Now that it is clear that neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton has any intention of leaving the world stage, and even more clear that to the degree Obama has any effectiveness outside of his fawning circle, it is due in great part to the support they are giving him, suddenly the chattering class is beginning to wonder if maybe, just maybe, they missed some boat.
As we talk, can we offer some context? Friedman announces, this very day, that the Whitewater “scandal” was bogus. His announcement is less than timely:
- It has now been seventeen years since the first bungled Whitewater story appeared—on the front page of Friedman’s own newspaper.
- It has now been fifteen years since Harper’s published “Fool for Scandal,” an article by Gene Lyons. Lyons’ piece debunked the New York Times’ bungled work. Harper’s is a rather well-known American journal of thought.
- It has now been fifteen years since Lyons published an op-ed column, “The Non-Scandal That Won’t Quit,” in the Washington Post, a well-known newspaper.
- It has been thirteen years since Harper’s published Lyons’ book, Fools for Scandal: How the Media Invented Whitewater.
- It has been nine years since the publication of The Hunting of the President, by Lyons and Joe Conason.
In short, Friedman is rather late to the game with today’s announcement. But that’s exactly how things work inside an idiocracy! Inside the mainstream press corps, everybody knew the rules in the 1990s—you had to bury Lyons’ work, which went right after the mainstream press corps. By now, a great many years have passed. At long last, it’s safe for store-bought fellows like Friedman to tell Times readers the truth—but only in passing, of course.
Let’s be fair! We only single Friedman out because his column appears today. On Monday night, the gruesome dandy Lawrence O’Donnell played a related game on Countdown. And of course, that program’s $5 million man ran off and hid in the late 1990s, blubbering in the arms of Roger Ailes rather than staying to tell the truth about what was happening around him. (Olbermann publicly apologized to Ailes for criticizing Matt Drudge, then accepted big-bucks employment at Fox Sports. He kept his pretty trap shut tight all through the Clinton impeachment and the subsequent War Against Gore. Today, of course, he’s on your side—paid $5 million to play there.)
In short, the “liberal” world played the lead role in the hunting down of Clinton, then Gore. You may live in an idiocracy if:
The people who agreed to perform those tasks can be hailed as “liberal” giants, with no questions ever asked.
On Monday, we thought Paul Krugman was right on target, as he typically is—but insufficiently shrill. Yes, it’s striking when a society refuses to discuss climate change. But in fact, your society can’t discuss any issue! Bob Herbert can’t discuss education; to this day, we have seen no one attempt to explain the gonzo state of our health care spending. It isn’t that we don’t discuss it well. We don’t discuss it at all!
This morning, Friedman makes a rather odd statement. “[M]e wonder whether we can seriously discuss serious issues any longer,” he clumsily says. He wonders whether we can do that? Isn’t the truth rather clear?
In the midst of all this idiocracy, the liberal world still hails the people who conspired to take down Clinton, then Gore. No questions are asked of our liberal heroes, who now play progressives on TV! They, no less than Roman Polanksi, have remained free to roam the world. Now, Polanski has stepped in a trap. Their free range continues.
But Somerby's point, the one that was driven home by the campaign of 2008, is that the so-called liberal media is driven by celebrity, not by politics and sure as hell not by facts. Like Polanski, their freedom is based on the confidence that other members of the tribe - members like Olbermann and Friedman, Dowd and Maddow - will not turn on them and expose them to judgment. The spoil sports, like Lyons, Conason, Krugman and the Incomparable One himself, are ostracized, ignored and treated as beyond the pale. Shrill! Like the Polanski apologists, the popular "liberal" punditocracy secretly (and not so secretly) approve of the violations they witness others of the tribe perform, preferring to blame the victims for their less than pure states to identifying the lies, the crimes and the preferential treatment the attackers deploy to excuse their acts.
The A-list blogosphere had the opportunity to align itself with the truth tellers or to comfortably ensconce themselves as the pool boys and cabana babes of Versailles. We know where they have thrown in their towels. The failure of Democrats to make headway against the Movement Conservative onslaught is partially their responsibility as willing enablers of Versailles and as participants in the persistent demonization of Clinton Democrats. It is the political equivalent of slut-shaming, and it is not mistake that the same bloggers who hate everything Clinton are also so cool with misogyny. It is the same pattern of behavior - domination masquerading as morality. Meanwhile, the vast rightwing conspiracy continues to utilize every media channel to promote their anti-D/democratic ideology and move their agenda forward despite being rejected by the majority of the nation.
Whole Foods Nation holds as an object of contempt a particular slice of the nation that fails to be sufficiently cultured for their tastes and spurns the popular heros of that culture, even when it is clearly the way to hold substantial political power with a minimum of political compromise. Their cultural contempt for people who just won't see that defense of their celebrity hero is worth some fucked over females is paradigmatic of their politics as well.
That is idiocracy.