05 February 2016

The New York Times, the Establishment and the Electorate

I was listening to a programme called 'Pastor's Perspective' on a local Christian radio station and the roundtable unanimously condemned the New York Times as insanely liberal and living in a fantasy world. Every aspect of its reporting is to be questioned if not outright rejected.

The paper is certainly worthy of criticism. This recent piece from The Intercept exposes once again its establishment bias.

The Times is not a 'liberal' paper per se. It is probably more correct to refer to it as the newspaper of record viz. the Establishment mouthpiece. That label is usually meant to be a point of pride or endorsement. It is most certainly nothing of the kind.

And I can also assure these fine pastors the Establishment does not quite meet the definitions of liberal. Perhaps when it comes to certain economic issues the Establishment may represent viewpoints that the Far Right considers to be liberal, but they are in fact mistaken in their classification, not understanding the nature of the system they promote and its eventual and quite necessary elevation/evolution to Corporatism.

The Establishment might not echo or parallel the social agenda of the Christian Right either, but I still would argue that doesn't make them liberal. The terms themselves sort of break down at this point. The Establishment might be 'progressive' on certain issues, believing that society needs to change with certain trends. In another sense it is the Evangelical Right that is trying to shift well established societal norms.

But these are in reality peripheral issues.

The Times is dedicated to preserving the Establishment order, the reigning system and architectonic apparatus that is the American Empire. In some respects, at least on a macro level, that's about as conservative as you can get.

I often hear its reporting mocked as if it's sub-par. It's nothing of the kind. While the governing assumptions must be questioned as we indeed must question the arguments of any unbeliever, the overall quality of the journalism is decent. It's simply limited in its scope by its adherence to the paradigm. On some issues it will be excellent, on others good but reductionist and finally and some wholly biased even deceptive.

If I can add an element of confusion to the mix, there are journalists within the framework that question the system. As the already fading Snowden episode demonstrates those types of reporters tend to move on. The Times and organisations like it end up frustrating them.

And it must also be added that there are real dissensions and disagreements within the ruling apparatus. They all operate under the same assumptions within the same Establishment Circle... but within that framework they can have sharp disagreements in how to get from point A to point B.

It may surprise this pastoral roundtable to discover that those on the actual 'extreme left' actually snort at the New York Times. They might (like me) read it from time to time. I'm always happy to pick up a copy and nurse a cup of coffee while I peruse it. But they will by no means consider it to be an ally. I read it in the same sense that I would the Wall Street Journal, though to be honest I think the Times is superior.

The Times has been pretty vicious with Hilary Clinton. A lot of people on the left were shocked at the overt bias against her.

Of course the real left doesn't view the Clintons as allies or even fellow-travelers. From the standpoint of the left, the Clintons are something closer to Center-Right.

When it comes to foreign policy and commentary the Times like virtually all US media outlets including 'liberal' NPR follows the Establishment line. You cannot get good foreign affairs coverage from any mainstream American media outlet. That said, as bad as the Times is on this point, it's still miles ahead of the mainstream television channels and most periodicals.

Liberals are often less than pleased with the Times coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian issue...

Let alone the Syria coverage.

Finally with regard to Sanders, many partakers of Establishment media would be surprised to learn that he's not greatly appreciated by the far left let alone by actual 'Socialists'.

Whether they're right or wrong in this assessment it's already clear Sanders is not really all he purports to be and his campaign increasingly reminds one of Obama in 2008. There's a lot of talk and big ideas that channel popular energies but there seems (at times) a reticence to elaborate on just how he would pursue these policies and effect these changes. In addition there's also hesitation when it comes to truly dismantling the governing apparatus. In that sense his campaign is very reminiscent of Obama.

I personally don't think it's possible. He would be destroyed before he got past the first step or two. I think president-elect Obama in November-December 2008 had already capitulated. Whether he was scared, intimidated, bought or simply railroaded it's hard to say. Maybe that will come out in time. But it's clear he quickly abandoned the principles he put forward during the campaign and over the course of his tenure has continued to move to the right. He's increased American militarism. Don't listen even for a moment to the rhetoric being belched forth by the GOP candidates. They are deliberately misleading their audiences and I have to believe they know it. His economic policies have benefited the corporate system. Contrary to popular perception he really did almost nothing in terms of homosexual marriage. That ball was already rolling and was largely outside his court.

