Lament the fall of journalism! That such a great, magnificent field of human achievement has been corrupted—ah, what a shame! Who now can know truth without those statuesque gatekeepers administering it to us? Who now can know the specifics of public policy and bring us the facts of the situations on the ground? Who now can know how best to explain to us poor plebian idiots the intricacies of politics on the Hill?
Well, hopefully, someone who hates his job. About the only way to get honest facts are to send people who are so disinterested in the topic at hand that they can’t help but report whatever they see honestly and decisively. If the left is good at anything, it’s politicizing every aspect of modern life—something cleverly ingrained into modernity since its conception. And if the right is good at anything, it’s being dumbly led along by the left’s debauched donkey circus. In a world overloaded with information and media, a world where the mob tends to rule, observers on the state are necessary for both sides of the partisan agenda. It’s what exacerbated this whole mess and part of the reason Trump got elected in the first place.
Maybe journalism existed once. At some point. I couldn’t exactly tell you when. Presumably, there were still journalists before the blogosphere took off in the late 90s and 00s. Presumably, they worked for less-than-reputable rags and probably had day jobs on the side in order to support themselves. Presumably, they’re all self-employed Twitter artists now, and if they aren’t complaining about Trump’s latest tweet with a sarcastic comment about Nazis, they’re the sort who instead call people snowflakes and pathetically decry the Swedish immigration experiment. The partisanship in the mainstream press is countered only by tweets by trolls and a handful of alt-media outlets—and more power to them.
In any case, I say “presumably” because I’m not completely sold on the notion that the press was ever non-partisan, or at the very least, anything other than a tool of the government. Early American post-colonial independent presses notwithstanding, the media has always had a distinctly propagandistic slant to it for longer than living memory can serve. What has changed, however, is how overtly that propaganda has shifted to support not the government’s goals, per se, but the goals of distinct groups who run that government. The Democrat Narrative machine rolls on, aided by the deep state, with no sufficiently organized or funded form of journalism on the right to combat it.
Pundits—particularly conservative pundits—who sit on the fence while they take potshots at their own candidate are worthy of specific attention. It takes a certain delusional quality to pretend that political punditry is anything other than an intentionally opinionated and intrinsically biased method of discourse. That is, after all, the whole point. Presumably, pundits are experts in their field, people worthy of listening to when commenting on particular issues like policy. Presumably, they have opinions on whether these things are good or bad, and likewise, presumably, most audiences would want to hear those opinions. Most of us aren’t well-versed enough on policy, law, or even a whole hell of a lot when it comes to politics in order to make coherent, informed opinions about most policies. That’s why we listen to pundits.
But responsible pundits have an obligation to put their perspectives into context. The Never Trump crowd fail to do this at every turn. They treat conservatism—and Americanism in general—as the belief in a set of ideals, rather than a reflection of the people who hold them. People, not ideas, are what sustain societies and prevent them from collapse. People are influenced by ideas and, now and again, can even change their mind about what they believe. But in ignoring this, in framing the ideological struggle between the left and the right as one dependent more upon ethereal concepts rather than the people who hold them, Never Trumpers cannot understand the importance of voting for people rather than voting for platforms. Ideas are motivators, not actors or agents.
As a result, conservative commentary is more interested in displaying how wildly Trump fails to meet the conservative ideal than it is in highlighting the fundamental problems with the media, the Democratic party, and the entire structure of the government. Their Guy didn’t win the primaries, but then again, they didn’t really have a guy in the first place; most conservatives—even myself, at the time—supported Ted Cruz not because of what he was capable of, but because of what he believed in. Trump supporters, perhaps more realistically, liked Trump not because of what he believed in (heck, some of us still don’t have a full grasp on that), but what he was capable of. He showed competence and surprising ingenuity, and he demonstrated his willingness and ability to win. The right should rather have a fighter capable of grabbing victory than an ideologue who refuses to acknowledge the lethality of the fight at hand.
