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October 26, 2016

Is It True, As Newt Gingrich Charged, That MeAgain Kelly Doesn't Talk About Policy?

Why, as a matter of fact, it is true.

Note that Kelly does address scandals at the periphery of policy questions. When it was revealed (to those who hadn't been paying prior attention) that Obamacare would not, in fact, permit you to keep your plan, she did cover that.

But note that is a scandal -- a political lie -- about a policy issue, and not the policy issue itself.

MeAgain Kelly does talk about lies, hypocrisies, contradictions, etc.

But not actually about policy.

That doesn't make her much different from any other hack -- including myself -- minding the 24 hour news cycle and trying to keep up "churn" and post one post an hour (or thereabouts) while -- how do I put this softly? -- doing as little work as possible to accomplish this.

The news cycle, on both sides, through television to print to the internet to talk radio, fixates on scandal -- who lied, who contradicted himself, who said pussy -- as a substitute for talking about policy questions, because:

1. Policy stuff is harder to discuss. Even if you're an expert, it takes longer to write a post about policy than to dash off a hot, emotional piece about someone's misbehavior. And yes, for example, Obama's lie about Obamacare was misbehavior. We could have been talking about Obamacare's deception on this point for years; it was right there in the fine print. Instead we didn't talk about Obamacare until we had some identifiable personal sin -- the lie -- to talk about.

2. Policy stuff takes longer to put together. You can spit out ten scandal/sin posts in the time it takes you to just conceive or edit one policy post.

3. Policy pieces simply do not attract enough attention or interest. Policy reports aren't boring, necessarily, but they do not offer the promise of a scandal story: the possibility of bringing that son-of-a-bitch down, finally, with one more damaging personal story, and one that doesn't really take all that much effort to produce -- or to digest.

By the way, this is almost entirely Fools Gold. Scandals do not bring people down. Hillary supporters will support Hillary not because she's free of scandal, or that they believe her incessant self-serving lies, but because they draw a check from the government and they want to keep that check coming.

Likewise, surprised-to-find-ourselves Trump Supporters are not going to be dissuaded about supporting him over alleged sexual advances because of the Supreme Court, you idiots.

I'm not giving up the Supreme Court for a generation because Trump might have brushed up against a woman's ass or made a clumsy pass.

His sins should be paid for by having it taken out of his own hide -- not mine, nor the hide of my countymen.

Thus, everyone seems to think This next scandal will do the trick and then has paroxysms of surprise, astonishment, and outrage when it doesn't.

So really, while a scandal-centric view of things keeps people interested, it does not in fact tend to sway many votes.

I know the #NeverTrump claque likes to talk about "principle" and "policy" in the abstract -- they just like saying the words principle and policy.

They definitely don't like talking about these things in detail -- they don't explain, for example, how exactly conservative principles are advanced by leaving the DoJ's Office of Civil Rights in extremist leftist hands to continue imposing more and more onerous speech codes on colleges (essentially federalizing them as quasi-law enforcement officials to persecute students in kangaroo courts), nor how leaving the HUD in leftist hands to "federalize the suburbs" somehow advances devolving power to the states.

What they like talking about -- and what they do talk about, to the exclusion of all other things -- is Trump's latest stupid quote or the latest hot allegations about him.

I've attempted to get the NeverTrump wing to actually discuss these issues of policy they claim to be all about. All my efforts on this front have been ignored.

The best I get is some fat spastic on Twitter spitting curses on me. No one from National Review, for example, bothered to so much rouse himself to deny any of the points I made about the tangible, real policy (and principles) consequences of a Hillary presidency.

Instead they did what the leftwing media does-- which is to just ignore and embargo an opponent's points you don't have a glib answer for.

Instead, they worried themselves about the size of Alicia Machado's dumper.

"Intellectuals," it seems, like to talk about the same personal, groin-level shit everyone else does.

So yes, Newt Gingrich is completely right to say MeAgain Kelly isn't very interested in policy. She's interested in hot scandals in which policy is tangentially implicated. At just the right level of implication -- enough to name check the issue, not enough to bore viewers and get them to change the channel.

This kinda-sorta-related-to-policy aspect makes her reportage seem "substantive," as it concerns, indirectly and at some considerable attenuation, policy; but in fact it's the same sort of scandal-mongering crap that almost everyone is chasing.

She won't talk about Bill Clinton's sex scandals or Hillary's involvement with them -- that seems tawdry, cheap, and "Hannityesque" to her -- but she will sure the hell talk about Trump's.

Because the Media Class which fills her with her attitudes and biases tells her that's the right way to look at things.

