Best friends (photo: wendyness on Flickr)

A central pillar of 21st century “conservative” dogma is that the Main Stream Media is never, ever to be trusted, as it is Liberal-Biased and Elitist and doomed to be replaced by Citizen Journalism, an enterprise which involves pretending that Sarah Palin is smart, Barack Obama is a Far-Leftist, and so forth. A fascinating corollary to the Never Trust the MSM axiom, however, is that if a particular story emerging from the MSM happens to be congruent with fondly cherished wingnut fantasy, that story must be implicitly trusted as conveying Unimpeachable Fact and, indeed, Wisdom.

Exhibit: this story from the Fashion & Style section of the New York Times. Now, even before reading it, anyone remotely familiar with the Fashion & Style section of the New York Times will immediately think to themselves: “gosh, I bet what happens in this article is that a Fashion & Style reporter postulates the existence of some startling and intriguing social trend sweeping the nation; the reporter attempts to ‘prove’ the existence of this startling and intriguing social trend with two or three startling and intriguing anecdotes and quotations and perhaps a tangentially related poll result, but in the end, the whole ‘trend’ involves nothing more than a small number of  self-absorbed rich people talking shite.” And, Shazam!

From Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn to Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, the childhood “best friend” has long been romanticized in literature and pop culture — not to mention in the sentimental memories of countless adults.

But increasingly, some educators and other professionals who work with children are asking a question that might surprise their parents: Should a child really have a best friend?

There is a nationwide trend! Schools are forcibly preventing children from forming best friendships, probably through the frequent application of tasers! Startling! Intriguing!

Naturally, the only “educators and other professionals” attacking “best friends” directly cited in the article are: the counseling director of a posh St. Louis “Country Day School” (check out the tuition rates); the director of a posh upstate NY summer camp; and a psychologist at a posh Upper East Side private school — and she doesn’t even say that her school in fact has any such policy.

And the predictable response from Greater Wingnuttia: Outrage! The Wannabe Nun Even More Unpleasant Than Kathryn Jean Lopez, Seriously, or else Mother Superior, Order of our Lady of the Soggy Biscuit (OLSB):

I am so glad my kids are not in the public schools, anymore, but if there [very sic] were still little, this latest bit of nonsense would be yet another reason to consider homeschooling.

She links back to the NYT article here, presumably as a substitute for actually reading it, because the fatal drawback of reading it would be to discover that it says diddly about public schools, which are themselves likely as relieved to be rid of her progeny as she is to have them out of there. (Mother Superior (OLSB) also cites Meatballs, a film that I like and showed to my 10-Year-Old last summer, having forgotten completely about the scene in which Bill Murray engages in awful sexual harassment, something that was funny in the 1970s, or at least, unremarkable. Anyhow.)

One of Andrew Brightbulb’s Big Stupid sites also takes the bait:

Sometimes the best examples of the New York Times’s increasingly delusional, anti-rational, anti-American and, let’s face it, anti-human-nature mindset are to be found not on the front page, where their slavish adoration of the Obama Administration continues apace, if somewhat diminished, but in the feature pages. There, their crackpot social theories and their chic cultural Marxism are given free rein to inject their slow-acting poison into the bloodstream of the body politic, with what serious consequences we can now all see after more than four decades of this nonsense…

That attitude is a blunt manifestation of the timorous, fearful, feminized world in which the Times dwells and in which it would prefer we all lived.

What he means is, liberals girly Marxist Obamafag.

And then we have the occasionally vaguely sensible Outside the Beltway making the leap from a silly Fashion & Style story to support a thesis about how Tee-Ball leagues for 5-7-year-olds are Destroying America because the little sissies are not being allowed to enjoy the thrill of seeing your adorable little moppet opponents crushed before you, to hear the cries & lamentations of their nannies, etc:

This obsession with so-called “self-esteem” is also the reason that they don’t keep score in Tee-Ball anymore, and it is, quite honestly, ridiculous.

Which is powerful evidence that someone doesn’t know shit about Tee-Ball, at the very least.They didn’t keep score when I played it in the 1970s, and they don’t now, for reasons that are obvious to anyone with experience of 5-7-year-olds and is not overly invested in dick-waving by cliche.

The fun here is how these Thoughtful, Discerning Conservatives (I didn’t even mention this dope) are so sure they have the Main Stream Media pegged, but they utterly fail to apply anything like critical thought to an article that genuinely does have a clear institutional bias — just not the one wingnuts are forever squawking about. Just toss it on the scrapheap of things “conservatives” think they understand about which they have not the remotest clue.