Mike the Mad Biologist

Can We Impeach the Potomac Punditocracy?

Usually, I add good weekend posts to my weekend roundup, but Glenn Greenwald’s post about the soulessness of the Mainstream Media Mandarins is so good, it deserves some special Mad Biologist commentary. Greenwald writes about how the Punditocracy has completely misread Sen. Russ Feingold because they are unable to comprehend how any politician could act on principle or belief (italics mine):

Beltway pundits and the leaders of the Beltway political and consulting classes all, in unison, immediately began casting aspersions on Feingold’s motives and laughed away — really never considered — the idea that he was motivated by actual belief, let alone the merits of his proposal.

That’s because they believe in nothing. They have no passion about anything. And they thus assume that everyone else suffers from the same emptiness of character and ossified cynicism that plagues them. And all of their punditry and analysis and political strategizing flows from this corrupt root.

Not only do they believe in nothing, they think that a Belief in Nothing is a mark of sophistication and wisdom. Those who believe in things too much — who display political passion or who take their convictions and ideals seriously (Feingold, Howard Dean) — are either naive or, worse, are the crazy, irrational, loudmouth masses and radicals who disrupt the elevated, measured world of the high-level, dispassionate Beltway sophisticates (James Carville, David Broder, Fred Hiatt). They are interested in, even obsessed with, every aspect of the political process except for deeply held political beliefs — the only part that really matters or that has any real worth.

For that reason, when Feingold announced his censure resolution, the merits of it were virtually ignored…

Greenwald then scribes one of the best descriptions of Potomac Punditocracy I’ve ever read (italics mine):

The Beltway pundit class and the premises which generate conventional Washington wisdom are corrupt to their core and always wrong. And this Feingold announcement illustrates a major reason why that it so. They operate from a set of completely unexamined, empty premises that reflect their own character and belief system, but nobody else’s. They have no core convictions and no passion and think that those attributes are the marks of sober, responsible people. And they project those character flaws onto everyone else and assume that nobody other than unserious lunatics are motivated by real belief.

All of that combines to produce a worldview that is as inaccurate as it is bereft of integrity and principle.

There’s another problem with this fin-de-siecle ammorality. People who are motivated by idealism and belief are what make this country work, whether it’s a doctor who forgoes high pay to work in a poor area, a college graduate who chooses teaching over making lots of money, or someone who volunteers his or her time to help others. The ammorality of much of the media, particularly the segment that covers the government, an institution with the potential to help millions, is disastrous because it can lead has led to cynicism about our ability to help others in need.

Can we impeach the media?

Comments

  1. #1 PhysioProf
    November 12, 2006

    In my opinion, Greenwald is one of the most astute political analysts around. It is remarkable that he puts together on average two outstanding columns every day.

  2. #2 MarkP
    November 12, 2006

    This has the rather irritating effect of turning every political discussion into a debate about tactics, with little time devoted to actually (gasp!) whether or not the position in question is a good idea. It’s as if they have forgotten that politics is not a football game, and that there is a point to it all that goes far beyond the scoreboard. When we elect an idiot to high office, we ALL lose.