Thursday, January 13, 2005

Noonan on Rathergate

Peggy Noonan remarks, "Half the writers for the Sunday New York Times are eccentrics home in their pajamas," in her piece about the downfall of mainstream media (MSM). She has a unique vantage point, being a conservative and having grown up professionally in the media over the last few decades. She's as reliable a source as there is for understanding how the MSM came to be and what took it down. Another choice quote is this one regarding Howard Fineman who, to his credit, acknowledges MSM's biases: "Mr. Fineman, a fluid writer who is likely aware of his own biases--I have wondered if he doesn't track them to make sure they are in line with the biases of Newsweek and MSNBC, which employ him. . . ."

Additionally, Noonan's piece on the education of Dan Rather a few weeks ago is a political-psychological masterpiece, detailing how a kid from Texas without much but big ambition made it to the top of network news. According to Noonan:

"Ultimately this is what I think was true about Dan and his career. It's not very nice but I think it is true. He was a young, modestly educated Texas boy from nowhere, with no connections and a humble background. He had great gifts, though: physical strength, attractiveness, ambition, commitment and drive. He wanted to be a star. He was willing to learn and willing to pay his dues. He covered hurricanes and demonstrations, and when they got him to New York they let him know, as only an establishment can, what was the right way to think, the intelligent enlightened way, the Eastern way, the Ivy League way, the Murrow School of Social Justice way. They let him know his simple Texan American assumptions were not so much wrong as not fully thought through, not fully nuanced, not fully appreciative of the multilayered nature of international political realities. He swallowed it whole."

That's very tough stuff, the kind of stuff people pay a lot of money for in psychoanalysis -- if they can find an analyst who doesn't share the typical liberal biases and who's willing to be so frank with a paying patient.


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