Though it's not proper to refer to him as a lame-duck until after this November... I've noticed many media outlets making this error. That said, in many ways he's been a lame duck since 2010. Due to gridlock there's not much he can do. His presidency in some ways reminiscent of Carter's failed term demonstrates the office is actually quite limited in power. He can snap his fingers and drop bombs, initiate commando raids etc... The Unitary Executive in extending the 'war' to almost every aspect of society grants him certain powers but in many other ways he's completely shackled.

If Sanders actually won the election he would be neutralised. Whether that's through bureaucratic obstruction or something else his agenda would not be implemented.

Finally with regard to the media the most interesting thing with regard to Trump is that he's taken the 'Teflon' label to a new level. It's absolutely unbelievable. He simply dismisses any challenge to his narrative, any exposure or inconsistency or prevarication. He just ignores it and marches on. Listening to coverage of a Cruz rally this morning I didn't know whether to laugh or cry as I'm listening to the crowd cheering and duck-calling one of the buffoons from the Duck Dynasty reality-TV programme who was there to endorse the Canadian Cruz. Of course many of these folks are professing Christians. And as the Duck people, Palin and many others, they're just making merchandise of the apostate Church and laughing all the way to the bank... and hell in the end.

But that's where things are at. The electorate and the Christian populace have been reduced to such utter stupidity and ignorance that they will support people like Trump and Palin. It's judgment and God-sent delusion. Palin in addition to being incapable of speaking coherently needs her mouth washed out. Such filth would have been unthinkable a generation ago. She's a vile creature to be sure and a disgrace of a wife and mother but the fact (once again) that the Church seems to support her says a lot more about them than her. She's just in it for the money.

Is the Almighty intending to bring down this Babylon? Undoubtedly it will fall in the end. Is it going to happen sooner rather than later? It may very well be the case. Even after Nero and Commodus, Rome marched on for many generations. Today things tend to 'come together' a little faster so the same delayed result isn't likely.

But, it may be that a hundred years from now historians will be looking at these years as something of a turning point in the decline and fall of the American Empire.

No one knows what will happen if Trump takes over. In some ways he's not as 'extreme' as many would believe. That could be argued extensively. Even his rhetoric is sometimes little more than a faux paus, a vocalisation of viewpoints and attitudes many hold but you're not supposed to say out loud in polite society. But he is a train wreck to be sure and 90% of what he proposes will be obstructed, entangled and fail.

I think he in his arrogance would try to work around the law and he would likely foment a constitutional crisis as the Establishment would seek his removal. That might lead to more Ammon Bundy episodes and spark a lot of trouble.

I think where he's scary is in the realm of foreign policy. By no means do I wish the Establishment to continue its wicked deeds and warmongering but Trump would likely pour gasoline on smoldering fires and do something truly reckless. That said there are those in the Establishment that would love nothing more. Blood feeds the war machine as it eats its way across the land. That's an all too true lyric I remember from my pagan days. Trump might take a page from Nixon's 'Madman' approach to some of these tensions. He certainly fits the bill.

His rhetoric, demeanour and policies are reminiscent not so much of Hitler but of Mussolini. Of course initially Mussolini was praised by many American corporate leaders and figures such as the racist Winston Churchill. His 'moral compass' wasn't always so finely tuned despite the myths perpetuated by his Anglo-American cult.

If Trump had some thugs that were instigating violence on the streets and beating up his detractors then we would be repeating the episode. We're not quite there but there are definitely echoes and it's not too hard to imagine the scenario coming to pass.

It's no surprise (at all) that the Christian Right, figures like Falwell Jr. and Palin are supporting this. It actually makes perfect sense. Their 'worldview' teaching has proven to be little more than self-confirming propaganda and has sacralised a false narrative. They have proven time and time again that they don't understand history and most certainly the events surrounding World War II. It's often the case that what they think they are against is in fact what they are wholeheartedly supporting.