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Monday, October 12, 2020

MEDIA WHORES: Building the Brothel

Back in 2004, an editor at Thomas Nelson contacted me with an idea for writing a book about the corruption of the mainstream media. I wrote four sample chapters and was signed to a contract to write MEDIA WHORES: COURTESANS AND CHARLATANS OF THE AMERICAN COMMENTARIAT, but they killed the book after discovering that I intended to write about media whores who were nominally on the Republican Right, such as Bill O'Reilly and Michelle Malkin, in addition to the various figures on the Democratic Left that they had expected me to target. This was one of several books I was paid to not write during that period of profitable unpublishability.

Since most readers were not reading this blog 15 years ago, when I posted two of the sample chapters (One and Two), I'll repost them, along with the other two that were written back then (Three and Ten), over the next week. You can probably understand why Thomas Nelson decided not to publish the book after they ran the sample chapters and the following table of contents past Andrew Napolitano to see if Fox News would put its weight behind the book.

It's interesting to see the hits and misses. Malkin, Shapiro, Hannity, and Franken were spot on. Hitchens zigged away from the media proper and zagged into New Atheist quasi-celebrity, and O'Reilly self-imploded while Alterman went from being viewed as The Next Big Left-Wing Thing and my primary competition for Universal Press syndication to being mostly irrelevant despite his high-profile positions at Brooklyn College, The Nation, and The Center for American Progress.

INTRODUCTION

  1.     Building the Brothel
  2.     The Courtesans
  3.     The Charlatans
  4.     Me So Michelle: Michelle Malkin
  5.     A Hedgehog, Deceased, On the Left Side of the Road: Eric Alterman
  6.     MoDo’s Diary: Maureen Dowd
  7.     The Littlest Chickenhawk: Ben Shapiro
  8.     The Naked Economist: Paul Krugman
  9.     Hunting the White Whale: Michael Moore
  10.     Brave Sir William: Bill O’Reilly
  11.     What a Friend We Have in Trotsky: Christopher Hitchens
  12.     He-Man and Skeletor: Hannity and Colmes
  13.     The Smears of a Clown: Al Franken


MEDIA WHORES: COURTESANS AND CHARLATANS OF THE AMERICAN COMMENTARIAT

CHAPTER ONE: Building the Brothel

Vir qui amat sapientiam laetificat patrem suum qui autem nutrit scorta perdet substantiam.

The Buggles were wrong. Video didn't kill the radio star. The truth is precisely to the contrary. Video not only made the radio star huge, it also made him a best-selling author, and more often than not, a pop icon to boot. Radio, television, cable, the internet, and even traditional newspaper and book publishing have insensibly merged into one massive and amorphous entity, known to its consumers as simply “the media”. But it too is a consumer; it is a voracious beast, devouring all that come within its grasp, and only the strongest, most single-minded parasites can survive and thrive in its acidic maw.

With the gradual transformation of what was once news into infotainment, the requirements for the talking heads who serve as the primary conduit from the beast to its beholders changed too. In the early days of television, talking heads were reporters who had spent years in the field, researching, interviewing, writing and recording their own news stories. Murrow, Cronkite, and even the recently retired Dan Rather are examples of this sort. They feigned an Olympian objectivity, hid their political affiliations and projected the sort of deep and immobile gravitas that made the term “network anchor” seem so fitting.

As the producers became more sophisticated and technologically adept, it became less and less necessary to have an experienced reporter reading the news or even writing original stories in the newspaper. Gravitas went by the wayside as attractive, focus-tested women were added to the mix, and with the exception of the primary network news broadcasts – the majestic second triumvirate of Brokaw, Willams and Jennings - the two-headed bi-gendered news team came to the fore. Teleprompters and professional writers meant that the talking heads were no longer required to write or think, allowing producers to concentrate on what matters most to the television viewing audiences, namely, looking at attractive men and women.

This second generation of television news brought to the forefront men with chiseled jaws and names like porn stars(1), accompanied by blondes with journalism-lite backgrounds that often included acting credits and tasteful nude photography(2). This model quickly became de riguer for the local news format, which is now such a matter of rote that one cannot easily distinguish between the ABC affiliate's newscast in Minneapolis and the CBS affiliate's newscast in Albuquerque. The basic cast is always the same; the forty-something neo-patriarch with a full head of hair touched with gray at the temples, the thirty-something blonde co-anchor, (ethnic optional in cities with large Black and Hispanic populations), a weatherman who is either a sexless androgyne or a beta blonde, and last and least, the roguish sports anchor.

The first cable channel, CNN, was largely content to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors, although its expansion of the news spigot from one to 24 hours daily would insensibly make its effect known over time. However, the shift from journalism-free journalists to full-blown infotainers accelerated quickly with the appearance of the Fox News Channel, which like Athena sprang fully accoutered for battle from the head of Roger Ailes, wisely eschewing the leftist slant hidden behind the condescending pretense at objectivity of the ABCNNBCBS cabal.

