Is the News Media an ‘Existential’ Threat? – by Brett Stevens – NYT

“To err is human. To tweet is to regret. When I decided last month to leave Twitter, it was in part because I knew that, while I couldn’t avoid the former, I could at least escape the latter. Not everything that pops into the heads of smart people is smart. Still less of it needs to be shared.

“Silence is better for the wise, and how much more so for fools.” I’m sure you know the proverb.

So it was with a grain of salt that I read your Bastille Day tweet:

The news media in the West pose a far greater danger to Western civilization than Russia does.

It sounded, frankly, like the kind of involuntary mental wet burp many of us have at moments of peak ideological irritation — for conservatives, often while reading the editorial pages of this newspaper.”

Bravo. Brilliant column. Maybe conservatism isn’t dead afterall.

Thank you for writing: “For us, on the other hand, “the West” is the liberal-democratic tradition; the one most succinctly expressed in the Declaration of Independence. “All men are created equal.” “The consent of the governed.” “The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” All the rest, from Exodus to Gettysburg, is commentary.

That’s why the intelligent conservative has no time either for illiberalism, often of the right, or relativism, typically of the left.

And that’s why wise conservatives take the threat from Vladimir Putin seriously. He is the champion and most insidious exponent of both. Through the development of a crypto-fascist ideology that combines ferocious ethnic chauvinism and revanchism, economic corporatism, a dash of religious traditionalism, and a personality cult, he is the model for aspiring autocrats everywhere, from Hungary to Turkey to the Philippines.”

Here is a comment I support fully:

Christine McM is a trusted commenter Massachusetts 6 hours ago

“To be indifferent to every claim of truth or fact is the ultimate assertion of power. It is to say: Nothing restrains me, not what I promised yesterday, not what I am saying to you now, not what I might do tomorrow.”

Thank you Brett Stephens for capturing precisely how Putin and Trump warp the difference between truth and lies. To proclaim that the press is the problem when it’s anything but these days is not only irresponsible, but cowardly–it’s giving a certain strain of Trump conservatives exactly what they want to hear.

This paper did a good piece on how the far right is suddenly in love with all things Russian. Yesterday, I challenged a poster who wrote disgustedly about “all the focus on Russia.” I told him his view of history was off, and that he needed to do some research, which is easy enough to find.

Dictators aren’t our friends. Dictators aren’t looking out for the people—they are focused solely on their own hold over power.

If you look at the desperate moves of the increasingly cornered and unhinged Donald Trump, you’ll easily see he’s running out of bright shiny object with which to distract.

The most dangerous of which, is pushing the lie about “fake news.” How ironic that the man who hates a free press, takes advantage of it to give a rambling, self-destructive ranting interview to this same free press.

What a desperate move.”

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