News & Criticism

Establishmentarian Watch

|

Continuing our ongoing series about elite rescue bailout discourse, the Washington Post's editorial board is calling yesterday's economic PATRIOT Act "America's second chance," saying of the House's upcoming vote: "in a responsible legislature, the vote would not be close." (Related but tangential note: Remember when lefties had to support the Iraq War in order to be deemed "responsible"? Ah, memories.)

Still at the WashPost, "Washington Sketch" columnist Dana Milbank saw the vote as downright providential:

As if touched by the hand of God, Senate leaders abandoned their partisan ways and declared a new day of harmony and togetherness. […]

The United States Senate turning into an amen chorus? Miraculous. And it was a reassuring sign that Congress still can act in the national interest—once it has exhausted all other possibilities.

Time magazine bemoaned America's lost faith in its leaders, in an article so drenched in elitist lament that, well, here's a sentence:

If the experts are right, the nation now risks great financial hardship, because there was no one to stand up and explain the situation.

And L.A. Times columnist Rosa Brooks wants a new FDR:

We established its basic contours in 1789, half forgot about it until the Civil War and Reconstruction, practically abolished it during the Gilded Age, remembered it again during the Depression and then, during the reign of Reagan the Great Communicator, forgot about it once more.

The government, I mean. It comes in handy in times of crisis, but somehow we just keep misplacing it.

And now, with our economy teetering, we're frantically searching for it again, finally hauling it out from the basement along with some dried-out duct tape and leaky batteries. But after all those years on the shelf, don't be too surprised if it's a little rusty.

I'll let the historians among us address Brooks' People's History lite, but I can point out to my former colleague that federal spending per household, adjusted for inflation, was around $12,500 from 1971-75, and even after all that dirty Great Communicatoritis it vaulted up to nearly $19,000 in Bush's first term. Unless she's just making the point that government is inherently unproductive…though somehow I doubt that.

Advertisement

NEXT: Ration Meat to Save the Planet?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Matt,

    Have the new homeless and downtrodden established a squatters camp inside your lobby yet?

    Oh, sorry, the Senate saved the country from that horror!

    OT (sorta): Again I ask, where is the depression of FY08? Is it still hidden in the numbers or is it just around the corner?

  2. You’ll never go broke banking on the stupidity of the average American newspaper columnist.

  3. As if touched by the hand of God, Senate leaders abandoned their partisan ways and declared a new day of harmony and togetherness.

    I just threw up in my mouth. Surely that is intended sarcastically/ironically?

  4. On a tangential note, my rag actually reprinted David Harsanyi’s anti-bailout column today (surrounded, of course, by the standard idiocies).

  5. All those dead tree journalists are probably hoping for jobs with the revived Federal Writers Project.

  6. The government, I mean. It comes in handy in times of crisis, but somehow we just keep misplacing it.

    This is Sarah Silverman level comedy, right? RIGHT?!?

  7. The majority of the media are jokes. And they probably always will be.

  8. One thing is certain, none of the quoted op-ediots are atheists. They all worship at the alter of the state. How friggin’ depressing.

  9. Brooks is batshit stupid. She’s how Haley Joel Osment describes dead people in The Sixth Sense – she only sees the Government she wants to see.

  10. Wow, what a sickening sticky mess. I’ll have to go kinky-colon and blow it out to make up for the sins of the ghost before me.

    Won-thing the discourse here has taught me is to absolutely distrust the establishment and those who worship her feet. I feel ill.

  11. I wonder what the LA Times was like with both Rosa Brooks and Matt Welch on board. Can you let us in on that, Matt, or are you saving it for your next book?

  12. phalkor, have you seen this slanderous video of your namesake?

  13. I wonder what the LA Times was like with both Rosa Brooks and Matt Welch on board.

    In truth, she was just a columnist, and lived on the east coast (along with other regular columnists, like, say, Jonah Goldberg), and my interactions with her were minimal and cordial. I don’t think I ever edited her, though I might have blanked it out. I did edit Jonah a couple of times, though, which was kind of…fun.

