The Jury Talks Back


Poll: Who Is a Greater Threat to Western Civilization? Russia, or the News Media?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:45 am

Dennis Prager tweets:

I had a couple of questions for him.

Anyway, I thought I would run a poll based on Prager’s question, just because I wanted to be really depressed today. So here you go:

Which is a greater threat to Western civilization?
The news media in the West

survey maker

I predict upwards of 80% of people here will agree with Prager.


  1. When did the media get nuclear weapons?

    Comment by DRJ — 7/15/2017 @ 8:02 am

  2. DRJ

    I would say that the media has the ability to start wars that aren’t needed and to sow confusion and do other things of danger with their poisoned pens that most folks realize. Yet, I don’t think Prager gets that he is member of what he protests. So I don’t get the whiny attitude from him. Always assumed he was smarter than this, but it must be one of those red meat things that the smart folks toss out from time to time.

    Comment by Charles — 7/15/2017 @ 7:06 pm

  3. The media has ended wars in modern times but I don’t recall them caring about anything enough to start any. But, even if they were able to inflame passio

    Comment by DRJ — 7/15/2017 @ 8:16 pm

  4. … Inflame passions enough to start a war, the public isn’t helpless. We can pressure leaders and elect new ones. That’s how our Republic works. But we have very little power to affect what happens in other countries. We have to depend on our government making good national security decisions, and part of that is realizing who our enemies are.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/15/2017 @ 8:19 pm

  5. DRJ,

    I was looking at the media in the larger scale. As part of my Summer reading this summer I just finished these two books: Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 and The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914
    and now I am in The Causes of War. All of which have talked about the role in the media to inflame those passions and made people forget their roles in government. Obviously, Iron Kingdom and Sleepwalkers talks about European government actions; but some of their media helped to push terrorists to do the killing of the ArchDuke and getting the German, as well as the Austrian population spun up about he need to not let their honor be tarnished. Most interesting is in reading Sleepwalkers (which I just finished last night) is that in a number of countries that were the most belligerent (Germany, Austria, Russia) during the time period from about 1890 till 1914; the media in those countries fell in line behind certain members of the palaces and when those members fell those elements of the media fell out of favor or at worst the media turned on their former handlers.

    I can totally see the same here and in one of my history classes in college, we had a lecture series for a week that talked about the myths of American Media and its role in government controls. Basically, until the last 40 years (at least since the start of media consolidation in the late 70s and early 80s) there used to be three brands of paper and electronic media for public consumption. One was always right wing, one was always left wing and depending on the historical voting averages for the city/county where the paper is based either Bircher style RW or Marxist LW extremes. So I can see the right tinder and the media tossing a match or a flaming torch or even pouring more gas on a fire, then watch it explode with shock. Pick a recent topic from the election of Trump to the BLM movement to PC culture. The media acts shocked like a French Colonial Police Officer, that there is violence going on here. When they have engaged in some sort of wink, wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean, know what I mean action.

    That said, again Prager is a fool and this is red meat to his followers (and other conservatives who want to piggy back on his thinking). Russia and other existential threats (see ISIS/AQ/whatever is the hot term for the latest religious based terror group that is trans-national) exist as dangers to Western Civilization.

    Comment by Charles — 7/16/2017 @ 11:30 am

  6. But isn’t the media capitalizing on public passions that are already receptive to what they say, just as Trump did during his campaign? The media and Trump did not create the passions but they did exploit them.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/17/2017 @ 5:22 am

  7. IMO the way to fix the problem with the media is more competition.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/17/2017 @ 7:33 am

  8. But only the government can deal with Russia. It has a monopoly on foreign relations.

    That’s why Russia is more

    Comment by DRJ — 7/17/2017 @ 7:34 am

  9. To me, that’s why Russia is more dangerous than the media.

    It’s far easier to introduce competing ideas to the public that change opinions through the various media on TV, radio and the internet. It’s much harder to introduce ideas that win hearts and minds in countries like Russia.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/17/2017 @ 7:37 am

  10. DRJ,

    I don’t know where the passions came from. From my non-pro analysis of the situation it appears that it might be a chicken and an egg problem. Did the media inflame passions that were not existing except at the fringes or did they light the fire when there was nothing and jump around screaming about fire? I don’t know and it would seem to me that this would require a larger debate about “media” as in news media who present what is going on in the world to people or do we talk about “media” as in the whole where it includes fictional and non-fictional books, movies, magazines, shows, as well as the news half. That is larger and more interesting at times in the discussion about biases, privilege and the what makes up “the truth”. One that I think is always better over a bar table with a good couple of steins of beer, some black bread and summer sausage slices.

    I will agree that the Trump campaign cashed in those passions to get the votes it needed. While the DNC who cashed in some of those same passions in 2006 thru to 2012 missed out on what they were supposed to be listening for and to whom they were listening.

    As to competition in the media markets. I would say that we (as in conservatives) thought we had that locked with AM talk radio and then the idea of then the internet and finally when FNC made it big. Add in that for as much as we want to talk about the wonders and joys of free speech in this nation. There are also some very large barriers to entry on the economic side to present your free speech ideas in the news media. As well as a government oversight in the name of the FCC and now the FEC (via the various campaign financing rules). Finally, as some seem to have noticed about FNC that is appears to have slowly gone the “O’Sullivan Law” route.

    If we add in the lack of intellectual depth that appears to have come from the Gen X’er and even early millennial level it would seem to me that that the conservative movement and the GOP can’t seem to articulate very well what it stands for or a way forward into the 21st century without resorting to some tired old dogma from the era of the New Deal. Then watch as these same intellectual types cheer on the conservative moves which look vaguely like DNC/Progressive Liberal maneuvers of rent-seeking crony capitalism and government programs that add to the burden but don’t help or even light touches to already existing programs (see the current fight about PPACA) that don’t do anything to fix the fundamental issues with the program.
    So I think that our competing ideas is in the media is a lost cause.

    With all that being discussed, I think that you and I are closer to agreement over the Putins (and most other dictatorial like leadership that the Progressive-Liberals have fawned over the past 60+ years.) I just wanted to stimulate the debate by asking the question about whether the media should be viewed as an enemy as well (priority level is it the Joker or is it Egghead to the Batman in the danger levels?) against conservatives. Simply because they are willing to light fires and then step back asking non-critical questions about the fires about the true arsonists.

    Comment by Charles — 7/17/2017 @ 7:15 pm

  11. I think you and I are on the same page, Charles. Thanks for an interesting discussion.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/18/2017 @ 3:44 am

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