December 17, 2005
The Mask Slips
By Thomas Lifson
The past year has seen a spate of shocking statements revealing
hatred and contempt for President Bush and his supporters on the
part of important media figures who claim objectivity and sneer
at conservatives unafraid to characterize themselves as such.
Regrettably, we cannot credit a sudden outbreak of honesty for
this phenomenon, and thereby anticipate improved news coverage
from these folks. A pathology is at work.
loss of status and influence is a profound shock to most people
who have spent their lives aimed at the acquisition and enjoyment
of socio-political standing. Relieved of the ability to shape
the consciousness and behavior of others, a certain number unburden
themselves of the inner restraints which kept them from openly
voicing the condescension and scorn they have for those whom they
regard as their social, intellectual, and moral inferiors.
of alternate media – talk radio, Fox News, and the internet
– has not simply allowed competing voices to be heard in
the public square, it has robbed many media grandees of the ultimate
reward of their striving after careers as shapers of mass opinion.
Some have become unbalanced mentally, and emotionally overwhelmed
by the loss. They strike out with blind fury at their “enemies”
(the subjects whom they have covered as “unbiased”
journalists), and thereby let the mask of objectivity slip from
their faces, revealing spiteful, arrogant and bigoted visages.
By dismissing those who disagree with them as unworthy of consideration,
they expose to light the long-hidden dark vision of the rest of
humanity that enables them to regard themselves as worthy.
to a Boston Globe reporter that he’d like to ask
governor of Texas doesn’t have the kind of power that
some governors have. . . . Why do you think they nominated you?
. . . Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that
the country is so [expletive] up?
the insult, the editors at the Globe then titled the
piece “At 87, Wallace still tells it like it is”?
media figures as are Wallace and his former CBS colleague Dan
“fake but accurate” Rather, no position in the American
media can rival the influence of the editor-in-chief of the New
York Times. Broadcast networks, wire services, and lesser
newspapers take their news agenda and spin from the Grey Lady.
So when the man who ran the Times for years lets the
mask slip, it is worth some attention, for he has been shaping
American public opinion as nobody else in the media could.
edited the New York Times until a cascade of publicly
visible incompetence forced his separation from what regrettably
remains the nation’s most prestigious newspaper. Earlier
this week, Raines contributed a spittle-flecked diatribe to a
roundtable in the U.K. Guardian on the five years since
Al Gore conceded defeat to George W. Bush in 2005. Perhaps feeling
secure because his outlet was overseas (and still thinking the
way to read the Guardian is via dead tree), he allowed
light to shine on the lunatic obsessions which colored his performance
as one of the most influential figures in American media for many
years. From the essay, it becomes evident that Raines is obsessed
with the Bush family as the embodiment of evil, a multi-generational
conspiracy in league with the Dark Force.
George W, there are four generations of Bushes and Walkers devoted
first to using political networks to pile up and protect personal
fortunes and, latterly, to using absolutely any means to gain
office, not because they want to do good, but because they are
what passes in America for hereditary aristocrats. In sum, Bush
stands at the apex of a pyramid of privilege whose history and
social significance, given his animosity towards scholarly thought,
he almost certainly does not understand.
is the big picture, as drawn by the Republican political analyst
Kevin Phillips in American Dynasty. Starting in 1850, the Bushes,
through alliance with the smarter Walker clan, built up a fortune
based on classic robber-baron foundations: railroads, steel,
oil, investment banking, armaments and materiel in the world
wars. They had ties to the richest families of the industrial
age – Rockefeller, Harriman, Brookings. Yet they never
adopted the charitable, public-service ethic that developed
in those families.
preying on the innocent peaceful folk of the globe with their
sale of armaments! Why, they made money from railroads! Why didn’t
they start software companies in the 19th Century? Or maybe run
Scotch and Rye into America during Prohibition, like Joe Kennedy.