So she's wrong to deny that she's primarily "fascinated by sex" (which I take more broadly to mean "interested only in political scandal").

She wants to think of herself as a Policy Expert and Wonk (most faux intellectuals do), but doesn't have the chops for it, or the time for it, or the trust in her audience that they'd tune in for it.

Has MeAgain Kelly ever had a white-paper type report on an issue, apart from the scandal-fodder indirectly related to issues? That is, apart from breathlessly reporting on the new revelations (usually kind of old by 9pm) churned out during the day about Gruber's videotaped confessions or Obama's revealed disingenuousness on keeping your doctor (which was always obvious from a policy point of view, and could have been reported years before it actually came to pass)?

No.

Not that I remember.

I'll give John Oliver this one begrudging compliment: He covers stories people aren't covering, and he covers them when they're merely lukewarm, not when they're "Hot" due to fresh revelations of a personal scandal making them seem sexy.

I don't see Kelly doing that. Or many people in the business of politics or political reporting, to be honest.

It should be noted that she's not particularly different from any 24-hour-news-cycle scandal slave at MSNBC or Fox or the blogosphere on that count, however. She's no worse.

But she's also no better, and her breathless How Dare You Sir is revealing about her ego and conception of herself.

She's chases the Donald Trump Ass Stories for the same reason Egg McMuffin's sugardaddy Rick Wilson peddled the Ted Cruz Affairs stories -- because people with political axes to grind traffic in scandals.

As she herself might say: Your defensiveness on this point speaks volumes, Sir.

Now having said all that, I notice this Glenn Reynolds piece: How talking about Donald Trump's crudeness permits us to ignore questions about the debt, government corruption, and war.

He had previously noted the US is currently fighting five wars -- mostly unsuccessfully and halfheartedly, but instead of talking about silly things like that, we're talking about great big important things like whether Trump called Alicia Machado a Big Fat Fattie.

This makes our jobs easier. This makes MeAgain Kelly's job easier.

It probably also helps her ratings, because viewers are, per the ratings, just as lazy as newsreaders.

But it doesn't make her a wonk, nor an intellectual, or even One Fascinated by the Protection of Women, or however she styles herself these days.

I'm sure MeAgain Kelly fancies herself as a very, very different sort of operator than Sean Hannity.

But what is the difference, really? Hannity talks about Hillary's personal (and therefore interesting) scandals. Kelly talks about Hillary's scandals -- and even more about Trump's.

Neither is talking about policy or principle.

And frankly -- neither are 90% of the Anti-Trump Republicans, who likewise style themselves as intellectuals and Thinkers of Deep and Ponderous Things, and yet whose daily offerings are... nothing but one Trump scandal after another Trump scandal.

I could do a lot better myself. I know that. I include myself in this criticism.

But I don't have any illusions about my own let's-make-this-easy-for-yourself-Ace laziness.

I don't feel like allowing my other scandal-obsessed, policy-ignorant "intellectual" brethren retain their illusions on this point, either.

And yes, my next post will be a Scandal post, about Project Veritas' investigation into Democratic corruption.

I've tried to get a dialogue started with the NeverTrumpers about the consequences of a Hillary presidency -- and they outright refused to answer, choosing instead to focus exclusively on Trump's scandals, and implicitly argue (by their silence) that there are no bad consequences of a Hillary's presidency.

So I've learned my lesson: The intellectuals of the right like to pretend they're about policy choices, but when you present them the opportunity to debate such things, they talk instead about Trump saying pussy.

I suppose that makes a kind of sense.

There are certainly downsides to a Trump victory -- and NeverTrump is happy to talk about them (and overjoyed to the point of sexual pleasure to talk about Trump scandals).

But there are also significant and real downsides to a Hillary victory -- including major setbacks in the areas NeverTrump claim are of paramount concern to them, policy and principle.

Trump will taint the GOP for a generation, NeverTrump says.

But they never want to talk about losing the court for a generation -- or longer. Or what substantive policy setbacks that will in turn cause.

So I guess I'd just like to know from the people who claim to care only want to talk about policy and principle:

What is stopping you from doing so, exactly? What is stopping you from answering people who ask you for answers on the policy and principle front, apart from your own cowardice and laziness about addressing questions you don't have glib, scandal-heavy answers to?

You intellectuals seem to like talking about being intellectuals. But you don't seem much to like actually doing the actual work associated with true intellectual status.

Don't worry -- I'm sure they'll be another Trump scandal coming soon that will permit you to avoid such work for another couple of news cycles.


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posted by Ace at 05:11 PM

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