Patterico's Pontifications


Jennifer Rubin and Manufacturing Consent

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:01 am

[Posted by Karl]

Ben Smth’s Politico profile of WaPo non-liberal blogger Jennifer Rubin, highlighting her relentless attacks on Rick Perry (and parallel Romney boosterism) does not tell any reader on the right anything they didn’t know, but it took a lefty, Balloon Juice’s DougJ, to latch onto the telling details, first quoting the story:

The Washington Post’s official conservative blogger, Jennifer Rubin, has written 60 columns on the would-be conservative favorite, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, eight of them Tuesday.

Rubin tends to write long, for a blogger, and those columns add up to 38,722 words, among them “sleepy,” “hostile,” “dreadful,” “provincial,” “cloying,” and “buffoon.”

DougJ comments:

Eight anti-Perry posts in one day? Thirty eight thousand words (the length of a short novel)?

There’s no way an establishment blogger on the Democratic side would get such a hard-on for one candidate that they’d attack the candidate that obsessively.

The eight anti-Perry posts were no surprise — Romney was busy massively screwing up in Ohio, so her other topic was off the table Tuesday.  But Rubin’s overall record does border on monomania.  Based on her quotes, Rubin apaprently does not care that this makes her look both lazy and incapable of editing herself.  She may want to consider that obsessive groupiedom is a sure way to get a conservative audience to tune you out (see, e.g., Andrew Sullivan).

Redstate’s Erick Erickson (admittedly pro-Perry) questions whether the WaPo should be employing as its ostensibly conservative blogger someone so openly shilling for a single candidate.  That’s not a bad question, but there is a better one.  I suspect Erickson and others would be less irked by Rubin if the situation did not epitomize the establishment media’s efforts to manufacture center-left consent.  Erickson himself is a contributor at CNN, but among Big Media, only Fox presents anything close to the diversity of the right — and then only because they have to fill air 24/7.  The rest hire few conservatives.  Accordingly, the impulse on the right is to want those slots by filled by someone approaching generic conservatism.  However, what you get from the New York Times and the WaPo (which still set the agenda for network TV news) is the likes of Ross Douthat and Rubin (Smith reports the WaPo has been courting Marc Thiessen, but he’s known primarily on national security and foreign policy and thus not much different from Rubin).  From this perspective, it’s not surprising that a lefty would be struck by Rubin’s over-the-top approach, as more hardcore lefties also tend to be marginalized by Big Media. 

There are many on the right who dismiss such concerns because they dismiss the establishment media in general.  However, anyone not actively seeking out the conservative or libertarian viewpoint will encounter them only through Big Media.  Those who dismiss the establishment media also tend to wonder why the right isn’t more successful politically.  There are a number of answers to this (some of them structural), but one reason is because the left picks the public voices of the right to the casual voter.


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