February 13, 2012

“Inside Media Matters: Sources, memos reveal erratic behavior, close coordination with White House and news organizations” [UPDATED]

It’s like the uber Journolist / Townhouse / JuiceBox Mafia listserv for “progressive” news cycle setting and baldface propaganda — this time, going all the way up to the most transparent White House evah!

And the thing is? There isn’t a conservative alive who is in the least bit shocked by any of this.

– Well, except maybe Rick Moran. Who is probably busy penning an angry retort to the Daily Caller in which he scolds them for their investigative Visigothery, supplying several historical examples of how the Bushies, eg., or Nixon, also tried to use friendly news sources to support their Administrations’ positions, marking this particular “scoop” as an hysterical non-story being hyped by unhelpful purist crazies on the right who continue to believe, erroneously (and naively, and with a foul populist foaming), that the Obama Administration is somehow more nefarious and radical than your ordinary, typical Democrat administration.

Probably because Obama’s black. Though that’s just a guess.

(thanks to Pablo)

****
update: Related: when is a coincidence not a coincidence? When a journalist isn’t a journalist. (h/t geoffb)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:04am
47 comments | Trackback

Comments (47)

  1. Also in the insidyest loop, Hey there Georgie-boy.

  2. I dunno, geoff. The idea that the former press secretary for a Democrat president would have any ties with the following Democrat administration is pretty far-fetched. Particularly since Snuffleupagus is wearing his “journalist” clown suit.

  3. If I am served a frothy whatchamacallit without a foul populist foaming, I send it back.

  4. geoffb, clearly it was battle-space preparation by Steffie. Obama can’t run on his record, so social issues is the only way to get his base jazzed up. But, as I said earlier, the contraception mandate is the first “in-your-face” demonstration of Obamacare and government intent.

  5. That’s a nice tie-in geoffb. Newt’s brief response there in particular is good, though in retrospect, his charges are too lenient (the press “ignores” the bigotry on the left) in light of Stephanopoulos’ insider knowledge revealing his apparent complicity at marshaling an attack on Constitutional guarantees. Far from ignoring the left bigotry, Stephanopoulos is participating in it.

  6. Rick Moran

    Warm, comfortable, hand-clasping cooperation shall save the land, not it’s structural principles. That Rick Moran?

    By that reasoning half the bridge club shall prevail against fifty pillagers who just descended on Happysburg. In Rick’s world we don’t need laws, we need understanding.

    If one defines pragmatism as viewing the world as it is, prioritizing what’s important, and recognizing the validity and good faith of the other side in order to work together to solve problems*, then there is a gravestone somewhere on Capitol Hill that might read:

    Here lies the remains of pragmatic politics. Killed by excessive ideology and rank partisanship. Survived by the American republic — but for how long, no one can say.

    *But never, of course, create them in bad faith. That would be impossible.

  7. JHoward: and notice, it is the pragmatists like Moran who are good, while the people killing the country are those who disagree with the questions that Moran routinely begs, and who hold different opinions about the motives of the left he continues to believe is acting in good faith.

    Note, to, that for Moran, pragmatists view the world as it is, and … what? Are forced in perpetuity to follow its trajectory, even if intellectually and ideologically they think it wrong and dangerous? — all because that’s what marks one as a pragmatist in the first place?

    Now who’s being the ideologue…

  8. What’s that? A former high-ranking Democrat staffer (now talking head) coordinating messages with a White House which contains the former first lady of the WH in which said staffer worked?

    The deuce you say!

  9. On the plus side, JHo, the comments there are almost entirely dismissive of Moran.

    So we’ve made some progress since 2008, when we were told we were being unhelpful.

    That is, we’re still being unhelpful, per Moran, but fewer people want to hear his harsh truths.

  10. “. . . coordinating messages . . . ”

    To all appearances, at the time, letting the unrecognized cat out of the bag into a vacuum of political space, bewildering everyone listening. I wonder whether, while he was privately laughing up his sleeve at his little joke, Stephanopoulos asked himself if he had given away too much, alerting his political opposition to the measure to come? Nah.

  11. George Stephanopoulos: I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States…

    Fine if you a a partisan member of the president’s staff (you should be loyal and on message), rather creepy when you are an ABC reporter moderating a GOP debate. Boy, that was only a month ago. It seems like ancient history. Bill Jacobson is right about this, this was not a coincidence. ABC and the White House are working actively together.

  12. If one defines pragmatism as viewing the world as it is, prioritizing what’s important, and recognizing the validity and good faith of the other side in order to work together to solve problems…

    If one defines pragmatism that way, one is a big ol’ fat stateist.

