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Morning Thread (1-13-2015) | Main | Tuesday Morning News Dump
January 13, 2015

A Crisis Of Faith (Guest Post By Steven Den Beste)

(Guest Post By Steven Den Beste)

No, not Muslims; it's the the western press. The Press have created an ideology over the last fifty years or so that approaches the level of a secular religious dogma. They believe that the Press are like the referees in a football game, present everywhere but not involved in the action. Surrounded by violence, they themselves never contribute to the violence and are never the objects of violence. And they are strictly neutral, favoring no one but simply calling it all like they see it.

Except that they've also mixed in a big dollop of Marxist ideology: they aren't, and shouldn't be, strictly neutral. As good progressives they can and must work against global capitalism and everything associated with it. That means it's OK to criticize Christianity and Judaism, for instance, because those religions are part of the Capitalist monolith. By working against all the things that Marxism says they should, this gives them credibility with the world's proletariat, who will respond to that by leaving the press alone. Or so they think.

And violence by the world's proletariat is a good thing because it may presage the global Socialist revolution prophesied by the sainted Marx. That includes, in particular, all the violence in the world being committed by Muslims.


Like a lot of religious dogma, this is subconscious in a lot of the press. They simply accept that it's the way things are (or should be) and don't worry about where it came from or whether it really makes any sense.

The lethal attack on Charlie Hebdo, and the firebombing of a tabloid in Germany, has brought out a major contradiction in the Religion of the Press, and a lot of members of the press are demonstrating their confusion in how they respond.

First, there is the fundamental dogma of press freedom: no matter what the press says or does, no one is supposed to harm them in return. They're the referees, dammit, not players in the struggle!

Second, though, is the fact that Charlie and the Hamburg tabloid which was firebombed broke the compact by criticizing Islam. This was wrong! Not, surprisingly, because Muslim fanatics are dangerous (that is a good thing!), but because it is hoped that dangerous Muslim fanatics will fight against the Capitalist enemy which all good progressives are supposed to be working to undermine. Islam is a Third World religion, and criticizing it undermines the Press in trying to prove to the world Proletariat that the Press is on their side in the great Marxist struggle.

And as a result of this Progressive sin, Charlie Hebdo et. al. have dragged all the rest of the press into the battle, on the front line, where they no longer seem to have their assumed immunity.

And that's why a lot of them have a deer-in-the-headlights look on their collective faces. A common response has been, "We believe in absolute press freedom, but with freedom comes responsibility, and Charlie Hebdo and everyone else who published cartoons critical of Islam are abusing their responsibility and... deserved what happened to them." (That last isn't usually stated quite so bluntly, but you can see it if you read between the lines.)

They know how bad this sounds, but they can't really say anything else without violating the Press religious dogma themselves and further undermining their presumed alliance with the World's Proletariat.

How much of this is cowardice? I don't think they are really thinking in those terms. For one thing, the Press in the US thinks of itself as being brave, in part because of all the critical things they say about Christianity. There are all those "bitter clingers" out there with closets full of AR-15's just aching to shoot up the NYT and any other press outlet who dares say anything bad about Christianity (never mind that nothing like that has ever happened) and the Press bravely go ahead anyway. Likewise, they bravely risk being taken away by the Secret Police for criticizing the government when there's a Republican President (again, never mind that no one has ever been taken away like that). They're brave, damn it. They know they are! It's all very romantic and revolutionary.

No, the problem, and the reason a lot of them won't republish the Charlie cartoons, is that the Press isn't supposed to be doing that kind of thing. It isn't Progressive! It's the wrong damned target!

digg this
posted by BenK at 08:49 AM

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