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November 26, 2008

Keeping The Serfs In Line

By: John Caruso of The Distant Ocean

I appreciate the New York Times for its invaluable service in educating us about the way elites see the world.  For instance, here's an informative (albeit incomplete) delineation of their political spectrum:

Now, his reported selections for two of the major positions in his cabinet — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state and Timothy F. Geithner as secretary of the Treasury — suggest that Mr. Obama is planning to govern from the center-right of his party, surrounding himself with pragmatists rather than ideologues.

So it goes from clear-headed "pragmatists" on the center-right to unreasonable "ideologues" on the ostensible left (meaning those who at least partially share the viewpoints of the vast majority of Americans, and should therefore be ignored).  Doesn't that make things clearer?

And last Friday the Times told us all we need to know about one of Obama's key upcoming appointments with an article titled "For Treasury, Geithner Said to Be Choice; Wall St. Cheers."  A few hours later, apparently realizing they were giving away the game a bit too much, they dropped the highly instructive "Wall St. Cheers"—though you can still see it on the Internets*.

The Times always has its ideological agenda, of course, but it's rare to see it so baldly displayed as it has been over the past few weeks.  It's not hard to understand why: while addled Obama supporters feel they should give him a grace period, the Times realizes that the time to enforce ideological discipline is right now, before the die is cast.  By the time Obama's leftmost supporters get around to  criticizing him in earnest (hey, I'm an optimist), it'll be too late.

* And a day later they revamped it entirely to "Fed Official is Said to be Choice for Treasury," which is neither as illuminating nor as amusingly awkward as the original.

— John Caruso

Posted at November 26, 2008 02:10 AM

Well said John.

Posted by: buermann at November 26, 2008 02:54 AM

There is no center-left, just faaaaaaar left, you see. Daily Kos = Amy Goodman = Noam Chomsky = Bill Ayers = 10,000 robot Hitler-Stalins ?= Obama

The press wants to make Obama "prove" the last equation doesn't hold. They also want to make Obama their bitch, which he isn't just yet. Just yet. Lots of his people are already, of course. AhRahm hem hem. Excuse me, just clearing my throat.

Posted by: me at November 26, 2008 04:27 AM

Right on the money John. No pun intended.

Posted by: Rob Payne at November 26, 2008 08:15 AM

My own favorite tidbit demonstrating Geithner's pragmatism--he used to work for Kissinger Associates.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at November 26, 2008 08:17 AM

Interesting how the title you get from Google search doesn't match the title of the article posted on the Times website. Surely a defect in the memory hole? Let's get a repairman on that one quickly, please. These facts don't disappear themselves, you know.

Posted by: SteveB at November 26, 2008 09:15 AM

So, the NYT and WaPost turn out to be guardians of the East Coast Establishment.
Well, sure. From the right pre-school to prep school to Eliot House at Harvard, our crowd is what matters. First it was WASPs only, then the Jews and Irish got a few places at the table, and now Asian-Americans and the right kind of Black are copying our ways and living our values too.
C. Wright Mills described the paths and patterns of our elites half a century ago, and very little has changed. Or, will change, unless...
But this time of year, why I've seen misty-eyed matrons emerge from Saks, dropping a $1 bill into the hands of that legless Vietnam vet.
They do think of those "less fortunate," they do. At least until they must decide whether it's lunch at that cute new French bistro on east 77th or at that darling Spanish tapas emporium on East 88th.
When the WSJ and the NYT face competition from a paper called "Blue Collar Daily," then I'll believe change might have a chance. And when will that be? As the New Yorker cartoon has it: "How's never? Is never good for you?"
Looks like it is, as always, good enough for us.

Posted by: donescobar at November 26, 2008 10:10 AM

Obamabots criticizing The Chosen One? That's more difficult to picture than Henry Kissinger playing bass in a reggae band.

Posted by: AlanSmithee at November 26, 2008 10:48 AM

I went out
And cleaned
The pasture stream
I only stopped
To rake the leaves away
And to watch
The water clear
I stayed

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 26, 2008 10:57 AM

SteveB: Heard that same NPR this morning. Those mean ole librul blogs.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 26, 2008 11:00 AM

Debbie Davis' classic KATHARINE THE GREAT by Deborah Davis about the Grahams and WaPo, is the kind of book that should be read so that thinking people can see where they're coming from. It explains how come that "great investigative reporter" Woodward turned out to be a sack of s**t.

But left-right is utterly worthless as a mean of judging anything anymore (which is why the NYTimes uses it). The better measurement is top versus bottom.

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at November 26, 2008 03:48 PM

The NYT hasn't changed. When Sydney Schamberg returned to the paper after his work on the killing fields of Cambodia, he wanted to cover the NYC beat.
One after another story he wrote on greedy and corrupt NYC real estate developments and scams got spiked. "Too close to Sulzberger family friends," he was told. He left the paper.
The rich, they are family. And they don't want their employees pissing into the penthouse. And they don't.

Posted by: donescobar at November 26, 2008 05:18 PM

the two look almost exactly the same. the way you can tell which's which is the ideologue wants the stolen money back.

Posted by: hapa at November 27, 2008 02:21 AM

"The better measurement is top versus bottom."
When you cut through the crap, that is the left-right distinction, though it's about whether you support

1. the continuation of unjustified privilege
2. the various modes of oppression of the poorer classes of the world as a whole

rather than just whether you are a member of a particular social class.

That's why the "elitist" thing is/was such utter bullshit. You can be from a rich background and seek to further the opportunities of all people less fortunate (rather than a cherry-picked few) or from a poor background and resent other people in the same situation as you, perhaps because they are black, perhaps because you've been conned into thinking that you might be rich one day.

The other stuff, about lattes, SUVs, etc is about tribal identifiers, and has nothing to do with ideology in any sense that matters in the longer term.

That all said, one's cultural background can give one a warped perspective of other social classes and of one's own.

Posted by: me at November 27, 2008 08:40 AM

the Google translation is meaningless...
"Einige nennen das (Verschaerfte Vernehmung) Folter," gets closer.
The German term is much better, because "verschaerfte" comes from "scharf," or "sharp," so it's a "sharpened" integorration, or one where the blades are honed sharply. "Enhanced" doesn't quite capture that.
And so, for a verschaeftes Thanksgiving to all.

Posted by: donescobar at November 27, 2008 10:24 AM

"Serf City here WE come."

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 27, 2008 10:56 AM

They were actually stupid enough to use the head "Wall Street Cheers" just weeks after the bailout and after a year during which hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs, their pensions, their investments, their homes, etc.?

Is that stupidity, or is it more likely "We're in power and can say anything we want to"? Maybe both.

Posted by: catherine at November 27, 2008 02:54 PM