Free Markets, Free People


Reporters and politicians in Flatland (with update: Bennett ousted from race)

Suppose you were talking to an architect about a new building. You had an acre of land in an urban area, and you wanted to put up a set of offices.

The architect sketches out a one-floor plan for you, but it doesn’t contain the number of offices you want. So you suggest that he make the building have additional floors.

Then he looks at you as if there’s something wrong with you, and carefully explains that he can’t go any further in any direction because you don’t have enough land. He seems totally oblivous to the idea that there’s another dimension, and it’s possible to go upwards.

You would think he was a brain-damaged architect, and you would be right.

So how about professional media people who do interviews like this CNN one with Bob Bennett?

This woman interviewer seems totally confused about the political spectrum. It’s clear to me that in her mind, it only runs in one dimension, from left/liberal to conservative.

Further, she seems to equate “conservative” with social conservative, bitter clinger types. Bob Bennett has consistently supported the bitter clinger issues, so she’s dumbfounded about why the Tea Party people don’t like him.

However, her mental model of one-dimensional politics and her de-facto conflation of “conservative” with “social conservative” has a big advantage for her. It enables her to completely avoid talking about the real issues.

Her entire piece is slanted to make a member of the Washington political class look good and his opponents look bad. She conveniently never brings up the issues of government size, exploding debt, or high and increasing taxation.

She glosses over the healthcare debate by mentioning that the fair-minded (in her obvious opinion) Bennett introduced a watered down healthcare bill with a Democrat, and the Tea Partiers don’t forgive him for that. She obviously thinks that’s crazy (as does Bennett), but neither of them are going to go anywhere near examining why the Tea Partiers hate the way the healthcare debate turned out so much, or that they are eager to repeal that bill.

These members of the political class (both the reporter and Bennett) are supposed to be professionals, which ought to imply that they understand the additional dimensions of political philosophy, including the difference between social conservatism and libertarian/conservative. They obviously don’t. The prefer to live in a Flatland version of politics, and pretend that the other dimensions don’t exist.

They blather on about how there’s some kind of strange, out-of-nowhere animus to everyone in Washington, as if this irrational urge just suddenly appeared for no logical reason.

They both seem singularly uninterested in getting to the heart of what the Tea Partiers actually believe. Far easier to just shake their heads more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger at such irrational beings, who clearly just don’t understand what paragons such as Bob Bennett have done for us. The idea that such paragons have pushed us, and the rest of the world, to the edge of an economic meltdown that could easily dwarf the Great Depression is apparently not something that impinges on their consciousness.

Well, d@mmit, they’re professionals in the field of politics! Why don’t they understand more about the dimensions of political theory that exist out there? Why do they have to cling to a one-dimensional mental model that has shown itself inadequate to explaining what’s going on?

We all know the reason, don’t we. The media is merely a part of the political class, and is more interested in defending that class than in understanding what’s going on and reporting on it. They prefer to be ignorant of other options. That makes it easy for their internal rationalizations that everyone opposed to the political class is just whacked. They can believe themselves to be fair-minded and objective, by denying the very existence of a logical, consistent philosophy that opposes what they believe.

That’s why I detest them so much. They are worse than the marchers at an ANSWER rally, who at least are honest about what they believe in. The vast majority of journalists are lying to both themselves and us by pretending to be objective reporters and analysts on what’s happening in the world, while they are actually heavily biased, abysmally ignorant about the subjects they cover, and motivated primarily by a desire to legitimize the political class and de-legitimize everyone who seriously opposes it.

*** Update 5:45 PM CST ***
The AP reports that Bob Bennett did not make it through the state GOP convention. He finished a distant third.

The reporting is a somewhat better than the CNN effort I slammed earlier:

Bennett is the first incumbent to lose his seat in Washington this year, the victim of a conservative movement angered by rising taxes and the growth of government.

Bennett was targeted by tea party activists and other groups for supporting a massive bailout of the financial industry, securing earmarks for his state and for co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill to mandate health insurance coverage.

I’d still like to see some mention of the general driving issues of the Tea Party, particularly out-of-control debt and spending, but at least this doesn’t take the CNN reporter’s line, which was basically “Those darn extremist Tea Partiers… there’s just no pleasing them.” I’m betting that some of the the Monday-morning quarterbacks we’ll see later analyzing the convention loss will join her in that assessment.

*** Update 5:55 PM CST ***

Looks like I spoke too soon; the AP article does have something about spending, taxes, and overall government size:

Bennett could become the first sitting U.S. senator to be voted out office this year amid a growing conservative movement that insists on cutting taxes, federal spending and the reach of government.

So kudos to the AP reporter for doing a much better job than the airhead from CNN.

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