    How’s this: If one defines pragmatism as viewing the world as it is, prioritizing what’s important, and recognizing the validity and good faith of the other side in order individual to work together to solve out his own problems, the state can confine itself to being referee instead of player.

    Our government is supposed to give equality under the law, not enforce equality by the law. People that see the role of government as “solving problems” are scarey.

  13. Doesn’t MMFA have a non-profit? How could this effect that?

  14. Pingback: Catholics get a look at the iron fist » Cold Fury

  15. (Re #3, I thought “Frothing Insinuations™” was correct, but the search function in Firefox for Android wouldn’t let me find it in any of the pages I was able to find for “frothing” in PW’s onsite search engine.)

  16. It has been astounding to see the press go from slavering barely leashed attack dog during the Bush administration to whipped cur of a lapdog during the Obama administration.

    As much as the press covered for Clinton, at least MSM felt they had to report something.

  17. The Daily Caller prints another story on MediaMatters, the third in the series: Politico reporter withheld information about liberal Media Matters For America

    About a year ago, the organization Media Matters For America gave Politico reporter Ben Smith a 2010 planning memo for a profile he was writing on the liberal advocacy group.

    But Smith curiously withheld key parts of the 89-page document when he published his story, “Media Matters’ war against Fox,” in March 2011.

    The Daily Caller became aware of this after obtaining the same document while reporting the series “Inside Media Matters,” which debuted here late Sunday night.

    It’s not clear why Smith, who recently left Politico for the website BuzzFeed, didn’t include more specifics from the lengthy document in his March 2011 story if he had the full copy.

    Approached by The Daily Caller about this on Monday, Smith reacted by subsequently posting most of the memo online at BuzzFeed. His version did not include the final five pages, which contained a Media Matters For America three-year budget outline.

  18. The Four Minute Men were a group of volunteers authorized by the President Woodrow Wilson, to give four-minute speeches on topics given to them by The Committee on Public Information. The topics dealt with the American war effort in the First World War and were presented during the four minutes between reel changing in movie theaters across the country.

    link

    Obama campaign launches its state ‘truth teams’

  19. How did ideologue get to be such a dirty word?

    As long as one’s ideology is sound, it seems a desirable trait to me.

  20. it is fun to listen to ,the wabc feed at break time on the mark levin show, the prison guards unions in nyc with their chanting: “yes we can” baracky ad.

  21. It has been astounding to see the press go from slavering barely leashed attack dog during the Bush administration to whipped cur of a lapdog during the Obama administration.

    That’s the truth, Blake. I’ve always been deeply suspicious of the press, but these last four years have been something else (I’m including all the obfuscating from the last campaign). I find myself saying bad words to my TV and my car radio a lot, and that includes both the port and starboard sides. I try to be informed as possible, and I thank our host for gathering so many fine minds in one place (Go Jeff!) to help sift through the bullshit. This is the only blog where I read nearly all the posts and nearly always learn something.

    You’re a beacon in the storm, y’all!

  22. Ideology has an interesting history B. Moe, as a term of political or philosophical intention. But one thing is fairly sure about its early birthing in the sense in which it is used today, and that is that it was begun in ridicule and has never seemed to shake it, no matter the many many gyrations it has undergone down the years.

  23. “As long as one’s ideology is sound, it seems a desirable trait to me.”

    ask the obama media? oh never mind.

  24. Ideology has an interesting history B. Moe, as a term of political or philosophical intention. But one thing is fairly sure about its early birthing in the sense in which it is used today, and that is that it was begun in ridicule and has never seemed to shake it, no matter the many many gyrations it has undergone down the years.

    There’s a point that needs making here but I don’t know how to make it.

    On the one hand, B. Moe’s comment stands on its own quite well. If ideologue means this, then how can one go astray? Yet, Kirk goes here*:

    Ideology does not mean political theory or principle, even though many journalists and some professors commonly employ the term in that sense. Ideology really means political fanaticism- and more precisely, the belief that this world of ours may be converted into the Terrestrial Paradise through the operation of positive law and positive planning. The ideologue- Communist or Nazi or of whatever affiliation- maintains that human nature and society may be perfected by mundane, secular means, though these means ordinarily involve violent social revolution. The ideologue immanentizes religious symbols and inverts religious doctrines.

    That isn’t what B. Moe meant. But, we can — in the greater context of his works — see exactly what he, Kirk, means.