    I’ll say this about Rosa: She started out as a pretty tepid columnist, kind of a process liberal indistinguishable (in my mind, anyway) from a thousand others, though people I respect held a higher view. Then about, I dunno, 18 months ago, she had a very good and serious couple of months eviscerating Bush/Cheney abuses on stuff like executive power. The reaction to her pieces suddenly became overwhelming, and ever since then she jerked her prose much further to a sort of sneering/barking Bob Scheer/Huffington Post territory.

    My two cents, etc.

  14. The government, I mean. It comes in handy in times of crisis, but somehow we just keep misplacing it.

    No, we keep driving it out to a very remote site and releasing it, and it keeps finding its way home. If the wife would only let me take it out back and shoot it, we wouldn’t keep having this problem.

  15. I just can’t believe the complete disregard the media (a loaded word I know) has for the general sentiment of the people of this country who are by a large margin opposed to this plan. It may be for different reasons, but the vast majority of the concerns at least deserved to be addressed. Not to be just shrugged off with a roll of the eyes.

    With margins this large the MSM usually sides with the populace or at least in a grumbling way goes along with the majority. But in this case they just seem to act if the population are bunch of children who can’t undestand what the adults are doing. The condescending tone is sickening.

    I don’t think I ever seen such a massive disconnect.

  16. Yeah, that poor, abused little government, ignored by all and kept, whimpering quietly, over in a dark corner of the basement. Damn, I wish there was some way the government could regain its self esteem and find a way to really make itself important in the lives of the common folk.
    Maybe it could send us each a fruitcake.

  17. I always enjoy it when libertarian extremists claim that all forms of government action are the same, and therefore if one form of intervention is bad, others must also be bad.
    So much for being against “brainwashing”.

  18. I, myself, always enjoy when interventionists claim that something, anything, must be done.

  19. But hey, that’s just me.

  20. HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    ME AGAIN!

  21. Of course, to some folks, Interventionism is like a religion.

  22. The MSM regularly lectures the country like little children when the majority doesn’t agree with them. They just haven’t done it in the last two years because the majority of people usually agreed with them.

  23. I just can’t believe the complete disregard the media (a loaded word I know) has for the general sentiment of the people of this country who are by a large margin opposed to this plan. It may be for different reasons, but the vast majority of the concerns at least deserved to be addressed. Not to be just shrugged off with a roll of the eyes.

    How old are you? If you are over 30, there’s no excuse for you to be figuring this out now.

    Have you paid any attention at all to the election coverage? Have you noticed anything at all regarding the way the media cover McCain/Palin compared to the way they have covered Obama/Biden?

    The media have decided that the people need to elect Obama, and therefore have tailored their coverage – what they choose to publish and what they refuse to publish – to that end.

    The media have decided that this legislative clusterfuck of greed, panic, stupidity and hubris must be passed, and therefore have yada yada see above.

    I’m amazed that anyone expects the establishment media to behave in any other way.

    Oh, and roughly 98% of journalists are mathematically and financially illiterate. That has something to do with it also.

  24. I always enjoy it when joe interprets any criticism of interventionist zeal with a desire for anarchy.

    Also, I enjoy when I’m doing a courtesy flush and it feels like a cool breeze is brushing against my ass. I won’t say which I enjoy more.

  25. “You know the thing about chaos? It’s fair.”

    Go Joker! You know I love your work.

  26. Of course, the problem with Interventionism as a religion is finding, at any particular moment, the right god. Sadly, they rarely do.

    And stubby, anyone who ever says “The media have decided X” should just STFU.

  27. “FDR didn’t just talk, and he didn’t just tinker.”
    Right. He introduced a battery of new programs, the original piece of which (the National Recovery Administration) was eventually declared unconstitutional. The rest destroyed food while people were starving. Saddled us (today) with trillions of dollars in liabilities, and all of them slowed the economic recovery.
    That’s just what we all need right now!

