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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Illiberal Insiderism

by digby

Atrios says that this Imus flap isn't about rappers, despite Howard Kurtz going on TV and spouting MSM talking points to that effect. That is correct --- there is a conversation to be had about misogynist rap lyrics, but that's not what we're talking about here.

I just had a conversation with a wingnut in which I was held responsible for Imus because the so-called liberal media were his strongest defenders so therefore, they are racists, which makes me a racist also. Did you get that logic? That's where they're going with this, folks.

I have written before about my pet peeve that people believe the mainstream media represent liberalism, particularly the alleged liberals of the punditocrisy. (Think Richard Cohen.) And because of this, they also don't have a clue what "liberals" really believe in since politicians babble in politico speak and these sanctioned pundits and talking heads are so incoherent that they rarely make any sense.

Regardless of their designated perch on the media political spectrum, the fact is that these people are part of a decadent political establishment, which has almost nothing to do with liberalism anymore (if it ever did.) But the successful conflation of "liberal" and "media" has brought all the disgust at the pompous clubbiness of the media gasbags down on our heads and I resent the hell out of it.

This is why I'm so repulsed with this Imus mess. Yes, he's a racist, misogynist jerk --- he has smugly made millions shedding crocodile tears each time he "goes off the rails" and everybody knew it. The SCLM eagerly pimped their books on his little public cocktail party and gave us a very valuable window into the way these people relate to one another. It is how we knew exactly what they were doing. We write about it every day, (and are loathed by the elite media for having the temerity to call them on it.) This is the very essence of the leftwing critique of the political press.

So I'm damned if I'm going to be held responsible for these people. They do not represent me or my thinking and haven't for decades. If they want to sell their books on racist radio shows, they can have at it. But I'd really appreciate it if their magazines and newspapers would designate them as what they are instead of saying that they are representative of liberalism or progressivism --- or anything other than insiderism.

Media Matters has helpfully compiled a list of those who have made the pilgrimage to Imus in 2007. I guess none of these pundits, writers and journalists noticed that Clarence Page, Eugene Robinson, Gwen Ifill, Cynthia Tucker or any other black colleagues from major publications or broadcast networks were conspicuously absent from Imus's show. (Perhaps in their mind, Harold Ford speaks for all African Americans, including journalists.)

It's not that there should be a quota. But when someone has repeatedly been taken to task for his racist "jokes" and there seem to be almost no minorities on the show, you'd think that some of these people might have asked themselves whether they might be tacitly endorsing something wrong by palling around with him so blatantly.

We know this happens on the rightwing hate radio all the time. The president himself appears on Rush even though Rush says repeatedly that half the country aren't even real Americans and are routinely committing treason. That seems a little bit beneath the leader of the free world, but that's just me. However, the Democrats and the media elite who patronize the Imus on-air frat party aren't much better. Talk radio in general has been a sewer for many, many years now and nobody in the media ever seemed to give a damn, constantly making excuses and calling it good fun. They still are.

This scandal finally puts to rest that old liberal media trope. There is no liberal political media of any consequence in our culture. There is establishment media, which is actively hostile to liberalism and there is conservative media which is part of the wingnut welfare system. So they can call the Imus regulars whatever they want, but don't call them liberal.

It's like when Ann Coulter said they should string up John Walker Lind so liberals would know what could happen to them (as if we dirty hippies on the left are supportive of conservative religious extremists!)so too my wingnut friend's idea that "liberal" racists are defending Don Imus. It just doesn't make sense when you stop and think about it. These pals of his may or may not be racists but it's pretty clear that by hanging around so comfortably with one who makes such a huge profit selling racism that they certainly aren't liberals.

Update: MSNBC is dropping Imus. I 'll look forward to hearing what all his defenders say now.