Infotainment had long been present within the cabal, of course, but it was kept on the sidelines by an embarrassed media elite, in the context of crossover shows like 20/20 and Today. Barbara Walters became the unquestioned queen of the quasi-news with her infamous interviews on ABC, The Barbara Walters Specials, where she enlightened the American public by eliciting answers to insightful questions that no one else had ever dared to ask of international figures and celebrities.(3)

The terror of creeping infotainment at the networks during the early Eighties was such that Ms Walters managed to hold a co-anchor spot at ABC only briefly before being banished to matters arboreal. But it returned with vengeance in 1996, when the Fox News Channel burst onto the scene and in less than seven years, not only overturned the existing order but turned the cable news ratings war from a horse race into something bearing closer resemblance to a prison rape.(4)

The brilliance of Roger Ailes was two-fold. First, recognizing the iron law of supply and demand in a country evenly divided between what passes for “liberal” and “conservative” in the political spectrum, he offered a taste of what had hitherto been absent from the television screens of America. Where CNN was self-consciously international, Fox News was proudly patriotic. Where the ABCNNBCBS cabal inordinately consisted of those supporting Democrats(5), Fox dared to put self-proclaimed Republicans on the air without the accompanying soundtrack of The Imperial March(6) or pairing them with a polar opposite providing instant counterpoint.

Ailes' logic was impeccable, demonstrating that alone among the executives of the media industry, only he understood the lessons of the talk radio phenomenon. Of the 105,405,100 votes cast in the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore and George Bush both received about 48 percent of the vote(7). But not only does the ABCNNBCBS news cabal market itself entirely towards the pro-Gore 48 percent, it is joined in doing so by PBS, MSNBC, and, to a lesser extent, CNBC. This abandonment of the opposite 48 percent equated to a wide-open market of epic proportions, which Ailes has exploited with ruthless abandon. The motto is “fair and balanced” and while the actual slant is only vaguely rightward, the symbolism is much more strongly so. Liberal-minded CNN cast-offs, such as Geraldo Rivera and Greta van Susteren, are forced to keep their inclinations firmly in check, while moderates are spun as conservatives at almost every opportunity.

Second, the Fox News chairman wholeheartedly embraced the concept of being the humble servant of the marketplace. The media has long had an inflated view of itself; it is nearly impossible to listen to a mainstream journalist recite a ponderous description of his ever-so-weighty responsibilities without bursting into laughter. The elite journalists see themselves as the Fourth Estate, asking the tough questions and dedicated to afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. If you have ever seen a journalist performing a Monica on a big celebrity get in what is apparently supposed to pass for an interview, it's not hard to see that the media are not only deluded in this regard, but are also incredibly ill-suited to accurately observe human events.

Due to this delusional self-regard, executives at the ABCNNBCBS cabal have long considered themselves above the dirty and unpleasant realities of the market, while government-funded PBS actually is free to ignore the wishes of great unwashed as it fulfills its sacred mission of allowing liberals to pretend they are intellectuals and loftily look down their noses at those who prefer entertainment that offers a frisson of divertissement. Fox News, on the other hand, appears to have an interest in making money, which in a capitalist society tends to involve paying a certain amount of attention to what the consumer wants.

And what the cable news consumer wants, apparently, is pretty girls, in-depth coverage of murder trials, missing children(8) and car chases. Only eighteen months before the launch of the Fox News Channel, the famous O.J. Simpson car chase(9) and subsequent trial took place, and apparently it left an indelible impression on the soon-to-be Fox News Channel executives. It could be seen, in retrospect, as the perfect Foxian trifecta, combining a celebrity, a car chase and a murder trial. Had there only been an Amber Alert involved somewhere in the mix, it would have been the perfect story. And although the quattrocephalic news cabal flogged the O.J. trial mercilessly, no channel drew more useful conclusions from it than Fox News.

In the eight years since it made its debut, Fox News has covered 416 car chases, 42 missing children and 11 murder trials, which is approximately 469 more stories of the sort than PBS has covered(10). On a directly related note, the O.J. trial also marked the launch of the instant news celebrity. Greta van Susteren, Marcia Clark and Gloria Allred are now inescapable, appearing with wearisome regularity on the screen like the haggish handmaidens of Big Brother, three Erinyes convinced that Orestes is to be found hiding somewhere in a television studio.

But if O.J. got the ball rolling, it was the Monica Lewinsky scandal that cemented the instant news celebrity in the public consciousness. Not only do we owe Miss Lewinsky a linguistic debt(11), but without her and Paula Jones we would not have come to know and love Lucianne Goldberg, her lovable teddy bear of a son, Jonah, Ann Coulter, and interchangeable Republican Barbie.(12) But it was not only these perma-guests that were made by the scandal; shows such as the O'Reilly Factor and Hannity and Colmes also saw their popularity explode.

