Monday, November 21, 2005

"The Eternal Verities"
How many of the stories coming out now under the very broad heading of botched or manipulated intelligence could have been reported and written at more or less any time over the last two years? I suspect the answer is, the great majority of them.

They're getting written now because the president's poor poll numbers make him a readier target.

I know I'm not saying anything most of you don't know. And better late than never, of course. But all working reporters and editors should consider what that says about the profession.
There has been a rightward shift in American policy over the last 30 years which follows from a shift in the attitudes of wonks and pundits. Whether the country itself has moved to the right, or how much, is a different question. But as the poles in elite opinion have moved, the position of being between them, of being neutral has moved as well. I'm not going to argue the difference between neutrality and objectivity; the latter -like Utopia- is impossible to attain, with the former a cheap stand-in for a nonexistent character. And the only way to remove the stand-in is to remove the need for one.

This refers directly to the previous post. American moderates just call themselves liberal, meaning a little to the left of wherever the right-wing is at the moment. And they're afraid even of that. No self-awareness, no real self-criticism, no sense of irony that is not cheap or passive. No sense in fact, of what they are. Social Democrats in every other country at least have the honesty to call themselves... Bourgeois.

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