Okay, you might say, but how do we know Trump can win? Well, ignoring his pre-election track record, just look at what he’s done so far: roll back countless Obama administration regulations on businesses and environmental chokeholds, cut funding to wasteful public conditioning programs that were lazily disguised as arts and humanities subsidies, cut illegal immigration across the southern border by over 90% purely by his rhetoric alone, and, most of all, throw the media into a disorganized hysterical mess over tweets he spends no more than a couple seconds on every night. Even if the guy isn’t conservative, and even if his budget sucks and his policies on trade and domestic labor lead to a crummy economy for a while (both of which are too early to call at this stage), the damage he’s dealing to the media’s credibility is worth it all by itself. So long as the media maintains its stranglehold on the narrative, and so long as political correctness continues to be pushed toward its logical extreme, no form of traditionalism will survive to see another political win for the next several generations.
The issue at heart is that conservative journalists are split into two major and somewhat irreconcilable camps: those that want to focus on the right-wing agenda, which means acknowledging the negative Trump press while spending more time hammering the easy targets in the mainstream media, versus those that claim to call ‘balls and strikes’ of the Trump administration. That latter camp seems like objective reporting. It seems reasonable. Except we have an entire left wing media narrative machine that’s calling the balls and strikes for us. They’ve been doing it for decades. And while the argument could be made that they’re so dishonest that a normal person can’t tell what’s actually a strike and what’s actually a ball anymore, one has to wonder whether that makes a difference.
While I don’t believe the American public is stupid, I also don’t think they’re interested in matters of policy—nor should they be. The left, for the most part, has understood that. It has incrementally crept into America’s hearts and minds with the stories they tell, the TV shows they produce, the books they write, and the music they make. They’ve been working on this for generations, slowly supplanting the values of America, Christendom, and self-determination with the easy appeals to hedonism, atomized individualism, and a muddled doublespeak that lip-services equality. And while they’re using their influence in the arts and the academies to condition the population to disregard marriage, appropriate murder into a form of women’s obligation, and divide society up into a hierarchy of imaginary victimhood, they’re busy quietly forcing through judicial fiats in order to codify these things into law. That way, all the petulant conservative traditionalists who slip through their social programming can just be thrown in jail or subjected to crippling fines should they make a ruckus. Like Christian bakeries. Or investigative journalists exposing government-funded abortion clinics.
Liberté, égalité, fraternité! says the left, as they cordon us off in pint-sized urban apartment buildings for us to ignore our brothers, divide us according to race and sex to emphasize our inequality, and deprive us of our dues in the form of excessive taxation and slanderous media coverage. But that’s the power of a multi-generational narrative—who is someone more willing to believe: the status quo, or someone claiming that things aren’t supposed to be this way?
With a threat like this, what need has the right for pundits to call the balls and strikes? Fence-sitting punditry, with a vaguely idolatrous embrace of ‘conservative principles’ has been partly to blame for leftism’s gradual encroachment. No president ever lives up to such principles—nor can they. Working on the Hill is not a job for the ideologically pure or the morally righteous. It’s a job for the scrupulous, certainly, but autistic adherence to conservative principles won’t just lead to gridlock, it’ll lead to a very short term in office and replacement with something guaranteed to be worse. So long as the narrative exists, traditionalism has no place in politics. That ground must be fought upon again in order to be regained.
The present culture war puts Trump firmly on one side of it, even if he’s hardly the best example of a traditionalist around. Conservative pundits that even bother granting air time to ridiculous non-stories that the mainstream media has manufactured as talking points are only playing into the liberal agenda. They cannot pretend to frame themselves as the objective alternative to the lying mainstream media and dubious alt-media outlets, particularly when they are themselves all too often on alt-media platforms.
The left wants the right disorganized or asleep. It’s the only way the left can win, and it’s the only way it ever has. Conservatives who waste their influence on nonissues are doing their part to undermine whatever success the right has a chance at.