So You Think 1984 Is For Liberals? Let’s Ask Instapundit.

Orwell-c-cIn January, the New York Times gleefully reported, “George Orwell’s ‘1984’ Is Suddenly a Best-Seller.” Their angle was clear: the URL for the story includes “george-orwell-donald-trump.”

Don’t get me wrong: I’m always happy when liberals start reading classics. But as usual, the “progressive” interpretation of things is completely devoid of historical context.

I’m not just talking about the anti-communist criticism underlying the book’s commentary. Of course we can’t expect American SJWs to catch on to that.

I simply mean their tacit assumption that this text is uniquely tailored to their snowflake-friendly conception of the world, tunnel-visioned as it is.

Just ain’t so, I tells ya.

For every clever parallel some 2017 progressive draws between Orwell’s masterpiece and their jaundiced vision of the contemporary political landscape, conservatives have drawn dozens of far more meaningful comparisons over the years.

Consider this: the excellent, conservative news aggregator Instapundit got tons of mileage out of 1984 references all throughout the previous administration. Searching for 13 salient terms there produces these results:

memory hole” : Number of uses during Obama administration–84

always been at war” : Number of uses during Obama administration–13

doublethink” : Number of uses during Obama administration–12

thought police” : Number of uses during Obama administration–25

Newspeak” : Number of uses during Obama administration–51

Anti-sex League” : Number of uses during Obama administration–10

thought crime” : Number of uses during Obama administration–13

doubleplusungood” : Number of uses during Obama administration–9

Ministry of Truth” : Number of uses during Obama administration–24

Two Minutes Hate” : Number of uses during Obama administration–4

war is peace” : Number of uses during Obama administration–13

prole” : Number of uses during Obama administration–39

Big Brother” : Number of uses during Obama administration–90

Can liberal news commenters equal this litany of allusions during the Trump years?

 

 

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On The Use & Abuse Of Media

After all that’s been written for and against gay marriage, there’s one major aspect of the issue that has received almost no attention at all. And it may be the most important part.

In the early 2000’s, 31 U.S. states passed constitutional amendments that specifically reiterated the definition of marriage as being one-man-one-woman. By 2015, when the Supreme Court struck those down, a majority of Americans in surveys said they no longer disapproved of gay marriage.

Aside from any feeling about the issue itself, that change should be fascinating. Has there ever been a faster shift of so large a portion of the population on so major an issue? In only about a decade, millions of people just changed their mind.

And nobody seems to be asking why or how.

I think the answer is obvious, if we do bother to ask. Those millions of people didn’t all just spontaneously have random changes of heart, in history’s biggest coincidence.

No. The media worked on us. What else could it have been?

There’s no need here to rehash the many, many positive portrayals of gay people and their relationships on TV over the last few decades (a short summary, though, is here); I don’t think anyone would deny that such portrayals were very common, that they became more common over time, and that the amount of characters involved was disproportionate to the general population in real life.  Again, no value judgment about gay marriage either way is needed in order to simply see that TV’s tendency to preach the virtue of gays was widespread. One might say that this trend was meant to combat ignorance–fair enough. My point here is that the trend exists.

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“Speaking Out”

This is one of the great media clichés of our time.  Whenever a news outlet reports on an event, if they favor what someone’s saying, or if they want to make it appear artificially dramatic, they refer to it as “speaking out.”

Only good people “speak out.”  People speak out about curing cancer, improving education, helping the poor, and promoting peace.  Nobody speaks out about insignificant issues, or political causes the media doesn’t like.  People certainly do talk about these things publicly, but they can’t be given the media’s honored sanction of “speaking out.”

Look for this in the news, especially local news, and you’ll see what I mean.

 

It’s easy to criticize NPR, but…

Yes, NPR was shamelessly biased and intolerant for firing commentator Juan Williams for expressing a tame personal opinion that dared to color outside the party lines (when they were really just looking for an excuse because they hated him for not hating Fox News; he isn’t conservative–far from it–he just doesn’t hate them–that’s unacceptable!).  Always funny how those who squawk loudest about tolerance and variety are the least likely to live it. 

Still, all the criticism against NPR that’s slamming them for violating his “right to free speech” is wrong.  Our right to free speech is not the same as a guaranteed platform or audience.  It’s merely a restriction on persecution.  NPR isn’t persecuting him, just refusing to give him a bully pulpit anymore.  In a free country, employers are welcome to terminate the employment of whoever they want.  We may not like their reasoning, but it’s their call to make. 

Of course, the bigger problem for me here is not that NPR is advocating a leftist agenda so much as they’re disingenuous about it.  Stop claiming to be neutral when you’re not!  There’s nothing wrong with being a liberal media outlet, but at least be honest about it. 

Several years ago, around the outbreak of the Iraq war, I listened to Teri Gross’s show Fresh Air for a while.  I stopped after her biased treatment of guests became too obvious to bear.  Liberal guests were adored, worshipped, joked with, and flattered to no end–I remember when the author of What’s Wrong With Kansas? came on, Gross exuded giddiness like a preteen with a crush. 

But when the occasional conservative would come on, I could hear the irritation in her voice–she would grill them in this terse, quizzical tone that sounded like a scientist studying a bug under a microscope: “I don’t understand this weird thing, but I’m trying to wrap my superior mind around it.”  One Bush administration official got yelled at with increasing vigor as he failed to wither under her scrutiny.

Whether or not they’re balanced, biased, or whatever else, we shouldn’t be funding a public media outpost at all, though.  If, as the defenders always say, taxes are such a tiny part of their budget, then why make such a big fuss about letting it go?

Media: Woman’s Negligence Kills Baby…Sue The Hospital!

I was one of a million people who was recently outraged by the horrifying, tragic story of a young Las Vegas woman named Roshunda Abney who was ignored–ignored!–by emergency room staff for six hours until she went home and gave birth to a premature baby who then died.  Imagine that!  The hospital ignored the moans of a pregnant woman in agony, for hours.  They must have been playing poker or something back there that whole time.  Surely, there is incompetence or racism or something equally nefarious going on here.

There’s just one problem.  It turns out there’s something pretty important that most media reports have left out of this story.  The hospital didn’t know the woman was pregnant.  For that matter…neither did she.

That’s right.  She was six months pregnant and thought she was just having stomach pains.  Somehow, the reports of this story that made national news, especially the official Associated Press version, completely left out this little detail. 

Now, I can’t imagine how a woman could possibly not know that she was pregnant for six months–it would seem that some major physical signs would have had to be present–but it goes without saying then that she had gotten no prenatal care.  Still, I have to wonder what her lifestyle was like during that time that killed her baby.  I’d love to know if she was smoking, drinking, or doing anything else unhealthy during that time. 

In their rush to run yet another story that makes some big, bad, scary institution look evil, the media has really dropped the ball on this one.  Unfortunately, the lion’s share of responsibility for this poor baby’s death probably has to fall on the mother who wasn’t even good enough to know that she was a mother.  I may be wrong, but one thing’s for certain: the media has largely given us an unbalanced story, and too many people are hurrying to condemn the hospital. 

Read the AP version of this story here.  A local story that briefly mentions that the woman didn’t know she was pregnant is here.