    Likewise, we see “value”, “society”, and “culture” in a similar manner. Value (as a thing in itself rather than a relative worth) and kultur I’ve become more and more aware of. I understand exactly what you mean. Yet, this is quite often not what others mean. Yet, again (this argument has more than a couple “other hands”, it has multitudes) the insidious, often German (and by that I do mean Kantian by origin) does seep in. It’s almost the nature of these concepts that even while using them as placeholders for a certain vague meaning the original still somehow finds a way to corrupt.

    We enter into a place where we only sorta know what one another mean while equally distrusting. What a terrible way to use language as a medium. I don’t know that scare quotes fit our needs nor ironic usage in general.

    I think we need to coin some words to fill the gaps and avoid fucked up German philosophy.

    If this sounds a bit silly I’d like to remind the reader that I started by saying that there’s a piont that needs making here and I don’t know how to do it.

    * First, I’m sorry for the poor sourcing but I believe it be correct. Second, this is how I sometimes use ideology as a thing separate from conservatism. It’s Burkean in its own way. The same way that one can view pragmatism (not in pw usage) as the predominant conservative ethic far above ideology. The referents are equally true and opposite! And here we find in a footnoted microcosm the greater thing itself. The end.

  25. Ideology really means political fanaticism- and more precisely, the belief that this world of ours may be converted into the Terrestrial Paradise through the operation of positive law and positive planning.

    That’s just silly. That’s succumbing to intentionalism fail. That’s pragmatism, and not in a good way. Being principled is not a political crime.

  26. my allan whitney houston died and peeps say loser. or hollyweird/effin wierd. all praise to the happyfeet’s peeps

  27. Kirk isn’t silly. He’s using words differently than we’re using them.

    He’s equating ideology with utopia. We’re not. That’s what I’m talking about as a usage issue.

  28. One simple way to think of it, or at least the simple way I’ve been inclined to go (which doesn’t by any means imply it’s the best way), is just to dissect the word, plainly. So, ideo- is the root meaning more or less “idea” or “thought”, and -ology is our common suffix meaning “logos”, which in turn is “account” or “study of” or something like that. So, putting the two together, we have “the study of ideas” or “the study of thinking”, so to speak.

    But, that’s strange, at least in a political context, no? Well, yes. But in fact, that’s where the word started out. Sciences, new sciences or divisions of science as a whole were being “discovered” or created in profusion in the 16th and 17th centuries. Hobbes, and Locke after him, grounded our politics, our rights, on elements of human nature. As a consequence, the need to “study” human nature became apparent, and thus the study of ideas or ideation was born. Think, Locke(An Essay concerning Human Understanding), or Hume (An inquiry concerning Human Understanding), for that matter. And there were others studying these things. Thinking about thinking.

    But, along comes Napoleon, the man of action, who takes up the name of these students of thinking about thinking for mockery. How ridiculous, he says. These twits think they are all about politics, but I, Napoleon, I am what politics is really all about. These fools know nothing. Marx notices Napoleon’s mockery, and being Marx, and by that I mean, being a political philosopher who has nothing but contempt for the foolish metaphysicians who would ground political philosophy in nature(!), ha!, nature! Imbecilic! Marx joins in, mocking the “ideologists”, the men of false doctrines. And so it goes.

  29. Okay, I need to pace around and think about that with a cigarette or two.

  30. I’ll go look up the kicker. brb.

  31. B. Moe is talking about definition; Kirk is talking about connotation in the Approved™ vernacular. Pragmatic souls are revolted by ideas and principles, and so they are only too happy to encourage others to be likewise — hence the twist given in Approved™ usage to make “ideology” not merely dirty, but vulgar and despicable.

  32. The kicker:

    . . . this is the meaning which it took on in Marx and was then taken over by half-Marxists and by non-Marxists and now it is a perfectly respectable term, so much so that Khrushchev for example, when as I was told even Stalin himself has spoken of the Marxist ideology. Imagine! [wide student laughter] But today it is quite common. People use, otherwise sensible people shout for an ideology! They want to have an ideology, by which they mean I suppose they want to have a coherent body of doctrine which guides them in their actions and they call it an ideology, but an ideology is, has according — in this respect I would regard the authority of Marx as absolutely decisive, an ideology is a wrong doctrine. One shouldn’t really speak of it except – uh er – under great provocation or pressure.

    Strauss, Lecture – Intro to Poli. Philos. 1965, session 1

  33. Okay, upon reflection, I think I’m making a notational argument. Simply put, we need a way to express the way we mean a thing without extended context so that we can use terms without going on at length.

    Let’s take B. Moe’s usage. I’ll call it the logistician or geometer’s approach. “As long as one’s ideology is sound” means that axioms (or principles in our usage) lead to positive, non-conflicting results. Perhaps this is marked with italics and an exclamation point!

