You might be persuaded by it!
Finally saw the movie “The Post” with Tom Hanks playing executive editor Ben Bradlee and Meryl Streep playing Katherine Graham, owner of the Washington Post. The story is of a woman in a man’s world finding herself and facing down prison, Richard Nixon, and financial ruin by publishing the purloined Pentagon Papers three years before Watergate.
The movie evoked the power of the press — as so many movies have before it — by depicting that massive, two-story high printing press churning out the truth come what may. A different era! Up in the newsroom late at night, the desk shakes under the intrepid (and poorly dressed) reporter up in the newsroom (played by Bob “Better Call Saul” Odenkirk) as the presses roar to life.
Felt those good vibrations at 1901 Fish Hatchery Road, Madison WI when The Capital Times rolled off the presses — by the late 1970s, no longer hot-lead letter press — but the same visceral sensation. Face it: there’s no magic in keying “Publish” to send your stuff into the ether on the website. (Really should fold up one of those newsprint hats the pressmen wore.) Different era.
A little before my working days, The Capital Times actually published William F. Buckley’s column until, at (I think) the McGovern convention Buckley greeted publisher Miles McMillin as “Hello, you old communist!”
Pandering to its audience
These days, The Capital Times will publish a conservative columnist only if s/he denounces Donald Trump or Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. Must reinforce the unchallenged political biases of its progressive subscribers.
Same with the New York Times. All three of its in-house “conservative” columnists are Never-Trumpers. The editorial page editor actually was forced to resign after he published an Op-Ed by U.S. Senator Tom Cotton defending the deployment of federal troops to quell domestic disturbances — an opinion held by 52% of Americans, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll.
“A fascist op ed,” full-time Trump-hater Michelle Goldberg thundered. That’s one of the ways America’s Left lets you know they disagree with your opinion. “Racist!” is another.
Good on conservative Trump-hater Bret Stephens, then, to call out this cultural Marxism in his own newspaper. Stephens writes:
Last week’s decision by this newspaper to disavow an Op-Ed by Senator Tom Cotton is a gift to the enemies of a free press — free in the sense of one that doesn’t quiver and cave in the face of an outrage mob. It is … an invitation to intellectual cowardice. … It is … an invitation to intellectual cowardice. … To suggest our readers should not have the chance to examine his opinions for themselves is to patronize them. … To claim that his argument is too repugnant for publication is to write off half of America — a remarkable about-face for a paper that, after 2016, fretted that it was out of touch with the country we live in.
‘There is a spirit of ferocious intellectual intolerance sweeping the country and much of the journalistic establishment with it. Contrary opinions aren’t just wrong but unworthy of discussion.’ — NY Times columnist Bret Stephens.
Vladimir Putin but not Tom Cotton
Even Michelle Goldberg acknowledges that “in the past, The Times’s Op-Ed page has offered ink to enemies of the United States, including Vladimir Putin of Russia and Sirajuddin Haqqani, deputy leader of the Taliban. But, Goldberg quibbles:
Putin and Haqqani … weren’t given space in this newspaper to advocate attacks on Americans during moments of national extremis. Cotton, by contrast, is calling for what would almost certainly amount to massive violence against his fellow citizens: an “overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers.”
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Heaven forbid that lawbreakers should be deterred, must less dispersed.