One of the best essays on journalistic malpractice I’ve ever read
Robert Stacy McCain in The American Spectator's Spectacle Blog: "Damn You to Hell, James Pogue."
More than 15 years have passed since I first read Thomas Sowell's classic, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy, which I consider the single best analysis of liberalism ever written. Sowell's basic point is that liberalism is really about the liberal's need to feel good about himself, to think of himself as more intelligent, virtuous and altruistic than ordinary people. Once you understand this fundamental truth, it explains many things about liberalism that are otherwise inexplicable.
A narcissistic sense of personal superiority explains, for example, why certain journalists think they are better writers merely because they are liberal writers. Their political commitments ennoble and elevate their work, so that what they write contributes to Social Justice, Progress and Enlightenment, and we mere mortals are expected to be grateful that these lofty beings condescend to favor us with their life-bestowing words.
But why bring Sam Tanenhaus into this, huh?
Liberals think of their liberalism as proof of their own superiority, which explains why insecure incompetents rally to the liberal banner: The group-hug sense of solidarity soothes their need for self-esteem, and provides a sort of Kevlar vest to protect them against the consequences of failure. A great many mediocrities have enjoyed delusions of adequacy because of the praise heaped upon their work for its usefulness to the Left's various causes and crusades. That mere political utility could have such an effect seems strange to most people who have not contemplated what was meant by the infamous 1998 proclamation of Time magazine's Nina Burleigh:
“I would be happy to give [Bill Clinton] a blow job just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.”
Think about that for a minute, and you understand that Burleigh inhabits an imaginary universe where American women are menaced by a "theocracy" and where, at some point during the first six years of the Clinton administration, Bill himself singlehandedly prevented the outright prohibition of abortion. In Burleigh's demented mind, The Handmaid's Tale is a work of non-fiction, and the doomsday warnings of NARAL, Planned Parenthood and various feminist ideologues -- to the effect that Christian fundamentalists pose an existential threat to modernity -- are to be taken seriously, lest we be shipped back in cattle cars to that Dark Night of Fascism otherwise known as suburbia in the 1950s. [...]