  28. Shit, I’ve been going on a lot of angry rants, today.

  29. I like how all the left leaning media outlets have jumped on the “Lets Bail Wall Street out” band wagon.

  30. I always enjoy it when libertarian extremists claim that all forms of government action are the same, and therefore if one form of intervention is bad, others must also be bad.
    So much for being against “brainwashing”.

    Hey look joe just jumped on the “lets bail out wall street” band wagon.

    No one could have possibly saw that coming.

  31. okay serious, i already admitted, that I posted under joe’s handle. Now even I think it’s stopped being funny.

  32. You’ll never go broke banking on the stupidity of the average American newspaper columnist.

    The fuckers outlawed short selling NYT stock!!!

    How am I supposed to make money now?

  33. Oh fine, Citizen. “Certain establishment media figures, excluding CitizenNothing and a few others.” Kay?

    Altho I do note that you’ve apologized on behalf of your colleagues for all the ignorant bullshit they’ve been spewing about the bailout, so it’s not my referring to them as a herd that ticked you off, is it?

  34. I know I’m not supposed to feed the troll, but could the Joker please screw off?

  35. Actually, stubby, what ticked me off was your implication that they’re (we’re) smart enough to form anything resembling a conspiracy.

  36. okay serious, i already admitted, that I posted under joe’s handle. Now even I think it’s stopped being funny.

    You should really stop posting under joe’s handle, then.

  37. Matt, he (she?) purposely misspells joe’s email address. It’s subtle but it’s there.

  38. That posting-under-other-people’s-names stuff wasn’t tolerated back when Cavanaugh was around.

  39. Episiarch, not all of us roll over every poster’s name to verify authenticity, and even fewer have joe’s email address memorized. Ban the fucker.

  40. I meant that the brouhaha around the “joe” comment stopped being funny. However, it is always funny to see how far one can go with one’s comments before anyone starts questioning their identity.

  41. Citizen: I don’t think it’s a conspiracy. I think it’s a herd.

    I liked Harsanyi’s article, especially And by “we,” I especially mean Nancy Pelosi. .

    I keep telling myself – an Obama victory in Nov. means Nancy Pelosi won’t be Speaker after Nov. 2010.

  42. Lighten up, Shadow. It’s not that big a deal, and can be funny. At least to me.

  43. Also, the Joker is my gay lover, and he said he won’t let me suck him off anymore unless I agree with him. So lay off, I was born this way.

  44. Most everyone here agrees the media(left and right)lied and pushed for the Iraq war and the patriot acts(Talldave and some latent neocons might disagree). Most all here agree the MSM is now consciously ignoring the masses and pimping for the elite and the bailout package using roughly the same tactics as the patriot act.

    I’m seeking real explanations about why this occurs. What is the mechanism?

    I’ve heard it said in the past that the media ONLY responds to ratings and that they are mereley giving the people what they want…I.e we want to have climate change newstories and global warming catastrophe pieces all day.

    I never bought this and the current situation argues against that. Ok so who is the media responding to? herd instinct? Wouldn’t that mean that they here what all of us are saying and just repeat it back to us? are they so isolated from us that their crowd is jsut saying totally different things? I don’t think so, I talk to a boston globe financial columnists on the commuter boat occasionally, the reason writers all know other journalist and columnist. Our anti-bailout thoughts flow through NYC, San Fran, LA, DC just as much as they do in in Arizona or Atlanta.

    So what is it? does Buffet actually have influence over the washington Post? does Ruppert Murdoch have influence over WSJ and Fox News? does Jack welch have influence over MSNBC?

    Is it possible that these three and some of their peers regularly meet and discuss important topics in the world? could such meeting be having an influence on the MSM’s odd persistance in trying to puch crap on us?

  45. Now you’ve done it, stubby.

    Gabe, there is no media conspiracy. Get over it.

    Most journos listen to authority figures and repeat what they’ve been told. It’s simple. It’s easy. It doesn’t require hanging around the office late.
    They’re not hanging in bars with guys like you. They’re hanging in bars with legislators and regulators and the guys who work for them.
    Why buck the status quo and received wisdom?
    Murdock and the Devil need never enter the picture.

