I am, of course, as is well-known, a Totally Serious Pundit Thinker Gravely Concerned over the Sad Decline of Our National Discourse, a Discourse which is, like, currently right now, totally in The Shitter. I think I speak for Serious Pundit Thinkers everywhere when I say this.
Like the Atlantic’s Michael Hirschorn, I place the blame for this Lamentable State of Affairs squarely on the nerdy shoulders of the Digital Social Media. Here I follow a recent trenchant article of Hirschorn’s I just read, a totally trenchant article that is totally different from everything else he’s written for the past fucking forever. This totally trenchant article totally proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that what totally ails the print media is totally not that it employs a lot of lazy-ass pundits who keep on recycling totally lightweight gibberish about Digital Social Media and the Sad Decline of Our National Discourse. Like, totally!
In a time when mainstream news organizations have already ceded a substantial chunk of their opinion-shaping influence to Web-based partisans on the left and right, does each side now feel entitled to its own facts as well? And thanks to the emergence of social media as the increasingly dominant mode of information dissemination, are we nearing a time when truth itself will become just another commodity to be bought and sold on the social-media markets? Or, to cast it in Twitter-speak: @glennbeck fact = or > @nytimes fact? More far-reachingly, how does society function (as it has since the Enlightenment gave primacy to the link between reason and provable fact) when there is no commonly accepted set of facts and assumptions to drive discourse?
It has not excaped the sallow-eyed, resentful attention of Vicious Leftist Partisans (cough, ahem) that there’s a certain problem here with the lazy depiction of Left and Right by positing a smug Twitterish equation of Glenn Beck and the New York Times. I mean, I’m sure Herschorn was making an attempt at something along the lines of a “joke” — but come on, really?
There is after all a problem with the New York Times, and it’s been a canker for years now. And that un-ointmented canker is that the paper has chronically shown itself all too willing to pass on ludicrous right-wing horseshit, as in, say, oh, Judith Miller.
The burden of the evidence that Herschorn himself presents is that the major problem with our National Discourse is that the right gets a pass for talking crap. The comical “rebuttal” to Herschorn coming from Brent Bozell’s Monkey House makes the point admirably.
The problem is not “social media.” The problem is not even that of Yeats’ fretting about the “center” being able to hold.
The problem is, precisely, that the center is full of shit.
I’d illustrate just how bad things are, chapter and verse, but, well…. Here here is a thought experiment.
Which is closer to the Conventional Received Wisdom of policymakers in both parties?
I rest my fucking case.
(Video unrelated, I just like it.)