The reason was simple. There was continuing interest in a story in which very little was known and almost nothing was happening. Even if the ABCNNBCBS cabal had been inclined to cover the self-destruction of a Democratic president – they weren't – there was very little that a show even half-heartedly committed to hard news could cover. Bill Clinton wasn't talking, Monica Lewinsky wasn't talking, Paul Jones wasn't talking, and even those who weren't directly involved in the two cases were claiming legal considerations that prevented them from speaking with reporters.

But it wasn't possible to simply ignore a story that had more compelling elements than any three Hollywood movies. Was Bill Clinton's penis really crooked? Were we really supposed to believe that a notoriously horny old dog would hook up with a ripening young 38DD and keep his hands off her most prominent assets? Had he really done THAT with a CIGAR... with Yasser Arafat was waiting in the next room? Add a bad rhythm guitar and a moustache, and you practically had a 70's porn flick in the making. No wonder the world was captivated.

And yet, there was still really nothing to say. No one actually knew anything new until Matt Drudge unveiled some shocking tidbit of information, at which point everyone learned about it at the same time. But the camera abhors a vaccuum no less than nature, and thanks to the 24-hour cable news channels, more time than ever required filling. Enter the new talking head, who substituted wisecracks for written copy, who was quick enough to think and spar on her feet, and was entertaining enough to allow people to forget that they were no more informed at the end of a show than they were at the start.(13)

Conservatives excelled immediately at this game, partly because years of being shut out of the mainstream media had prepared them for an adversarial relationship with the television hosts, and partly, as was previously mentioned, because they were seldom permitted to appear alone on a ABCNNBCBS show without being accompanied by a liberal(14) Greek anti-Chorus. The fact that many of them had some degree of familiarity with the brutally combative arena of the conservative talk radio ghetto meant that they were seldom thrown off-balance when a deceitful host tried to set them up for an ambush or a bait-and-switch.(15)

In short, they were ready to rumble. And audiences fell in love with hand-to-hand combat long before the first gladiators were shouting “morituri te salutamus!”(16) No blood is shed in the televised arena, but the news shoutfests bear far more similarity to a gladitorial combat than to the somber pronouncements of Walter Cronkite. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; certainly it is vastly preferable for half of the viewing public to see someone championing their point of view instead of being forced to sit through pompous neosocialist lectures condemning the many evils of their bourgeous perspective. Give and take will always hold the attention longer than a monologue, Shakespeare's excellent soliloquoys notwithstanding.

However, there can be little question that despite the divergence of views on offer, the end result provides far more entertainment than information. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, for as novelists as diverse as Umberto Eco(17), Rigoberta Menchu and Dan Brown have all discovered, few things sell better than a product that makes its consumers feel smarter. You may not actually be in possession of a single iota of new information after watching Bill O'Reilly thump his chest and shout down a guest or seeing Tim Russert delve into the minutae of the House Appropriations Committee with a congressman, but you will nevertheless be left with the vague impression that you are better informed than if you had instead tuned in to the third re-run of Friends that evening. After all, you've been watching the news!


FOOTNOTES:

1. Can't you see Stone Philips fronting the list of names starring in “I Know Who You Did Last Summer”? Okay, maybe it's just me.

2. “I did pose for 'Black and White' magazine, a prestigious, artistic publication, several years ago.” Former CNN Headline News anchor Andrea Thompson in The New York Post. In 2002, the Washington Post reported that the CNN anchor had also performed “clothing-challenged work for an Australian magazine and an Italian erotic flick....”

3. She reached the apex of her unique brand of unintentional comedy in 1981, when she asked actress Katherine Hepburn the question: “If you were a tree, what kind would you be?” It seems Kate saw herself as an oak. I think I'm more of a birch. But a really tough-barked, hard-core birch you wouldn't want to mess with, you know what I'm saying? A son of a birch, if you will.

4. The August 11, 2004 ratings showed that Fox News Channel's prime time ratings averaged 2.058 million viewers, almost double the ratings for CNN, MSNBC and CNBC combined. Fox's top show, The O'Reilly Factor, almost tripled the viewership of its top rival, CNN's Larry King Live, with 2.666 million viewers compared to 985 thousand. Hang onto that soap, Larry.

5. 89 percent of 130 Washington bureau chiefs and congressional correspondents reported voting for Bill Clinton in 1992, compared to 7 percent for George Bush, the elder. Twelve years later, it is still almost impossible to name a single anchor or reporter working for the cabal that does not openly or implicitely pledge allegiance to the Democratic Party.