  46. Also, the Joker is my gay lover, and he said he won’t let me suck him off anymore unless I agree with him. So lay off, I was born this way.

    Excellent! Well done.

  47. Citizen Nothing,
    “Most journos listen to authority figures and repeat what they’ve been told. It’s simple. It’s easy. It doesn’t require hanging around the office late.
    They’re not hanging in bars with guys like you. They’re hanging in bars with legislators and regulators and the guys who work for them.
    Why buck the status quo and received wisdom?”

    ok so who are forming the “authority figures”opinions? I’ll assume you mean the authority figures are the politicians or appointees(Bernanke, Paulson). Obviously the politicians don’t care exclusively about polls and we all know they don’t have internal principles. So these guys might have conflicts of intersts or does this still hit your “conspiracy theory” mind shut-off switch?

  48. How old are you?

    I stopped reading there.

    Here’s a tip. If you want to convince somebody of something, or the very least get a discussion going, don’t start off with insulting people.

  49. If, by “conspiracy”, you mean that the folks in government intentionally schmooze the reporters and feed them information to make them see things the “right” way, then yes, you’ve got a full-blown conspiracy on your hands.

  50. When you get to the point of refusing to admit that Ruppert Murdoch does have an effect on editorials and columns at his papers then you are a little too far to one side of the accidentalist-conspiratorialist paradigm.

    Let me guess, you also think that human behavior can be exclusively explained by either genes or environment?

  51. @Epi 1:40pm
    You know how they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? I think I’ve really some people here.

  52. I’m sure that Murdoch has an effect on editorials. In fact, I can guarantee you that he signs off on them. That’s the system.

    Columns, meh, not so much. At least not if the columnists have any scruples/balls. The idea (ideal) is, once you give a columnist the keys, you have to let him/her drive where he/she will.
    A columnist who regularly writes only what the boss wants to see – because he knows that’s what the boss wants to see – is still pretty rare, I believe. Or maybe I’m living in a fool’s paradise.

  53. CN,
    I didn’t even bring up anything about a “conspiracy” until you ignored my specific question and just shot back “there is no media conspiracy”…I know this is wrong and you are very thoughtful, but it almost seems like you won’t even allow yourself to answer certain questions before part of your brain interrupts your train of thought and says “this can’t be, it would be a conspiracy!”

  54. I especially like the “.cum” in the email address.

  55. If, by “conspiracy”, you mean that the folks in government intentionally schmooze the reporters and feed them information to make them see things the “right” way, then yes, you’ve got a full-blown conspiracy on your hands.

    See cops for another example. It is far less work to ask then parrot an authority figure than it is to do actual research and reporting. The dead tree media is dying of self inflicted wounds. TV news has onlt sucked since the advent of television broadcasting. Watch the entire Today show tomorrow. I dare you.

  56. Pain: apologies (seriously) – humorous sarcasm doesn’t travel well in writing. I mean it like “you’re kidding, right?” – how long have you been reading newspapers, etc.

    wasn’t actually going for nasty…

  57. “A columnist who regularly writes only what the boss wants to see – because he knows that’s what the boss wants to see – is still pretty rare, I believe.”

    I agree, it is hard to get motivated to write if you don’t have some attraction to what your writing. If someone owns a paper and wishes to control its message in some rough way…say by generally being in favor of a interventionist foreign policy. It is easy to see from a prospective employees background and past writings if he will generally stick to this in the future. If some particular exception comes up like the columnist starts investigating how the DEA and DOJ coveruped murders and threatened honest agents for questioning what was going on….well the big guy can just send down the message that in this one instance he doesn’t want his paper covering the topic anymore. The columnist who has already been screened to be pretty trusting of the government and not wanting to lose his job will move on to another topic. leaving smaller magazines like reason to try and make a stink

  58. See cops for another example. It is far less work to ask then parrot an authority figure than it is to do actual research and reporting. The dead tree media is dying of self inflicted wounds. TV news has onlt sucked since the advent of television broadcasting. Watch the entire Today show tomorrow. I dare you.

