A week ago, the publisher and editor of the New York Times issued a letter to the Old Gray Lady’s shrinking readership promising the newspaper would, post-election, “rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism.”
Many people took this letter as an acknowledgement by the Times that it failed to maintain a neutral professionalism in its election reporting and committed to change course in the future.
It was neither.
“We believe we reported on both candidates fairly during the presidential campaign,” the letter continued. This was not an acknowledgment of errors. Nor did the two executives promise to change going forward.
“You can rely on the New York Times to bring the same fairness, the same level of scrutiny, the same independence of coverage to our new president and his team.”
Same, same, same. No course-correction here.
So why did so many people misinterpret this message from the Times? Maybe it is just decency on their part: normal people don’t go through their days weaponizing racial attacks against anyone and everyone who disagrees with them. The excesses of racial libel emanating from the Times throughout the election would seem, to anyone outside the world of academia or beltway journalism or leftist politics, simply ridiculous, a fever-dream of paranoid hatred and slander.
Ordinary, ethical people witnessing someone in such a fever dream simply hope that person will wake up and get better. Ordinary, ethical people look at the weeping, screeching, pouting anti-Trump protesters (never mind the rioters blockading highways and assaulting cops) and simply hope they grow up, get jobs, and stop behaving like children.
Sure they’re pernicious, powerful, and dangerous. Sure they control a great deal of the cultural capital of this country, especially and most worryingly throughout academia from Kindergarten to the graduate schools.
(Everyone should force themselves to sit through the long version of this video, “American University students enraged by Trump win burn American flags in protest,” to comprehend the depth of the rot in academia).
But, intellectually and morally, the left has turned into a movement of overgrown toddlers, and they ought to be treated that way. You’re not doing toddlers any favors by giving in to their demands.
My Cousin Made $7,985,650 a Week On Her Computer By Calling People Racists!
Little noticed was the fact that the Times letter was also a fundraising appeal. Because it was cloaked in moral mission-speak, many people thought it was sort of an ombudsman’s statement. But it ended with pledge-drive boilerplate: “We cannot deliver the independent, original journalism for which we are known without the loyalty of our readers. We want to take this opportunity, on behalf of all Times journalists, to thank you for that loyalty.”
‘Please give generously’ was the only honest message of the piece.
In the week that followed, this curious fundraising push surfaced again in this Nicholas Kristof column. Speaking to those cosseted Times readers who have the luxury to continue wandering around loudly feeling “traumatized” by Trump, Kristof helpfully offers a “12-step” program for “making a difference at the margins.”
What margins, you might ask? The Times’ bottom line, for one. With the usual moon-surface absence of irony that entirely animates his worldview, Kristof suggests readers might take some solace from their post-election keen-fest over the-end-of-everything by sending him money:
Here is Pledge #5 of Kristof’s 12-step Trump Survival List:
I WILL support groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center that fight hate groups, and back the center’s petition calling on Donald Trump to disavow bigotry. Depending on my interests, I’ll support an immigration rights group, the A.C.L.U. or Planned Parenthood. And I’ll subscribe to a newspaper as one way of resisting efforts to squelch the news media or preside over a post-fact landscape — and also to encourage journalists to be watchdogs, not lap dogs [bold inserted].
Subscribing to a newspaper is now a social fabric healing act that the morality vampires of the left may perform before they even haul themselves off the toilet in the morning.
Add to that “buy Chobani yogurt” (#4), ruin Thanksgiving dinner with your relatives (#7), call any random mosque and offer to help them fight Islamophobia (#2), and tackle sex predators at holiday parties (also #7).
Unless they’re Bill Clinton, of course.
Amusingly, that Southern Poverty Law Center petition Kristof mentions in Pledge #5 is also just a fundraising appeal. Of course, everything the SPLC does is just a fundraising appeal.
For leftists, all politics are now lifestyle politics, and even the most mundane activity such as eating yogurt presents opportunities for curating one’s limitless self-regard.