6. Or, as it is known in the colloquial, Darth Vader's Theme.

7. Al Gore received 50,999,897 votes, or 48.38 percent of the popular vote, while George W. Bush received 50,456,002 votes, 47.87 percent. However, since the United States of America is a constitutional republic and not a pure representative democracy, Bush's 271-266 victory in the Electoral College made the popular results irrelevant. That's all completely beside the point here, but it's best to get it out of the way anyhow.

8. Missing children who happen to be pretty little girls, anyhow. I have no evidence that Fox News has a detailed system wherein a missing child is assigned 2 points for being white, 4 points for being blonde, and 10 points for having an attractive mother, but I am suspicious. And is it truly only little girls who go missing? I'm just curious.

9. The O.J. car chase was the greatest moment in live news history. Listening to “Robert Higgins” telling Peter Jennings in an outrageously fake black accent so obvious that only a lobotomized Canadian could think it was real: “Oh my Lord, this is quite tenses... Ah see... OJ! Ah see OJ, man!” was, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the ultimate in news entertainment. We were screaming with laughter almost from the start. The best part was how Jennings had no idea that the caller was a prankster until Al Michaels explained it to him. Yeah, they're real sharp, our media elite.

10. Yeah, like I watched and counted. If you harbor a strict accuracy fetish, simply substitute “a lot” for each of the categories mentioned.

11. I would argue that she must be credited, not only with her inadvertent eponymous contribution, but also for popularizing the concept of “obtaining one's kneepads” as a synonymous alternative.

12. Ann Coulter, Barbara Olsen and Kellyanne Fitzpatrick nee' Conway were the original three. Since then, Laurie Dhue, Linda Vester, Rita Cosby, Heather Nauert and Michelle Malkin have followed in their footsteps, but none of them have yet demonstrated the unique combination of savage intelligence and eye-rolling, hair-tossing nonchalance of the original.

13. Being blonde and looking good in a miniskirt didn't exactly hurt either.

14. For simplicity's sake, I use the terms “liberal” and “conservative” in the sense of being largely synonymous with “Democrat” and “Republican”. The former indicating an orientation towards the political left, the latter indicating an orientation towards the political right. As the two major parties have merged into a single bi-factional big government ruling party, these terms have become increasingly meaningless. See Appendix B.

15. Thomas Sowell explained why he turns down 90 percent of his TV and radio invitations in an April 2004 column, entitled “Bait-and-switch media”. After being invited on the program to talk about his book on affirmative action, he found himself being grilled by a third party about minimum wage laws. The old lion, familiar with the trick, left the host in the lurch live on the air by simply hanging up the phone. Booyakasha!

16. “We who are about to die salute you!”

17. I once asked Dr. Eco about the characterization of his novels being extremely successful, but often unread. He replied: “I must confess, there are books that I love very much, and I didn't read them completely. It happens. When “The Name of the Rose” came out, so difficult and full of Latin quotations, and it had the success, it started the legend that it was an unread book. I am content.” And yes, we were actually hanging out at a monastery that day... because nobody kicks it like the real old skool.

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75 Comments:

Blogger Colonel Blimp October 12, 2020 11:09 AM  

This brings back memories. Time flies. Next you'll be talking about Arsenal and how long it'll take to catch Liverpool. ..

Blogger Quiet Poetic October 12, 2020 11:24 AM  

are you going to publish the entire book?
Also I work as part time delivery driver here in DC and delivered a package and saw Al Fraken sitting and talking with a guy where I was supposed to deliver the package. They were at a porch and I asked him to move a little bit so that I can take a picture of the package with the house number (company policy) and he won't move - he even blocked it with his hand - the other guy who was sitting with him said 'oh, he won't move.' I guess if it wasn't Al Franken I would've ignored it but knowing it's him, I'm like 'what a douche.'

Blogger Latigo3 October 12, 2020 11:25 AM  

Over the years, reading you on WND and this blog we all knew you were ahead of the curve. This shows it, wish it would have been published.

Blogger Brick Hardslab October 12, 2020 11:31 AM  

I would read this cover to cover.

Do you think the willingness to do, 'tasteful nudes' was a proxy for how willing she was to put out?

Blogger Barbarossa October 12, 2020 11:32 AM  

No, no, no. You can't put a piece of bait like "MoDo's Diary" out there and not provide us at least one entry.

Blogger Unknown October 12, 2020 11:34 AM  

More proof Vox is the real deal, in case there were any doubters.

Cannibal Holocaust

Blogger Lazarus October 12, 2020 11:36 AM  

come for the writing, stay for the footnotes

Blogger Jpc October 12, 2020 11:40 AM  

The media has long had an inflated view of itself.
And a keen understanding of who signs their paycheck and what's required to keep them coming.

More please!

Blogger Solon October 12, 2020 11:41 AM  

I saw how long this post was and almost decided to skip it (I dont have a lot of free time), but I'm glad I didnt. You have quite a turn of phrase in your writing that always makes me chuckle. And no wonder they didnt want your writing published!

