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April 18, 2011

Right Wing News Interview With Andrew Breitbart

Regarding his new book, Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save The World!

One thing you do thatís pretty unique is consistently re-tweet the nasty attacks made on you by liberals on twitter. Why do you do that?

Because it exposes what leftists are ó that they claim to be hippy dippy and live and let live, but at the end of the day, I have found that leftists are intolerant, hateful, and totalitarian and they donít like to hear other peopleís points of view. They, in the name of tolerance, call me gay all the time, too many times for it not to be called a trend. The media does a great job of creating the perception that hope and change is the mindset of the lefty, but I see people whose first tendency when they get into a rally is to throw a trash can through a Starbucks window. When a camera is on them they say we want a revolution. They wear socialist T-shirts, hand out socialist and communist literature at their events, and my goal is to expose the Left. Re-tweeting is a very, very effective tool for exposing the Left and itís more fun than you can possibly imagine.

He also talks about the media's control of the narrative -- that that's where the fight is usually won or lost.

According to Gallup, Americans are still by a two-to-one ratio, conservative to liberal. Because, for all of the dominant propaganda Iíve seen, the American people have a more sensible underpinning. The Right makes the fundamental mistake of expecting the political class to make everything right, where I believe that itís the media class that dictates what happens in Washington and dictates what happens with cultural ties.

I go back and forth on this: Of course he's right about that. But I go back and forth on how much energy should be expended on trying to expose bias. I think it's pretty clear that the media will never change, and in fact will court bankruptcy and dwindling influence rather than change.

There are pecuniary and non-pecuniary benefits to any profession. In the case of the media, you get to have a very outsized say in the country's basic trajectory towards liberalism socialism and state control or towards freedom and equality. The people in the media have, by and large, chosen the profession for those non-pecuniary benefits, and will do whatever is possible to keep them.

Plus, only liberals/lefties get promoted to the top positions, and their decisions force all lower staffers into compliance if they want any hope of a career. That's why we have a conservative media in the first place: Because a lot of conservatives in the media find they either have to fall in line with a hostile, rank point of view or else they have to depart the main of the profession entirely.

Obviously the media does everything it can to present liberal/socialist/Democratic movements as both moderate and, crucially, as attractive. People have a natural tendency to support people they find attractive, whether in terms of physical appeal or cultural affinity or the virtues of honesty, intelligence, and integrity. The media establishes a double default position to take if neither side has clearly won a debate: either choose the position deemed "moderate," because hey, split the difference in unclear cases, or support those who are attractive in one way or another. The media always decides, on your behalf, that the more liberal candidate is both espousing the more moderate position and is more worthy of emulation and respect.

People are aspirational, and wish to be attractive themselves, and are naturally drawn to those deemed attractive by an authoritative voice such as the media.

And when the media doesn't want your position to win, it's deemed radical and strange, and the people espousing it are painted as hateful, ignorant, uneducated, and stupid.

In a straight contest, there would be only one way for either side to prevail: Win on the merits. But in the media-constructed false world, liberals have three outs: Win on the merits (unlikely), have your position win as the default "moderate" position if the debate isn't clearly won, and have your position win not due to its intrinsic merits but because the people espousing it are (supposedly) more attractive.

Conservatives can only win that one way, by and large. Oh, every once in a while we get lucky with a candidate who has strong attractiveness in one way or another -- Reagan, of course, and Sarah Palin, and even George Bush, who you might forget was at one time a pretty appealing figure -- but damn if the media doesn't work overtime to make those people seem as stupid and ugly and crazy.

Watching the media strain to find weirdness and ugliness in the Tea Party highlighted this as clearly as anything else before: Are their no weird, ugly, stupid or hateful people in the left's various rabbles? Of course there are, but oddly enough the media always focuses like a laser-beam on the more physically attractive, "straighter" (i.e., has normal stuff like family and full-time job), and so on.

All successful tv shows require "relatable" main characters, and the media is running a 24/7 drama called The Eternal Struggle of The Attractive, Vital, Wise and Intelligent Against the Forces of Stupidity, Hatred, Violence, and Ignorance.

Great show, really. It's obviously successful, as tens of millions of people still watch it on a daily basis. Like most reality tv shows it's cheap to produce; and like most reality tv shows, you discover your storyline in the editing room.

I can't find fault with the production quality of this reality tv show, whether it's the dramatic editing or the sound casting choices of which Heroes and Villains to focus on, but I will note that a reality tv show is not actually "news," and watching a reality tv show does not (or at least should not) dictate the trajectory of American politics.

All of this is true, and yet I still don't know: Is Breitbart right that this should be the main (or at least a very major) focus of the movement?

I'm undecided about that, as I said. Some days I want to do little else than scream at the media. Other days I wonder what the point is of that, apart from catharsis, and the pleasing feeling of knowing you've called out a liar.

Breitbart, I'm sure, makes the case for full engagement in his book, available at Amazon.

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posted by Ace at 12:02 PM

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