Interesting distraction. Blogger tells me I could make about $11/month with AdSense on my blog. I'm thinking that's about $0.11/month for the privilege of irritating each of my regular readers. I refuse to do this. So don't think you aren't loved. You are loved at least eleven cents a month's worth.
Outside my office door today, co-workers complained that Trump is bringing in the KKK with his cabinet appointments, and worried with all this Russian influence that we are headed for a dictatorship. Both have graduate degrees, and are people with whom I have discussed Kafka or the Peloponnesian War, or pressures on Sami culture within the last week. Here is the interesting part that is not often noted in the conservative press. They both giggled over saying parts of this. I don't think it was nervous laughter by the sound of it. I think it was the joy of reciting the Great Secrets of Their Tribe. They liked bonding and agreeing over this. Not so hard in a human services agency to find other liberals, sure, but I think this desire to connect - not just to exclude others or demonstrate tribal acceptance, but the simple human need for contact and reassurance is what drives them.
If you really thought we were headed for a dictatorship, or that the KKK was suddenly being empowered in America you wouldn't laugh about it, not even nervously. Therefore, I conclude that something else is happening. I am reminded of CS Lewis's shock at hear soldiers during the war say offhandedly that they thought they were being propagandised, and the sins of the Germans exaggerated. They thought the rich were all lying to them anyway. Lewis wondered at this. How could men go to die for a country they thought this corrupt? I think he missed a bit of the understanding of people talking cynically like this. They are trying to show that they can't be fooled, that they can't be take in. They see through it all. Their cynicism is only at 1% this strength, but they fear to be seen as a fool.
Something similar is happening with my friends outside the door, and with hurting liberals in general after this election. Anyone who really thought the KKK was taking over would be taking up arms. They actually only believe a milk-and-water version of this, whatever they say. They want to believe they've still got it right, and the good people around them agree with them. (As they were outside my door and speaking loudly, apparently my disguise is still working.) They still vote as if they believed the extremity of bad things about their opponents, they still speak that way, and there is a part of them that thinks it might be true.
But not the part that controls their actions. They don't move to Canada, they just laugh that it would be a cool idea. They don't start organising groups of trained opposition, not most of them.
The infographic that has been making the rounds about the bias and complexity of news sources (can you imagine that Bethany of Graph Paper Diaries shared an infographic?) is interesting. First the good points, and they are real. I have seen liberals circulating this with some amazed and curious comments. If the general idea that some of their sources are better than others, and conservative sources vary in complexity penetrates at all, I am very pleased. Most will fade back to their previous reading. Yet if even a percentage get it...
Secondly, it is a good exercise for conservatives for similar reasons. I disagree with the specifics, but the general idea that some sources need to be held at arm's length is a good one, and recognising that some sources that lean left are still valuable (I personally like The Atlantic) is important. I opened back my FB follows a month after the election and unfollowed almost all of them again in 48 hours.
However, the specifics are wrong. In an effort to make a tidy graphic, facts got butchered. The huge difficulty is assigning any semblance of neutrality to that line down the middle. They are more balanced than HuffPo. But they are about even with Fox (or sometimes worse), which is presented as a highly biased source.
Let me give evidence. Today I went over to Volokh Conspiracy at the Washington Post. First point, yes they do carry VC, and good on them. They have George Will and some other more conservative columnists. But let's look at the sidebar of "most read" articles that they would like me to click on. Whenever you go to a WaPo article you get these. I consider them revelatory.
1. Ethics Experts warn that Trump is 'courting disaster.'
Okay, let's imagine the headline "Ethics experts warn that Obama is 'courting disaster.' Now or in 2008 or whenever. What brand publication on the right of the infographic would publish that? NRO and Instapundit would not be that vague with the emotive term 'ethics experts.' We're talking Drudge, Breitbart, Red State here.
2. Trump is Threatening To Wreck Our Democracy. Blame the Republicans Who Are Looking The Other Way.
Okay, " Obama is Threatening To Wreck Our Democracy. Blame the Democrats who are looking the other way." That fevered "wreck our democracy" stuff only comes off the conservative clickbait sites. Fox doesn't touch that stuff, never mind the top-of-the-chart complex ones. So the Opinion page of WaPo has some elements reminiscent of The Blaze. Great. Though to be fair, The Blaze doesn't carry anyone like a George Will of the left.
3. 'Real America' is its own bubble.
So compare to 'Elitist America' is its own bubble. This one is better. It clearly shows that WaPo slants left, but you might certainly see that second headline in a more complex conservative source like NRO, Commentary, The Federalist - as well as the clickbait sites. Biased, but not necesarily nasty.
So for openers from these three, WP leans left and sometimes even wanders into unsavory clickbait headlines.
4. Review of Rogue One - exempt from this discussion
5. If We Had Taken 'Gamergate' Seriously, We Might Not Have Had 'Pizzagate'
If we took…idk, Trayvon Martin?, Sarah Palin? Black Lives Matter? Blue Lives Matter? Who’s what here? That
one is too much of a “huh?’ for me to reverse accurately. Are they
saying if we censored or punished people on the internet then conspiracy
theories will be stopped
in their tracks? This has a clear left bias, in picking up the SJW fave of Gamergate and tacking it too the outrage du jour of Pizzagate, but I can't make an equivalent because I'm not quite sure what they're saying.
I'm betting those other sources down the center strip - NYT, NPR, AP, Reuters, etc - don't fare any better when you stack them up
I will repeat one of my general observations: The rhetoric of the mainstream left is the same as the rhetoric of the fringe right.