"Quattrocephalic" is one of those words that normal people see and roll their eyes and say "oh, great, an *intellectual*," but come on, it's such a fun word, how could you resist?

Blogger Johnny October 12, 2020 11:43 AM  

"focus-tested women" Nice turn of phrase.

Blogger Delaware Blue Hen October 12, 2020 11:46 AM  

Seeing as you have your own publishing company now, would it be worth the trouble to publish an updated version of the book you originally proposed? The sample chapters look interesting.

Blogger Scuzzaman October 12, 2020 11:49 AM  

This was not the roasting we were looking for ...

Blogger Iskander Magnus October 12, 2020 11:50 AM  

Excellent, engaging, informative, and by no means respectful of the bombastic pseuds depicted. Somewhat similar tone to Quentin Letts, veteran parliamentary sketch writer and cultural commentator in U.K. When can we get the finalised product as a Castalia book? It’s also going to be a marvellous historical text, many years from now.

Blogger Newscaper312 October 12, 2020 11:52 AM  

OReilly always rubbed me the wrong way w his fake smarmy folksy schtick, and lazy, phony stupid outrage instead of making devastating arguments even where there was really low hanging fruit. Throw in some c as loculated "Pox on both their houses" equal time criticism.
Then there was the way he totally rolled over for Michael Moore.

Blogger Newscaper312 October 12, 2020 11:57 AM  

Footnotes as interesting as the body text.

Blogger Guy Incognito October 12, 2020 12:04 PM  

I'm really interested in your take on Malkin. She was never on my radar before 2016 or 2017, and she seemed to take a pretty strong anti-immigration tack.
Just basic gate keeping?

Blogger tuberman October 12, 2020 12:07 PM  

Fantastic Chapter Titles.

Blogger Canadian Warlord October 12, 2020 12:10 PM  

Darn it, "Lobotomized Canadian" is a better screen name.

Thanks for the laughs, some of which are sneaky, like "Paul Jones." Reminds me of how ugly she was haha

There's something special about 1990s sensationalism that can't be recaptured by Fox, despite the advent of HD, glass desks, and even shorter skirts. It really was their glory days. It's captured decently in the movie, "The Chase."

Blogger J Van Stry October 12, 2020 12:13 PM  

I don't think I'm the only one here who would buy this book.
In hardcover no less!

Blogger tublecane October 12, 2020 12:17 PM  

"There are books that I love very much, and I didn't read them completely"

This is only natural, for there is more than one way to read a book. More than one correct way. I find prevalent among the general public the strange idea that all books you're supposed to start on the dedication and end wit "the end," having gone straight through. Why? Who gave them this idea? I don't know.

Strange, too, because these are the type of people who probably routinely skip appendices, endnotes, footnotes, etc. Which often are every bit as good as the main text.

I have skipped over major parts of books I otherwise loved. And why not? Might make a second read-through better.

Blogger American Nationalist October 12, 2020 12:19 PM  

Highly interested in what you think of Michelle Malkin. I literally have one of her books sitting above me right now at my desk. She's certainly not on Con Inc's side, by any means.

Blogger Grey Carter October 12, 2020 12:19 PM  

Chapter 9 title made me laugh out loud.

Blogger Jack Ward October 12, 2020 12:22 PM  

This sounds like fun. Will jump into the read first chance. If you are doing these chapters now, perhaps the contract limitations have timed out and now the whole book could be published? The sound of money falling into your bank account is sweet. Course, there is the personal time thingy to do the work.

Blogger VD October 12, 2020 12:22 PM  

Seeing as you have your own publishing company now, would it be worth the trouble to publish an updated version of the book you originally proposed?

I have other priorities, beginning with ASOS. I could probably get it done with a co-writer, but I don't think it would be worth the trouble.

Blogger VD October 12, 2020 12:25 PM  

I'm a bit softer on Malkin now than I was then. Over time, she's proven that her heart is more or less in the right place, but she is at core a clever media whore, not the public intellectual she initially tried to pose as being. Her book on internment was a complete joke, and her unwillingness to accept sound, factual criticism about it did not speak well for her at the time.

Blogger tuberman October 12, 2020 12:30 PM  

" I literally have one of her books sitting above me right now at my desk. She's certainly not on Con Inc's side, by any means."

Naw, she be Witch. Something was very fishy about her from first read on Vdare. Not going to go back years to find the points that proved she's shooting on the foul line for the "Washington Generals."

Blogger Seeingsights October 12, 2020 12:36 PM  

Vox Day’s essay does bring back memories.

Friends and acquaintances would ask me, did you see O’Reilly’s show? Me: No, what did he say? About half the time I would disagree with Bill O’Reilly, as related by others.

One time I watched O Reilly, I thought he was rude, he interrupted his guest.

