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April 18, 2005

A Vast Right "Constitution In Exile" Conspiracy

The Volokh Super-Conspiracy drolly notes that, having completely invented the concept of "man-dates" (previously known as "two straight guys hanging out and talking"), the New York Times has decided to try its hand at even greater fabulism and concocts a scary neo-Illuminatus conspiracy called "the Constitution in Exile" Movement.

Orin Kerr has been on this for a while, but this piece is a good start, and links to other posts addressing the non-conspiracy are linked beneath it.

There is no doubt that conservatives have little use for activist liberal judges. That much of the Jeffrey Rosen confabulation is true enough.

The journalistic sin committed here is "sexing up" the evidence, to borrow a phrase from the BBC. "Conservatives oppose the anti-democratic and frankly unconstitutional practice of judges sitting as a superlegislature creating or voiding laws as they see fit, not according to actual dictates of the Constitution but according to their own political notions of what constitutes good public policy" is simply not sexy.

First of all, that proposition sounds sort of reasonable to most people, Juan Williams being a definite exception. (Anyone see him whining about the "assault on judges" and Bush's attempt to pack the court with "right wing extremists" on FoxNews Sunday yesterday? Brit Hume and William Kristol were in full-on eye-rolling sarcasm mode.) Even if someone disagrees with the idea, it hardly sounds dangerous or conspiratorial. It just sounds like, well, an idea.

And so, the invention of a name and a movement. Names have evocative power; and ideas themselves usually do not make compelling "bad guys" in a dramatic story. For drama to work, you need actual people to serve as "bad guys" embodying the hateful idea; ideas really can't be defeated, but flesh-and-blood villains advocating those ideas can.

The way they... surround a story, yes-yes?

I'm so glad that the MSM escews the "shooting from the hip" mentality we bloggers have. Must be all that "fact checking" and "multiple layers of verification."

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posted by Ace at 10:57 AM

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