Friday, March 24, 2006

Point Him At The Sky And Let Him Fly

Domenech is crashed and burned. Even the Swastika Girl says so. He's done.

Or is he?

Ben Domenech, with his awful smirk-smarm is a horrible little snotty reactionary deserving of everything he's received in the blogswarm plus some.

It's just a pity that plagiarism would be the nail in his coffin, rather than atrocious taste, slander,chickenhawkery, Abramoff connections, stupidity and last but not least, Tacitus-style pomposity. Ben Domenech should never have been hired.

But since he was, will the Post fire him? I doubt it. After all, it unashamedly publishes Howard Kurtz and Charles Krauthammer. And Howard Kurtz brings me to my point, which is old but no less true for that; my point is about the ideological spectrum: its natural tendency versus its distortion (and the perception of that distortion) through the prism of the media.

Roger Ailes anticipated Kurtz's hackery; Digby analysed it. Kurtz thinks Rush Limbaugh is mainstream, so of course he's gonna go easy on Domenech's ravings. And so he has.

Meanwhile, suggestions issue from well-meaning quarters on how to deal with the problem:

In a letter yesterday, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) said: "Balanced coverage and ideologically diverse editorials have long been hallmarks of responsible journalism. If The Post would like to appear evenhanded, I strongly suggest the Web site launch a similarly partisan liberal blog, 'Blue America.' "

Please no. The problem is that the Post -- and most other "MSM" organs -- has long ago appropriated and internalised the Kurtzian attitude to the ideological spectrum. If the Post did hire a "Blue America" blogger in the name of "balance", I promise you it would be someone cut from the Kevin Drum-Richard Cohen-Mickey Kaus-Peter Beinart cloth of quasi- or pseudo-liberal centrism. Some balance that is.

When a crypto- or quasi-fascist like Rush Limbaugh is seen as legitimate, as merely a political conservative, it shifts the guideposts, or, to stay with the spectrum metaphor, it makes what is deep red seem yellow or even green. Thus when Kurtz and others made Limbaugh seem legitimate, DLC Democrats, Bill Clinton, moderate Republicans like Chaffee and Spector, and everyone else to Limbaugh's relative Left seemed more Left in comparison. It was fair game to call them Left-Liberal and even radical. By such standards an FDR is identical to a V.I. Lenin: just as the degrees of the "acceptable" Right are expanded in such a scenario, so too are the degrees of "acceptable" Left diminished.

Domenech, and the clusterfuck of reactionary scum at Red from which he oozed, are very much the children of Limbaugh. They are not conservative by any classical or world-standard -- they are farther Right than all that. Yet the Post thought Domenech was perfectly suited to be the "typical" voice of Red America -- a judgement which works great as a joke but is unconscionable as a serious decision because it buys into the deception and repeats the distortion of what is respectable and what is truly beyond the pale.

George F. Will, a traditional (and in American politics, acceptable) reactionary, for years provided "balance" to the centrist/status quo-y Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts. For Will to be accurately balanced, however, ABC would need to hire, say, Dennis Kucinich. For Limbaugh to be balanced on air, only a certified Marxist would do. For the Post to accurately balance Domenech's extremism, they'd have to hire someone like Noam Chomsky -- which would be interesting, but the point is they'd never do it. And until they do, fuck these (again, well-meaning) calls for tit for tat: the Post's version of mainstream, acceptable liberalism is not as broad as their version of acceptable, mainstream wingnuttery, so it's silly to ask them for a balance they're incapable of delivering.

Update 2:14 PM CT: Domenech is gone but of course wasn't sacked, which would have required the Post to have principles, so it wasn't gonna happen.

See Also: mdhatter.