Stephen King has decided to punish America for voting for Trump by refusing to post cute photos of his dog on the Internet anymore. A woman featured in yet another chest-thumping article in the New York Times turned her holiday card into a protest against Trump, using both her toddler daughter and the once-friendly tradition of holiday cards as props to denounce him.
Micro-narcissistically, she views this dour gesture as momentous, “illustrating her hope for the future” and a “thing she could do to reaffirm her place in the world, on behalf of herself and her daughter.”
Do such self-involved people really believe they lack a place in the world? Gazillionaire Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman decided that Trump’s election had rendered him “homeless,” a feeling that ought to dissipate every time he wakes up in his sprawling mansion or writes another column about deep thoughts emanating from Tom Friedman’s brain that millions will read in the most prominent newspaper in the nation.
It’s amazing he would feel comfortable saying such a thing out loud. But he did.
The Dark Side of Ham-Fisted Anti-Trump Narcissism
For me, the real shocker of this election was not Trump’s win but the number of people I knew who were afraid, with good reason, to tell anyone that they were voting Trump. I know people who ordinarily plaster their cars and yards with election signs who decided this time to put out, maybe one sign in the yard but nothing on their car. Since the election, I’ve heard from a few non-Republican friends and acquaintances who admitted they voted for Trump but asked me not to tell anyone.
Based on pre-election polling and the election results, it’s hard to not see this as a widespread phenomenon.
A few years ago, I was meeting a scholar for lunch at the northeastern university where he works. He asked if we could meet off campus because he didn’t want anyone to suspect that he was secretly Republican. Such things no longer surprise me, but they ought to be surprising.
Eating lunch – rather, existing while Republican is practically a hate crime on college campuses today.
If you think back two or three decades, can you imagine an America where people are literally afraid to tell their family and friends (and bosses) whom they are supporting for president?
The Nicest Soup Kitchen in the World
Tom Friedman isn’t homeless: he lives in a mansion. He isn’t voiceless: he has one of the biggest megaphones in human history. But the phenomenon he’s speaking of is real – only it’s happening to conservatives, not liberals. And since the election, the high-ranking snowflakes of the Left, including at the Times, have signaled that they will continue working to purge Trump supporters from their workplaces, classrooms, and public squares.
Hillary Clinton emerged from her aborted fortnight of mourning to tell other people they need to keep mourning for her and live in fear – not of her supporters who are busy burning city blocks, bashing in the heads of Trump supporters, and swarming cars on public streets — but of entirely mythical, Trump-voting non-rioters.
According to the Times, Clinton’s defeat “had left nonwhite children and vulnerable people across the nation afraid.”
“No child should be afraid to go to school because they’re Latino, or African-American, or Muslim, or because they have a disability,” said Mrs. Clinton.
Unchallenged by her peers, that is the official Democrat position now. Moderate Democrats (and Republicans) who do not dispute this view need to be reminded of their silence at the next election.
Nowhere was such fear-mongering more disturbingly expressed than in Nicholas Kristof’s 12-Step Trump Recovery article.
Kristof is inching towards a weirdly physical, almost molecular revulsion towards Trump supporters. He urges his readers to give blood and sign up for organ donations to channel their anti-Trump energies. To paraphrase, the body politic is sick: it needs the blood of Clinton supporters to “heal” it. In the next breath, he counsels people to not call Trump voters Nazis, not because they aren’t Nazis, but because such accusations “rarely persuade.”
Kristof doubtless thinks that virtue-signaling such as blood banking and organ donation and faux-empathy and ‘healing the rent fabric of civilization’ transparently proves his goodness and good intentions (a usual Kristofian trope).
But exactly the opposite is true.
By literally manufacturing leftist micro-aggressions, by drawing his finger across civic activities and good deeds and shamanistically declaring them weapons in an ongoing battle against people who supported Trump, he is trying to push the war of American against American deeper and deeper into our everyday lives, for partisan gain.
At the very least, he ought to be honest enough to admit that the shredded pile of social fabric he’s standing on is his own creation.