Tim always knew who the phonies were, Brokaw oddly explained
- Put the novels aside!
- This was quite a week for press watchers
The way in which the allegedly oppositional netroots reporters have handed their credibility over to the MSM without a struggle is their unwillingness to tell the truth when it clashes with their desire for how the world should be. Like the MSM, they have picked sides based on a script handed to them by the movement conservatives, and now, when the dust clears, they are left backing someone very like themselves, someone with an instinctual refusal to tell the truth.