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October 27, 2014

Shock: Democrat Partisan Media, Government Bureaucrats All Work Overtime To Cast Any Criticism of Obama Administration Bumbling on Ebola as "Irrational Panic and Fear"

See, when they make mistakes, it's our fault for noticing.

Mark Hemingway wrote last week, on "hacklash."

To some extent, this is just another way that the media are at once disdainful of their readers, and insecure about their self-declared expertise. And they should be insecure, because they are not experts in virology. Or economics, nutrition, religion, or any of the myriad subjects the media regularly get wrong. They can't tell the future, but they act like they can. And they sure can't reliably predict human behavior. When it comes to situations such as the Ebola crisis, there are, as Donald Rumsfeld put it, a lot of "unknown unknowns." Situations like this call for humility and facts first, pronouncements later.

However, the Ebola coverage is just the latest example of a familiar process. It's a common enough phenomenon that I suggested it needs a name, and a couple of smart friends suggested I call it "hacklash." I'll take a stab at fleshing out the problem: Again and again we see the media and political establishment, which frequently collude, trying to preempt calls for honesty and accountability by enforcing some elite consensus that's dismissive of the need to address institutional failures. There's a dismissal of legitimate concerns, right up until the facts finally overwhelm the preferred narrative and prompt some degree of public outrage. When the public inevitably gets wise, it's often before the media catch up, but usually too late to have avoided some secondary consequence or disaster. Each failure leaves the public more distrustful then they were before, and this necessitates even more aggressive attempts to ratchet up the elite consensus. Lather, rinse, repeat. This is basically the story of the Obama presidency, where nearly all of the staggering failures and crises--Ebola, ISIS, Obamacare, Benghazi, et al.--have played out in a similar fashion.

His wife Mollie Z. Hemingway writes today of the dogged insistence of the clerisy to assert that any concerns about the government's lackadaisical, arrogant, and stupid responses to ebola is in fact irrational "panic."

She also writes about the self-claimed elites' endless worry over the proles' alleged panicking.

In fact, it's the elites who panic -- forever panicking about panic.

In a 2004 pamphlet, Peter M. Sandman and Jody Lanard describe this as "Panic Panic." They tell people that actual panic is rare and that people usually act fairly calm during crises. They also say not to ascribe panic to what is normal disobedience, mistrust, worry and even excessive caution. These things are not panic, they say. "[B]e careful not to project your own panic (or your performance anxiety) onto the public," they write. Finally, donít try to over-reassure or mislead people as this ends up provoking the very thing you claim youíre trying to avoid.

This reminds me very much of Jesse Walker's observations about "The Paranoid Center"-- his shorthand for an establishment which is forever paranoid about the alleged paranoia of alleged fringe groups.

Are there justifiable reasons to be alarmed by Frieden's and Obama's performance so far?

Um, yes. Even now, they're continuing with their Don't Worry Be Happy response to ebola.

Let's be clear about what the Don't Panic people are arguing about. They're not arguing about Ebola. Because the people criticizing the government are not panicking; rather, we are critiquing an insufficient and worrisome government response to ebola.

What the Don't Panic people are really arguing, once again, as always, is Don't criticize Obama.

Once again they've found a claimed "irrational basis" for criticism of Obama. They find an irrational basis for every criticism of Obama -- racism, xenophobia, unhinged partisanship -- in order to delegitimize all criticism of the Fuckwit Emperor.

But Obama's and the CDC's sad performance thus far is fair grounds for criticism. And without criticism, they never would have implemented all the "new protocols," previously claimed to have been entirely unnecessary, which they now admit are necessary.

This isn't "panic over panic," really. It's panic over Obama, and the deteriorating position Democrats find themselves in due to incompetence.

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posted by Ace at 06:55 PM

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