A show that led the way to Infotainment was the Morton Downey Show., it’s from the 1980s. Just watch Youtube videos of it. Morton Downey’s schitck was aggressive disagreement with his show guests.

Blogger Seeingsights October 12, 2020 12:44 PM  

Another show that was the beginnings of Infotainment would was Geraldo Rivera’s. He had neo Nazis on his show and it ended up with violence, chairs were thrown and Gerardo had a damaged nose with a bandage on it.

Blogger Dole October 12, 2020 12:58 PM  

"The Littlest Chickenhawk: Ben Shapiro"

I wonder whether they got past the table of context. Sounds like a great book.

Blogger M Cephas October 12, 2020 1:08 PM  

I like Michelle Malkin for going against Con Inc, and standing up for people like Steven Franssen, Jaden McNeil, and Nicholas Fuentes. She hasn't disavowed yet, and has only doubled down on her support for the Groypers.

Blogger Maniac October 12, 2020 1:16 PM  

Fox News as a whole hasn't been so much of a Conservative news network as it has been a Neoconservative news network, and Malkin seems to be fueled by sense of racial self-loathing. Never understood the appeal in either case.

Blogger sammibandit October 12, 2020 1:21 PM  

Thanks for posting this. The footnotes made me laugh too. You made a good point about missing children and the ones that get coverage. Ahead of the curve.

Blogger doctrev October 12, 2020 1:33 PM  

If anyone bet that Michelle Malkin wouldn't sell out American nationalism despite having every incentive to do so, yet Ann Coulter would dump Trump (yet endorse Romney) despite having every incentive to be the Queen of Nationalism, collect your winnings. And then put your skills at prognostication to some greater use.

Blogger tublecane October 12, 2020 1:39 PM  

@Maniac- I’ve never noticed self-loathing in Malkin, though admittedly I don’t know that much about her. Maybe she is motivated by it.

However, what constitutes ideological or partisan race treason for a Pinay Girl? They are allowed to be of the fake-right, far as I know.

Why would a Filipina act out against her people by joining the ranks of Conservatism Inc., neoconnery, or Internet Cartoon Frog posters? I could see if she hung around actual neo-Nazis, but that hasn’t happened. To my knowledge.

Do neocons even remember the Philippines used to be part of our empire? Might as well be ancient history.

Blogger Jack Amok October 12, 2020 1:57 PM  

the media are not only deluded in this regard, but are also incredibly ill-suited to accurately observe human events.

Increasingly I see our society as one that puts the people least-suited to a task in charge of it. Narcissistic actors in charge of observing human events, people who think usury is a viable business model in charge of deciding what businesses get funded, the lowest IQ in charge of education, suburban women in charge of choosing who to give government authority to...

Is it any wonder things are screwy.

Blogger Chip Hazard October 12, 2020 2:09 PM  

Was well aware of Malkin and of course Ann, but Kellyanne Conway back then?

Wow.

Blogger Chip Hazard October 12, 2020 2:11 PM  

@27 Morton Downey Jr. jeezus.

I remember his screaming at an old Indian woman circa 1988, "YOU ARE A DEFEATED NATION!"

Blogger Ska_Boss October 12, 2020 2:13 PM  

Very easy to see why they had to (((SHUT IT DOWN)))

Shame, it sounds like it would have been a hit!

Blogger Didas Kalos October 12, 2020 2:14 PM  

O'Reilly lost me when he defended two homosexual men adopting a child. I wasn't too keen on him before that. But that was the straw that broke the mountain's back.

Blogger Jpc October 12, 2020 2:18 PM  

That's properly researched work for you!
Hard to argue and more paths to follow

Blogger Darayvus October 12, 2020 2:28 PM  

Kellyanne Fitzpatrick nee' Conway - isn't that the other way 'round? Her cuck of a husband is George Conway.

Blogger Joeplanet October 12, 2020 2:41 PM  

Me So Michelle wants to be the establishment commentariat so badly, that any and all claims of fealty to this nation are suspect. Nope, don't trust her.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd October 12, 2020 2:48 PM  

VD wrote:... her unwillingness to accept sound, factual criticism about it did not speak well for her at the time.
Unwilling to accept criticism. How like a woman.

Blogger Silent Draco October 12, 2020 3:12 PM  

Hurt some ribs laughing. Hannity - oh, definitely, "He-Man and the Masters of the Patsy-verse". Saw him at a book tour/rally a while back. His ego was still working up to Tom Clancy levels.

I'm still reading "The Name of the Rose". It takes time to read and comprehend in context. Excellent but fractally complex work.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash October 12, 2020 3:13 PM  

Good to see you referring to "The Cabal" even back then.
As good as this is, please finish ASoS.

Blogger Daniel October 12, 2020 3:39 PM  

Odd thing about the phrase, "The Fourth Estate."

The media promotes an elaborate hoax regarding the origin of the term, ascribing it to parliamentarian Edmund Burke, suggesting that an objective state bowed in recognition to the social importance of the media.