Wilson-era rhetoric (before the man who “kept us out of
war” led us into war), however quaint, reveals a mind unable
to extricate itself from conspiracy theories now regarded as archaic
by many in even the Moonbat Community.
of a Bad Seed transmitting itself through generations of Bushes
and Walkers bespeaks a mind thinking in terms of secret historical
forces, hidden long-term motives, and the other baggage of conspiracy
nutters. And notice in Raines’ words how “public service”
no longer is descriptive of those who give up careers that made
them modestly rich in order to collect the salaries offered by
government, as three generations of Bushes have done.
who become Democrat politicians are regarded as exemplars of the
spirit of public service and giving back to the community. But
let a George Bush run for office and he is performing no public
service, he is corrupting the republic in service to evil multigenerational
the Bushes as robber barons, Raines then hectors them because
their fortune has not been large enough to establish a Rockefeller
Foundation or Carnegie Endowment. George W. Bush’s very
substantial (as a percentage of his income) personal giving to
charity, as revealed in his income tax returns, is on the record.
But to Raines, it is not enough. He should have arranged to have
inherited wealth on the scale of Jay Rockefeller or Teddy Kennedy,
so that he could hire bureaucrats to distribute grants to the
Tides Foundation, AIDS activist groups and chairs of feminist
studies at effete institutions of higher learning.
embraces tacitly the “false consciousness” explanation
of the foolish behavior of the masses, an excuse beloved of Marxist
intellectuals to explain the failure of the proletariat to embrace
their rightful vanguard. Most recently this has been popularized
among the vulgar intelligentsia by Thomas Frank in this recent
bestseller in liberal circles too lazy to read more explicitly
Marxist theoretical journals. In this excuse for the stubborn
popularity of conservative ideas, the foolish yahoos are being
manipulated by Wall Street puppeteers (not Jon Corzine
or Robert Rubin or George Soros, of course). The condescension
Bushes believe in letting the hoi polloi control the social
and religious restrictions flowing from Washington, so long
as Wall Street gets to say what happens to the nation’s
money. The Republican party as a national institution has endorsed
this trade-off. What we do not know yet is whether a Republican
party without a Bush at the top is seedy enough to keep it going.
polloi” is actually the more respectful term he
employs for mainstream conservatives. A bit earlier in elucidating
the treachery of the Bush-Walker-Daddy Warbucks Crime Family,
Raines causally threw out a racial epithet:
[George W. Bush] adopted the full agenda of redneck America.
Take a moment
and savor the twisted contempt in this usage. After all the years
of pretending he was a racially unbiased friend of all humanity,
Raines lets the mask slip and demonstrates his raw hatred for
white people who haven’t overcome their misfortune in being
born in the South (as he did). The unwashed sub-humans from whom
he escaped the accident of birth are so stupid that even as transparently
dull and evil a man as George W. Bush can fool them.
is the precise Caucasian equivalent of the n-word. Comedians like
Jeff Foxworthy may be permitted to use it in chiding his own folk,
just as certain black comedians use the n-word. But imagine if
Thomas Sowell called a black rapper or black hoodlums (the two
groups may overlap) the n-word. The consequences would be immediate
and would follow Dr. Sowell the rest of his life. “Self-hating
inauthentic bigot” would be among the kinder criticisms
he would endure.
unconstrained by his former professional role, and writing for
a presumably friendly audience overseas, demonstrates race- and
class-based scorn for people whose values differ from his. Precisely
because Raines is a Southerner who had to prove his bona fides
to northern liberals by outdoing them, he demonstrates his contempt
for Southern Whites when addressing a British readership. This
is the very same phenomenon behind self-hating Jews who have to
attack their own, in order to purify themselves of the “taint”
of the others. Self-immolation to vaporize the imagined but deeply-felt
impurities. It is a sickness.
no longer determines what Americans read and hear about important
national and global news. But the attitude he represents is far
from extinct among his former colleagues throughout the most prestigious
media institutions. The decline and fall of the broadcast networks
and newspaper industries, all but irredeemably populated by variants
of the hateful Raines, cannot be completed too soon.
Lifson is the editor and publisher of The