Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Meme And Variations

For days Kausfiles and others have advanced the point that the Blogosphere has led in the Trent Lott story:

[B]logs (e.g. Atrios, Josh Marshall, Tim Noah, Sullivan, and Instapundit) took the lead in blasting Lott -- while the NYT 's Guilty Southern Liberal Howell Raines, hilariously, was asleep at the switch when a real 60's-style civil rights controversy came along -- wouldn't Lott eventually have gotten into big trouble for his remarks even if the Web didn't exist? ... When Raines steps aside, I'll become a triumphalist too. ..Update: John Podhoretz is already boosting the "victory for the blogosphere" meme in what is actually a pretty persuasive column.

A variation on this meme in a slightly different key is now advanced by the New York Times, which argues that conservatives - especially Andrew Sullivan - also led the liberal media:

Conservative columnists, including Andrew Sullivan, William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, and publications like National Review and The Wall Street Journal have castigated Mr. Lott for his remarks at Senator Strom Thurmond's 100th-birthday party, arguing that the conservative movement's credibility on racially tinged issues like affirmative action and school vouchers has been squandered.

So it seems that most of the mainstream media (other than the Journal) and most liberals "waddled up" (an Ira Stoll term popularized by James Taranto) late.

To paraphrase Kausfiles: Would Lott eventually have gotten into big trouble for his remarks even if the conservatives didn't exist?

[Or, "If Josh Marshall fulminated in a forest and no conservative was there to hear him, would he make a fuss?"]

UPDATE: The news pages of the Times are reporting how conservatives led the assault on Senator Lott.

But over in the funny pages Paul Krugman ignores those conservatives and the Times story, and focuses only on that advancer of so many cracked-brained conspiracies, Atrios, as having "played a key role in bringing Mr. Lott's past to light." No mention of Andrew Sullivan appears, which is appropriate, because the grant of kudos to Atrios is only an excuse for Professor Krugman again to adopt and advance a vaguely described cracked-brained conspiracy theory himself, this time one borrowed from Atrios. Specifically, Professor Krugman this time makes creepy but empty insinuations about the supposedly nefarious "secretive Council for National Policy. This blandly named organization..."

Why choose so pale a conspiracy?! Pick one with real juice in it, Professor Krugman - Atrios has so many lying so low!

For example, who could forget Atrios' delirious claim that the "theory" that the United States government shot down Flight 93, the airliner that crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, was "credible?" Such perception! Now, Professor Krugman, there's a nifty cracked-brained conspiracy for you to advance in the New York Times.

And it's economics-free, just like you like 'em now!

Perhaps Professor Krugman will fill us in on the rumors that the Pennsylvania wreckage was surveyed quietly by a black helicopter that then went on to make a delivery to the secretive Council for National Policy!

FURTHER UPDATE: The Minute Man has more on the Krugman-Atrios Conspiracy, as those with their shared emotional predilections but not their shared political views, might couch it.

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