In truth, the real coining of the term was an epithet cast at an early journalist who was so bombastic and self-important (and probably fat) that he was lampooned as the "Fourth Estate."

It's lies all the way down.

Blogger Dan in Georgia October 12, 2020 3:47 PM  

Has anyone ever checked the SS death records to see if Barbara Olsen is actually dead? She was on the "plane" that "hit" the Pentagon on 9/11, right after writing a book about the Clintons. Witness protection?

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia October 12, 2020 4:25 PM  

VD wrote:I'm a bit softer on Malkin now than I was then. Over time, she's proven that her heart is more or less in the right place, but she is at core a clever media whore. . .

Yep, very true. Yet she is useful.

The media, on all sides to be sure, is a beast that has insatiable desire and if you want to crawl into bed with it, be prepared to spread your legs or open your ass cheeks nice and wide, or muff dive into the sewer, as the case may be.

Yes, I am talking about YOU Rachel Maddow.

And if you are a FOX blonde, be sure the cocktail dresses are nicely pressed, and lip gloss is oh so sparkly before you saunter up to the suite. At least Laura Ingraham has one thing going for her -- she is not THAT good looking.

A key question is, will Tucker break the mold? Even though he plays nice with his network co-workers, you do the sense he has complete contempt for the entire media beast enterprise and the inter-breeding intersectional corruption of Washington/National media complex.

Yet there he is, every night,8am eastern, railing against the course of events.

He's on a mission now, but you know the energy will eventually run out. He's too much of a traditionalist old school WASP Presbyterian to get tripped up by things sordid, but one day I think he will say, "the hell with all this bullshit, I am going fishing."

You may avoid dropping your pants for the beast, but sooner or later, it's bend over or get out.

Blogger Matt Robison October 12, 2020 4:28 PM  

That was entertaining. A shame you never wrote the rest.

Blogger Zeroh Tollrants October 12, 2020 4:35 PM  

Can we get a chapter a week, plz? I'd love that.
Barbara Olsen, (who died on 9/11) did write two pretty decent anti-Clintoon books, as did Hitchens.
Malkin's internment book was infuriating!
She seems to have come around a bit. Still married to a tribesman, tho, and was the Flip Neocon Queen, in the 00s.

Blogger CarpeOro October 12, 2020 4:48 PM  

Being slightly older than Vox and coming from the Detroit metro I well remember the days when the only news was left leaning. At least until I found WXYT talk radio in the late 80s (before Limbaugh). Thomas Sowell was an occasional guest on one program (incidentally the one where I found out about WND), along with David Hackworth, Richard Marchenko and others that the mass media did their best to ignore. Fox News initially seemed like a breath of fresh air (at least in the sense of "in the country of the blind, the one eyed man is king). These days? I've walked away from both establishment and controlled opposition. Sadly, talk radio has slid to the general mix as far I know, so I've taken more to the internet.

Blogger ScottC October 12, 2020 4:49 PM  

Vox, why do you think Christopher Hitchens hated Bill Clinton?

Blogger machinephilosophy.com October 12, 2020 4:57 PM  

I'd like to see a 2021 version of that would-be book. Great stuff.

Blogger Billy October 12, 2020 5:04 PM  

She is dead to me as a well-meaning commentator since she shat on Ron Paul as a ‘tin-foil hat’ and ‘9/11 Truther’ back in 2012. I’m sure she has her moments, but she’s definitely a media whore.

Blogger Rough Carrigan October 12, 2020 5:14 PM  

#48. If you want to blow your mind, get a hold of a dvd of "9-11 A New Pearl Harbor" directed by Massimo Mazzucco. It's an excellent Italian made documentary about 9-11 which pretty consistently presents the official story and then presents some utterly damning fact destroying it and simply asks how the official story could be true. It doesn't make a case for any alternate scenario. Well, at one point, the official story was that some woman was somehow able to make a cell phone call from one of the planes. I don't remember if it was Barbara Olsen's or another one. Anyway, if you actually listen closely to the recording you can hear her say something like "It's a fake".

Blogger Snidely Whiplash October 12, 2020 5:21 PM  

Rough Carrigan wrote:you can hear her say something like "It's a fake".
This is a psychological trick. If you suggest to someone that specific words are contained in an incomprehensible audio snippet, they will often hear it quite clearly, where if they had not had the suggestion they would have correctly said that the words were not there.

Blogger eclecticme October 12, 2020 5:55 PM  

8. Missing children who happen to be pretty little girls, anyhow. I have no evidence that Fox News has a detailed system wherein a missing child is assigned 2 points for being white, 4 points for being blonde, and 10 points for having an attractive mother, but I am suspicious. And is it truly only little girls who go missing? I'm just curious.

