Monday, July 07, 2003

The effect of Alterman’s skewed political taxonomy is to push almost everybody in the media to the Right: with leftists like Stone, Gitlin, and Alterman himself reconfigured as liberals, liberals can be conveniently relabeled as conservatives, and conservatives fingered as right-wingers or extreme right-wingers. In an interesting bit of dialectics, Alterman even describes the middle-of-the-road political columnist David Broder as a conservative because Broder calls himself a “centrist.”

Alterman does have one thing right: there is indeed a much more energetic conservative voice in the U.S. national media than there was a quarter-century ago. But this is not because of some covert takeover by Rupert Murdoch or Richard Mellon Scaife. It is because of the widespread, decades-long recoil, including among many liberals, from the excesses of the New Left. Nor is evidence of this recoil limited to the media, which if anything adjusted to it only slowly and belatedly. Ever since the days of Jimmy Carter, the radicalized version of liberalism that gained so deep a hold during the Vietnam war, and that lives on as the “liberal” ideal in the perception of Eric Alterman, has been on the defensive in American electoral politics. There is no other way to explain the election and especially the re-election of Bill Clinton, who, for all his contortions, evasions, and dissimulations, was able to present himself successfully to the voting public as an anti-New Left, anti-McGovernite Democrat.

In short, liberalism has not been mugged by a conservative-driven conspiracy; it is still struggling to recover from the mugging that leftists like Alterman, and their allies who to this day control significant strongholds within the Democratic party, are hoping to administer one more time. Anyone still needing to be convinced of the New Left’s lingering grip has only to watch a rerun of the most recent debate among the current crop of Democratic presidential contenders—with or without critical comments from any member in good standing of the vast right-wing punditocracy.

From a very good review of What Liberal Media? by Eric Alterman. Alterman has two things going against him as a political anlayst: he's not very smart and he can't write. He has made a career out of lying to himself about the rise of conservatism in America, spinning conspiracy theories while ignoring the fact that a large majority of American voters don't hate their country and think Socialism is a bad idea. More power too him, he and his friends are driving the Democrats into the ground and the grownups dont seem to be able to stop them. Thanks Eric, keep up the good work.


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