Legitimizing Anti-Sociality

Perlstein Rant:

Often folks ask me how America can be saved from its present course. Not by changing wingnuts—they will always be wingnuts, same methods and worldview since the 1950s; and not by changing the hearts corporate plutocrats—ditto, since the dawn of corporate capitalism; BUT SHAMING MEDIA GATEKEEPERS WHO LEGITMIZE THEIR ANTISOCIALITY AS MERELY “ONE SIDE OF THE ISSUE” IS UTTERLY NEW WITHIN THE PAST THREE DECADES. To wit…

Andrew Breitbart, the Right’s Frenetic Blogger Provocateur
Andrew Breitbart uses his network of Web sites and their legions of followers to bring conservative media red meat.

I honestly don’t know how many more glowing profiles of the bad boy blogger the country needs, but there seems to be a tremendous appetite for them in the mainstream media.

And what Perlstein says about this is absolutely true: the guy is not normal, he is not the Right’s answer to Hunter S Thompson or even Abbie Hoffman. He’s a con-man and a truly malevolent liar who is just the latest wingnut creature to be feted by the media as an interesting “celebrity” phenomenon rather than the political operative he is. Media Matters unpacks this NY Times atrocity in detail, pointing out not only the cavalier avoidance of discussing his real purpose, but also the massive errors of fact involved in all of his so-called scoops, none of which are mentioned in the paper of record.

But it’s a mistake to only focus on Breitbart. As Perlstein writes, this journalistic convention is one of the things that’s killing us. They are legitimizing anti-social political behavior to the point where the depraved Ann Coulter — featured in a cover story in TIME magazine just a few years back — is still considered an acceptable guest on a staid political round table hosted by Fareed Zakaria. Indeed, there’s an entire generation of these hideous right wing destroyers of any and all rules of engagement who are treated as perfectly normal political players by the mainstream press.

I’m with Perlstein. If you want to figure out what’s gone awry, don’t look to the malefactors of wealth or the right wingnuts, they’ve always been around doing their thing. What’s different is our allegedly free press being neither adversarial, openly partisan or responsible any combination of which would at least create the conditions within which a democracy could function. As it is, hoaxsters, hucksters and millionaires seem to be the only ones able to manage.

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