Monday, January 25, 2021

Taibbi. Greenwald

They haven't been censored, though I note that they are resorting to more open platforms, like Substack. 

Taibbi and Greenwald are both quite concerned what is happening in law and media.  They are still liberals in policy and outlook, but increasingly sympathetic to the conservative assessment of the national discussion. Please note how quickly liberal outlets have moved to discredit them with personal attacks - rather than factual refutations - shortly after they defected. Leaving the plantation is unforgivable. If you have always been a conservative you are merely deplorable, worthy of contempt but not much more energy than it takes to ignore you.  The long knives really come out for liberals trying to make an Unapproved Point.  Tom Friedman, who I think is a smart and observant person, has had to backtrack many times over the years to keep his standing in The Tribe after making an intelligent observation.  He lacks courage.

This is my beef with conservatives, BTW, who keep picking the wrong hills to die on, railing about the lights going off and pipes bursting in Georgia or single-incident and unconfirmed reports of ballot shenanigans. I get it that they are devoted to principle - and I do not say that with the least sneer, they are - but after a couple of throws, those were never going anywhere, however much people believe they should have gone somewhere. While you were sleeping this other censorship and silencing is going online but you have spent your energy on the other stuff and are now just disgusted and discouraged.

What is the cause of that, I wonder, that throughout my lifetime the conservatives have been often right in the main but uncannily pick the wrong hills to die on?  It is likely I am cherry picking my data on that, working only from a frustrated impression.  Still, it is worth considering.  At minimum, conservatives have not been surgical in their ability to target cancers.


Unknown said...

I seem to recall that Greenwald is no longer writing for the outfit he founded because of censorship by the current editors, and Taibbi was booted out of the country he lived in because it wrote an article critical of that country's president.

But maybe I'm missing the point.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Ah, so they are censored, then. I had thought it had not gone that far, but now that you mention it, I remember Greenwald's story a bit. Not strictly censored, more like canceled. Still, not good.

Grim said...

I suppose I ought to say something, since I'm one of the ones doing exactly what you're complaining about here.

Re: "hills," the particular clash you have set up here is explicable in terms of the conservative philosophical devotion to property. The media, however evil, is private property -- and not mine nor yours. They can do what they like, even if it's wrong, and an American conservative is going to have a hard time defending a notion of forcing them to do anything. Conservatives are always going to want to try to start their own business, not seize the means of production.

Whereas corruption in public elections is a matter that concerns all of us qua citizens. It concerns me in Georgia because I was born and raised there. It may be the wrong hill, but it really is our hill. The other one belongs to Bezos.

Ultimately that may be subject to a pragmatic criticism that it proves conservatism false. If it can't survive or defend itself given its philosophical constraints, then it will and ought to fail. The philosophy is false because it cannot survive competition in the world, and the test of truth is whether a thing works or not. Another way will have to be found.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

If it was New Hampshire, I think I would say "New Hampshire has a problem. We have to fix this before the next election." However, as elections are seldom likely to hang on NH's 4 EC votes, I might therefore be biased in favor of regarding it as a private matter for us to solve, rather than something the whole country needed to attend to. If an election ever does hang on us, I might have to eat my words. But I would feel that we had failed, and must not fail again. The ship had sailed.

As to private companies, I see the point but also note that this is increasingly murky legally. A private restaurant may get to kick you out if you are behaving badly, but it is not entirely their call what "behaving badly" is. Some sort of public access is required, though it is not conditionless. When DC restaurants refused to serve conservative politicians, they could have been taken to the cleaners and put out of business, same as refusing to serve Jews or blacks. So Twitter can make its terms of service whatever it wants to be...except probably not really. Who exactly could sue them successfully isn't easy to predict and would likely depend on what jurisdiction they were in, but it is a serious vulnerability.

AS you know, their rationale is essentially "But these people are Nazis, and we are only doing what the German citizens should have done in the 1930s, so that's a good thing."

Grim said...

Twitter I think is different -- we've discussed this at the Hall at times -- because it has successfully made itself into something like 'the public square.' Facebook might be akin to that, to a lesser degree. There are SCOTUS rulings from the mining town era that held that, even where the company literally owns the town (and thus the public square), there are strong limits to what they can do in terms of restricting political expression. They had to allow discussions of unionization, etc.

The Washington Post (or Greenwald's old outfit, The Intercept) isn't quite in the same boat as that. They're just one outlet. It's just that every one of these 'one outlets' is trending the same way at once, due to the class interests of those who own such outlets. That's a problem, and it's one I think conservatism is bad at addressing (just as it was bad, in the union era, of addressing the fact that the newspapers tended to support the wealthy mines against the legitimate interests of ordinary Americans working the mines).

Georgia's not 'mine' anymore; I moved on from there, and will never return. But I still care about her.

Harold Boxty said...

Corporations are chartered by the states and given legal and tax benefits not available to individuals. I would support revoking the corporate charter of any corporation that violates the civil liberties of the people.

Aggie said...

Taibbi and Greenwald and Weiss and Turley and Dershowitz, and others. Moments and events that are worthy material for Ayn Rand, courage of intellect and principle over the pressure to comply with rote demagoguery. They are all worthy of our support.

I won't make accusations of cherry-picking, but if I were to accuse of this, I would follow up with what I think the proper-hill-to-die-on looks like. Personally I think the backtracking on promises of meaningful vote auditing, the three-card-monte changes in election rules by authorities other than legislatures (and in some cases, after election day), and the lack of transparency in the ballot counting would all be things that the "Authorities" deserve criticism for, and worse. They should be working very hard to ensure that faith in our elections is something kept sacrosanct. Their actions in this election cycle are contrary to this principle.

Since we do not see those faith-inspiring actions in the precincts being contested, and since none of the court cases examined actual evidence, we can only conclude that, for these actors, the public's faith in elections is not important. In most of the contested precincts, the ballots are scanned in and images are on file, as the votes are counted. It's a feature that is used as a selling point for Dominion systems. The SOS in those states made prior commitments to publish them immediately after the election for ensuring public transparency. Where are they? Where is the Good Faith effort to honor prior commitments that ensure faith in elections? That seems to me to be a relevant hill to fight for.