The Pleasures of Racism, Selfishness, and Fear

For those who don't pay attention to how America's mainstream media actually functions nowadays, the recent JournoList scandal may prove a bit shocking. JournoList was a listserv [1] created by Ezra Klein, a sanctimonious young man who regularly appears on MSNBC. Mr. Klein writes for the Washington Post, which owns the JournoList e-mail archive.

According to Mr. Klein, the JournoList forum was created for members of the mainstream media as a "wonkish [2], fun, political yelling match." During its existence, it accumulated tens of thousands of e-mails from its roughly four hundred participants. Recently, it was discontinued when its contents were leaked to the public [3].

Some of the JournoList e-mails reveal that the mainstream media has been deeply complicit in deceiving the American people about Mr. Obama [4]. Other e-mails reveal that some of the luminaries in the mainstream media are both cruel and churlish. But what is perhaps most significant is that some of the e-mails show that the mainstream media is afflicted with a disability that might best be described as a form of social psychosis [5].

For example, one of the JournoList participants is a woman by the name of Katha Pollitt. Ms. Pollitt is a writer for The Nation magazine and is also published by The New Yorker, Harper's, Ms., and The New York Times. In commenting on the Tea Party movement, Ms. Pollitt had this to say: "[T]oday's US rightwingers have nothing concrete to offer people. Just the pleasures of racism and selfishness and fear."

At the level of political theory, Ms. Pollitt's comment seems woefully devoid of verisimilitude. She makes an implicit assertion that the proper role of our national government is "to offer" something to the American people. This kind of thinking is what leads to a totalitarian nanny state. In our country, the proper domestic function of the federal government is to maintain a minimum structure of national rules that ensures the maximum amount of personal freedom consistent with lawful behavior. Beyond that, the Founders intended that the federal government should stay out of the way of the states and the American people, leaving them free to determine how best to secure their own happiness [6].

Ms. Pollitt's comment also reveals that she, like so many of her JournoList colleagues, is trapped in a state of pathological projection [7] about "racism and selfishness and fear." Despite many weeks of claiming that the Tea Party movement is racist, nobody in the mainstream media has been able to produce one iota of evidence to substantiate the charge. As for selfishness, surely there is nothing more selfish than expecting millions of hardworking Americans to shoulder the burden of ever-expanding government programs for a permanent welfare class and tens of millions of illegal aliens in order to empower the left -- yet that is precisely what the mainstream media wants Americans to do. And as to fear, it takes only a cursory glance at the JournoList e-mails to see how central that emotion is to the gestalt of Ms. Pollitt and her JournoList colleagues.

Considering the evidence, an objective observer must conclude that when it comes to "the pleasures of racism and selfishness and fear," the mainstream media and their cultural Marxist heroes beat the Tea Party hands down!


1 A listserv is electronic mailing list software that allows someone to send an e-mail and reach a whole group of people.

2 The word "wonkish" is apparently an adjective meaning bookish.

3 In criminal law, when someone runs away after a crime is committed, it is considered evidence of scienter, a Latin word that refers to a person's awareness of having done something wrong. So, too, in civil law, when a manufacturer of a product abandons a product's design after the product causes injury, such after-the-fact conduct may be introduced into evidence to prove that the product was originally defective or unsafe.

4 It is with good reason that the JournoList members considered the mainstream media to be the "non-official campaign" for Mr. Obama.

5 I use the word psychosis in its generic sense here, denoting a loss of contact with reality. In psychiatry, psychosis refers to a mental state characterized by delusional thinking and distorted perceptions of reality.

6 The Constitution of the United States would not have been ratified unless the Founders included the Bill of Rights, also known as the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution. The Tenth Amendment provides that "[t]he powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." The Ninth Amendment provides that "[t]he enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

7 Psychological projection is the unconscious act of denial of a person's own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world. It involves imagining or projecting one's own thoughts or feelings onto others. Projection is considered to be one of the most profound and subtle of human psychological processes, and an extremely difficult one to work with because by its nature it is hidden. It is the fundamental mechanism by which people keep themselves uninformed about themselves.
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