    I can then take your usage. We could call it etymology but as I know you it should be imbued with a form of classicism. Not just the original meaning but the original meaning in context. Let’s mark this with ?ALL CAPS PROCEEDED BY A QUESTION MARK.

    Kirk’s usage involves using empirical evidence in a Burkean manner. Perhaps when we constrain :( modern overindulgence by historical examples of failure we put sad face emoticons around it:(

    This is my notational argument. They can all make sense. But, it’s not so easy to convey that sense without some conventions.

    (I don’t mean this in the most serious way but we do have problems in this regard.)

  34. heh, but I have trouble typing while laughing very hard, not to mention attempting to remember the notational contexts as the tears flow down my cheeks.

  35. Or, we could just make new words to convey the old concepts?

    So,
    “Lockean” ideology – cheeryideology
    “Marxian” ideology — raspberryideology
    “morphed modern” ideology — sideupdownideology
    “Kirkian” ideology — grumpyideology

    and so on.

  36. More grist for the kultur-mill. Just this afternoon I ran into a reference to Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents, went looking and stumbled on the German (original) title: Das Unbehagen in der Kultur, the “uneasiness” or “disquiet” etc.

  37. A fourth in the series at Daily Caller: Media Matters memo called for hiring private investigators ‘to look into the personal lives’ of Fox employees

    A little after 1 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2009, Karl Frisch emailed a memo to his bosses, Media Matters for America founder David Brock and president Eric Burns. In the first few lines, Frisch explained why Media Matters should launch a “Fox Fund” whose mission would be to attack the Fox News Channel.

    “Simply put,” Frisch wrote, “the progressive movement is in need of an enemy. George W. Bush is gone. We really don’t have John McCain to kick around any more. Filling the lack of leadership on the right, Fox News has emerged as the central enemy and antagonist of the Obama administration, our Congressional majorities and the progressive movement as a whole.”

    “We must take Fox News head-on in a well funded, presidential-style campaign to discredit and embarrass the network, making it illegitimate in the eyes of news consumers.”

  38. Google makes that “The malaise in the culture”.

  39. The word B. Moe mentioned was ideologue not ideology. Whether Ideology is taken as the study of ideas or as a connotation of a set of ideas the ideologue is one who is fixated, fanatical about a certain idea or set of ideas. It is the fanaticism that is the hallmark not the ideas that the fixation is focused on.

  40. Shit, I’ll be awake for awhile apparently. Yay, work!

    Okay, another way to skin this cat involves using a train of thought from Jeff that I quite like. One of Jeff’s arguments is that pragmatism as they (the useless guys on Team R) describe it isn’t. It’s a truth that we all repeat in various ways in various circumstances. Hey, smart guys, how come what you keep advocating is a failure? Which is to say, why isn’t your pragmatism working? Think of that. Is there any non-ironic way that pragmatism never works?

    Likewise, part of Jeff’s argument is that an ideological approach does indeed work. It yields results. It’s practical and functional. It’s their ideology that is fruitless and hopelessly theoretical. Proven to be. Dole. McCain. Romney. Yet they cling to their witchcraft in the hopes of one day seducing the moderates with their heretofore unproven brilliance.

    What we’ve somehow achieved is a transmutation of terms. Just as with “liberalism”.

  41. I think, and Kirk seems to agree, that apparently an ideologue is someone whose ideology is different than yours.

    I might be stealing that from Ambrose Bierce.

  42. He’s equating idealogy with utopia.

    FTFY

  43. The word B. Moe mentioned was ideologue not ideology. Whether Ideology is taken as the study of ideas or as a connotation of a set of ideas the ideologue is one who is fixated, fanatical about a certain idea or set of ideas. It is the fanaticism that is the hallmark not the ideas that the fixation is focused on.

    I think geoffb has our current use in politics just about exactly right there, especially in the sense he articulates as “. . . the ideologue is one who is fixated, fanatical about a certain idea or set of ideas. It is the fanaticism that is the hallmark.”

    I’m pretty sure that’s the sense in which I’d use the term with regard to Obama, for instance, particularly when he sets a policy which makes no sense (in the world: open hand of friendship to Iran?) on its face but does adhere mechanically to his ideological program.

    There is no use today, so far as I know, which attributes to ideology as such the sense that it intends the “study of ideas” or a “connotation of ideas” however. That use has been left far far behind, and to that extent been replaced by various newer terms like psychology, cognitive science and the like. And in that sense, the study has more grip and power on current thinking than we may realize, and still, as it happens, emerging from more or less the same motivation as those old fellas who founded the science. Which, how about that?

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