The petulant entitlement syndrome of journalists

jonathan-chait

Greenwald really nails this so-called P.C. controversy Jonathan Chait just wrote about. I urge you to go read the rest:

As intended, Jonathan Chait’s denunciation of the “PC language police” – a trite note of self-victimization he’s been sounding for decades – provoked intense reaction: much criticism from liberals and praise from conservatives (with plenty of exceptions both ways). I have all sorts of points I could make about his argument – beginning with how he tellingly focuses on the pseudo-oppression of still-influential people like himself and his journalist-friends while steadfastly ignoring the much more serious ways that people with views Chait dislikes are penalized and repressed – but I’ll instead point to commentary from Alex Pareene,Amanda Marcotte and Jessica Valenti as worthwhile responses. In sum, I fundamentally agree with Jill Filipovic’s reaction: “There is a good and thoughtful piece to be written about language policing & ‘PC’ culture online and in academia. That was not it.” I instead want to focus on one specific point about the depressingly abundant genre of journalists writing grievances about how they’re victimized by online hordes, of which Chait’s article is a very representative sample:

When political blogs first emerged as a force in the early post-9/11 era, one of their primary targets was celebrity journalists. A whole slew of famous, multi-millionaire, prize-decorated TV hosts and newspaper reporters and columnists – Tom Friedman, Tim Russert, Maureen Dowd, John Burns, Chris Matthews – were frequently the subject of vocal and vituperative criticisms, read by tens of thousands of people.

It is hard to overstate what a major (and desperately needed) change this was for how journalists like them functioned. Prior to the advent of blogs, establishment journalists were largely immunized even from hearing criticisms. If a life-tenured New York Times columnist wrote something stupid or vapid, or a Sunday TV news host conducted a sycophantic interview with a government official, there was no real mechanism for the average non-journalist citizen to voice critiques. At best, aggrieved readers could write a Letter to the Editor, which few journalists cared about. Establishment journalists spoke only to one another, and careerist concerns combined with an incestuous chumminess ensured that the most influential among them heard little beyond flowery praise.

Bye bye Andrew

Blogger Andrew Sullivan

There was a lot (most) we didn’t agree on, but he was basically a decent sort (except when he got caught up in 9/11 hysteria and called anti-war bloggers “the fifth column”) and he did his best for his readers, I think.

And I know exactly what he means. Blogging takes a lot out of you, both physically and mentally — at least, blogging on a daily basis for more than ten years does. So I wish him the best.

How do I say goodbye? How do I walk away from the best daily, hourly, readership a writer could ever have? It’s tough. In fact, it’s brutal. But I know you will understand. Because after all these years, I feel I have come to know you, even as you have come to see me, flaws and all. Some things are worth cherishing precisely because they are finite. Things cannot go on for ever. I learned this in my younger days: it isn’t how long you live that matters. What matters is what you do when you’re alive. And, man, is this place alive.

When I write again, it will be for you, I hope – just in a different form. I need to decompress and get healthy for a while; but I won’t disappear as a writer.

But this much I know: nothing will ever be like this again, which is why it has been so precious; and why it will always be a part of me, wherever I go; and why it is so hard to finish this sentence and publish this post.

Every move you make

redlightcamera
I don’t know about you, but I am damn tired of living in a surveillance state:

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department has been building a national database to track in real time the movement of vehicles around the U.S., a secret domestic intelligence-gathering program that scans and stores hundreds of millions of records about motorists, according to current and former officials and government documents.

The primary goal of the license-plate tracking program, run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is to seize cars, cash and other assets to combat drug trafficking, according to one government document. But the database’s use has expanded to hunt for vehicles associated with numerous other potential crimes, from kidnappings to killings to rape suspects, say people familiar with the matter.

Officials have publicly said that they track vehicles near the border with Mexico to help fight drug cartels. What hasn’t been previously disclosed is that the DEA has spent years working to expand the database “throughout the United States,’’ according to one email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Many state and local law-enforcement agencies are accessing the database for a variety of investigations, according to people familiar with the program, putting a wealth of information in the hands of local officials who can track vehicles in real time on major roadways.

Here come the scary Kochs!

The Koch Brothers thank you for your disinterest.
The Kochs can only win if we don’t get out our base. God, it drives me crazy that Dems so consistently equate money with winning. It’s just not true, and I wonder if it isn’t just an excuse for more lazy, automatic-pilot campaigning:

When news broke Monday that conservative billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch (pictured) planned to spend almost $1 billion in the 2016 campaign cycle, Democrats fretted. Not only would that hefty sum be spent against them, but there’s no comparable billionaire on the left, Democrats noted to TPM, to counter that.

The new funding means that even in a cycle more favorable to Democrats than the last, they will face extreme fundraising pressures. The significance goes beyond just the amount of money the Kochs are spending, said Rick Hasen, an election law expert at University of California at Irvine.

“They also have a ground operation and can rival political parties in what they can do, both in influencing the [Republican] primary and in get out the vote and registration efforts in the general election,” Hasen wrote in an email to TPM.

The Kochs’ plan to spend $889 million through their network of 17 allied groups in the 2016 cycle would more than double the $407 million they spent in 2012. By comparison, the Republican National Committee and its Senate and House counterparts spent a total of $657 million in 2012.

“That amount of money can create all kinds of things,” said Nick Rathod, a former staffer in the Obama White House’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and founder of the State Innovation Exchange, which aims to be a liberal alternative to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. Through their network of organizations, the Kochs can shape “an issue environment” and frame debates around issues they want to focus on.

Rathod said “to have a billion dollars to spend on any kind of debate or frame around issues I think is very scary because you can just drown out any other voice.”

The problem is hard to remedy for Democrats. The spending advantage among the wealthiest Americans is with Republicans.

“There’s nothing on our side that can come close to matching that,” Rathod said, adding that even though people cite George Soros or other wealthy Democratic donors “we don’t have anything like that.”

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