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Now the Details

Media, ethics, and journalism. What works. What doesn't.

Jeffrey Dvorkin

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ideological Journalism: No Alarm Too Faint to Sound

There is much moaning, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments on the left these days. The Obama campaign has screwed it up, they say. Palin has taken the sense of poltical exoticism away from Obama. White woman are no longer entranced and now feel a sense of comradeship with Sarah Palin. Oh what to do, what to do?

First, the journalism around Palin reflects the aphorism of Dr. Samuel Johnson who commented upon hearing a woman preach, "A woman preaching," he said, "is like a dog’s walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."

The comment was sexist when he said it in the 18th century. The coverage of Palin is sexist now in the media's astonishment that Palin is running at all.

I trust that the media will do what can do best - undercover the real Sarah Palin who the Republicans are trying to keep from the public's gaze. ABC News and Charlie Gibson's interview tonight will likely set the tone of mainstream coverage for a while.

So Liberals - stay calm and carry on, as the British said during World War II.

Second, there is another streak of political masochism found on the more extreme left which is to hope for the worst. These people think that the worse it gets, the better that a more stridently left approach will somehow gain traction with Americans and create an opportunity for a "real" left opposition to emerge.

I am astonished that this foolish thinking is still around. It has its origins in early 20th century left ideology espoused by Lenin and the later communist luminaries. Their thinking would advocate making tactical alliances with the right (including Nazis) in order to wipe out socialists and liberals. In my mercifully brief contact with The Real News Network, I heard this naive attitude espoused frequently by senior management who openly hoped that McCain and the neocons would win the election thus provoking a "revolutionary situation!"

European intellectuals like Arthur Koestler and Richard Crossman who witnessed this idiotic and dangerous approach close up referred to it as "infantile leftism."

Astonishingly this attitude still survives.

But to quote Karl Marx, "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."
If this generation's version of the loonie left has its way, history will just repeat itself as tragedy without the farce.

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