Bernard Goldberg wrote a book "Bias" about biased reporting. When he wasn't whining about his mistreatment he reported two things I did not know. 1. Blacks do not watch TV news programs like 60 minutes. 2. Producers pre-screen news story subjects to keep out the ugly ones. People do not like to watch ugly people and change channels.

There was some white attractive US soldier who was kidnapped by Jihadis in Iraq as I recall. The press fell all over her story. Meanwhile there was some kinda homely black woman soldier who had a similar story. She was ignored.

Blogger eclecticme October 12, 2020 6:07 PM  

@27. Seeingsights
O'Reilly was an obnoxious blow hard who talked over his guests. He seemed like a mid wit at best. I could not stand him. I did not watch TV 'news' for decades. I made exceptions if someone else had it on, where I saw O'Reilly.

Don't leave Joe Pyne out of your history.
Enjoy.
https://youtu.be/PLYYIh8uEo0?t=80

Blogger John October 12, 2020 6:17 PM  

Thank you Vox!

Blogger D F October 12, 2020 7:11 PM  

Michelle Malkin has gotten positively Based in the past year. She's friendly to WNs, calls out the ADL, etc. Consoyvatism, Inc. is cancelling her.

Blogger Avalanche October 12, 2020 7:19 PM  

@47 "Has anyone ever checked the SS death records to see if Barbara Olsen is actually dead?"

!! Did you never see the 'new wife' of whateverthat geek she was married to who LIED flat out about what she supposedly said on a plane-phone she could not have gotten to; and SHE was the one who set up the "it's arab hijackers" ... without HER 'telling us' -- we'd've never known! Ah, Ted, Ted Olsen: Solicitor General under the Bush-monkey.

"Lady Booth" (really she is named "lady"!) is the spittin' image of the "dead" woman -- wee bit o' plastic surgery and it's done!

http://americanactionreport.blogspot.com/2010/07/what-happened-to-flight-77s-passengers.html

https://cdn.quotesgram.com/img/71/30/1985486490-88b3632d19ae7b2258455802770cd8b34c34491d.jpg

One more mystery in a pile of mysterys...

Blogger bobby October 12, 2020 7:26 PM  

David Foster Wallace would have loved your footnotes. As do I.

Blogger Cloudbuster October 12, 2020 8:00 PM  

It will go down as a great tragedy of the 21st century that the chapter "Me So Michelle: Michelle Malkin" was never written. I would love that chapter long time.

Blogger PJW Gent October 12, 2020 10:44 PM  

Who knew you were such a comedian! Some great laughs in those footnotes.

Blogger papabear October 12, 2020 11:08 PM  

Malkin: just the 00s version of the conservaTHOT?

Blogger Jpc October 13, 2020 4:37 AM  

It's a parallel to your story.

https://www.moonofalabama.org/

Blogger Crew October 13, 2020 7:56 AM  

What a pity it was never published!

Blogger Guy Jean October 13, 2020 8:15 AM  

Pushback in the UK is starting to edge out into the mainstream. Check out Alex Belfield, disgruntled ex-BBC radio presenter. He's funny, irreverent, opinionated and gaining popularity by the day. If the comments and subscriber numbers are anything to go by, ordinary people have had enough.
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Alex+Belfield

Blogger Stilicho October 13, 2020 9:55 AM  

True. What were insights in 2004 are open and obvious facts in 2020. Your analysis has aged well in that it is unavoidably obvious even to casual observers today.

Blogger steve brown October 13, 2020 10:15 AM  

Vox is the wordsmith extraordinaire!

Blogger Lambert October 13, 2020 12:46 PM  

Nice retrospective post. Prescient, too.

Blogger szook October 13, 2020 12:51 PM  

Oh, Vox, you bad, bad, bad, man...warms the cackles of the heart it does.

Blogger Vanished friend October 13, 2020 9:41 PM  

Yep, this is top notch analysis and first rate writing. Would also read the whole thing. I don't quite see eye to eye with the current Vox, to say the least, but apparently 2004 Vox could've been my favorite columnist.

Blogger Damelon Brinn October 14, 2020 8:16 AM  

yet Ann Coulter would dump Trump (yet endorse Romney) despite having every incentive to be the Queen of Nationalism,

I think that's the problem: she expected to be the Queen of the Trump Era, or at least appointed Wall Czar or something. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and that goes double for spinsters.

Blogger Damelon Brinn October 14, 2020 8:22 AM  

Vox Day’s essay does bring back memories.

Indeed. My first memory of Fox News was the 2000 election. They were the only network showing the other side of the story. For instance, their cameras were on when Democrats in Broward (I think) tried to take a bunch of ballots into a private room so they could "inspect" the chads and Republicans were banging on the door and threatening to knock it down.

If you were right-leaning in the 90s, you had Rush, National Review, and maybe American Spectator. You craved more from a right perspective, so it didn't take much.

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