Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Center cannot hold

I've tried to make a general point about the current obsession of everyone with the antics of the Right, and its tea-baggers, birthers, tenthers, and the rest. Some highly visible part of the Right has been displaying their literal craziness.

But, the scary thing is not that the Right is crazy -- they've always been crazy.

What's scary, and needs critical attention is the complacency of much of the Middle, which acts as if the Right are not-crazy. This is true, both of some politicians, who should know better, and a lot of Media personalities.

Mark Kleiman takes on the fake controversy over "czars":
"The gullibility of the national political press corps has seldom been on more hideous display. Glenn Beck and his tame dogs in Congress have managed to make “czars” an issue without anyone’s ever bothering to define the term “czar.”

Then, after 287 words, in which he himself seems to succumb to playing the straight man in this political, Groucho Marx "secret word" fest, Mark finally comes to the real point:

"Again, the astounding thing isn’t that Republicans are pulling this stupid pet trick, but that reporters are covering it rather than asking basic questions about it."

Mark Kleiman shouldn't have to be arguing this silliness. The Media should not even let it take up our time or attention, and the politicians, who promote it should pay a high price, in derision from non-partisan journalists and pundits. That that is not happening is extremely worrisome. The poor functioning of Media journalism has been a serious, serious problems since Clinton and Whitewater; but, we need to notice the failures of journalism more, and the antics of the Right, less.

As if to illustrate, Matthew Yglesias points to this Newsweek story:
"Anyone who watches cable news surely knows that conservatives are getting themselves all hot and bothered over the Obama administration's appointment of so-called czars. Today, the Democratic National Committee is going nuts in response. I've got more e-mails from them about this today than I care to count. This whole debate is descending into complete partisan hackery: GOP operatives are fanning ridiculous fears while Democrats are proffering inflated claims to counter them."

Matthew Yglesias restates the Newsweek complaint:
"Silly Democratic National Committee, boring reporters by tediously pointing out that the central political argument being made by their opponents is totally dishonest! What partisan hackery! How sad that the debate is “descending” to this level! But who’s to say who’s to blame for this situation? Maybe the DNC should have just turned the other cheek and not annoyed Newsweek with its pesky emails."

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