    This has always been my line of thinking. Most jouranlists are just lazy. Combine that with journalists pulling all their information from other journalists and you get nice echochamber going.

    That being said, the level arrogance they are showing now is nauseating. Say what you will about the Iraq war and the Patriot act. Those issues were generally quite popular during their run ups. While I didn’t condone it, I at least understood why the MSM generally parroted the thoughts of the “experts’ because that just reinforced what much of the general population wanted to or already believed.

    But this whole push to use smaller friendlier sounding words in this kind of scolding tone for something that is clearly unpopular makes me wonder if the MSM thinks the public really is a bunch of drooling morons. Do they realy think the large opposition to this is just due to “they’re all just confused”?

    stubby,

    No worries. I’v done it too. I appreciate the apology.

  59. As a decade long participant in This American Libertarianism, I’ve kind of gotten used to being part of a 3% minority that is then ignored or parodied in the press.

    What I’m finding painful now is, I’m in the majority for once, and my side is STILL getting ignored and parodied.

    Why isn’t Bob Barr leading a mob outside the Capitol, chanting “No Deal! No Deal! No Deal!…”?

  60. I agree, it is hard to get motivated to write if you don’t have some attraction to what your writing.

    Yeah, but when the core motivation is a lust for influence and the prestige from peers than it isn’t so difficult to keep to the company line.

  61. oops. “decades-long participant”

  62. But this whole push to use smaller friendlier sounding words in this kind of scolding tone for something that is clearly unpopular makes me wonder if the MSM thinks the public really is a bunch of drooling morons. Do they realy think the large opposition to this is just due to “they’re all just confused”?

    I believe it. The arrogance and condescension of the national media really knows no bounds.

  63. Gabe
    I admit that a hint of media conspiracy theory in the air can make me crazy. Sorry if I saw some where none was intended.

  64. MSM thinks the public really is a bunch of drooling morons. Do they realy think the large opposition to this is just due to “they’re all just confused”?

    Yes, they do, but in all fairness they only think that of people who don’t agree with them. Actors and musicians, professors of gender studies and people who make money by spending other peoples’ money – folks like that, the establishment media has oodles of respect for. This is not new – it’s just that now that we have access to information not controlled by the dinosaur media, we are getting to see what goes on behind the curtain. Back in 80 or 84 – don’t remember which – when Reagan was elected or reelected, Peter Jennings remarked – off camera, of course – that the American public had just thrown a tantrum. They live in a hermetically sealed environment, and they think we’re the ones who don’t know what’s really going on.

    Of course, if Pelosi and President Obama have their way, this era of free flowing information made possible by the world wide web may prove to have been really short-lived. The priests want to reestablish their exclusive control of the sacraments, and the Democratic party as it is presently constituted would be happy to help them do it.

    I know I’ve mentioned this before, by way of establishing that I’m not a social con, nor a particularly right wing kind of person – pro gay marriage, pro legal drugs, etc. etc. – and I voted for Bubba twice. But I swear to God, the establishment media has just about turned me into a Republican, and I cannot forgive them for that.

    I want to see McCain win so that I can see Keith Olbermann’s head explode on live TV. I’m not speaking metaphorically. I think a McCain victory could cause it, and I want to watch it.

  65. I’m still laughing my ass off at this passage from an article I had to edit for my sad little job. I received it on Sept. 22 – before the first proposed bail-out crashed. A writer here said: “It is the sheer size of this number (i.e. $700 billion) that is driving former free market zealots to seek the safety of greater regulation and government control. Moves to collapse almost sacred private sector principles and institutions are taken without hesitation in actions that are occurring literally overnight. Solutions that would have been dismissed in June as simply not possible are taken now in desperation with our knowing that something must be done.”

  66. stubby,
    I would like to see Keith Olbermann eaten by rats.

  67. Of course, if Pelosi and President Obama have their way, this era of free flowing information made possible by the world wide web may prove to have been really short-lived. The priests want to reestablish their exclusive control of the sacraments, and the Democratic party as it is presently constituted would be happy to help them do it. ??
    ??????
    ??????
    ???

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.