Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

The liberal-bashing from The New Republic is at this point weird, strained, stretched to the breaking point of credulity.  Take this piece, by hyperwankerific Rob Anderson, who blames unnamed liberal elites for the Ben Domenech affair.

Domenech deserved to be let go; but in the course of celebrating his demise, liberals have missed the real lesson of this entire episode. Instead of hiring a conservative, the Post hired a caricature of one; Domenech's blog would have been less a product of red America and more a product of what blue America understands red America to be. More than anything else, the sad saga of Ben Domenech reveals just how simplistic blue-state elites have become in their understanding of American conservatism.

Throughout the article, he quotes one person, Josh Marshall, in a measured comment about the Washington Post's management.  The rest of it is a weird evidence-less screed about how liberal elites hate Red States because we can't get over 2004.

The New Republic does terrific reporting sometimes, but this is a cheap, slapped together insult of an unnamed group of people that loosely includes those of us who read and write on MyDD.  This style of work in that magazine is just outdated, like The Macarena, only you don't secretly still love it.  I wish they'd just stop it already.

Tags: Ben Domenech, Media, TNR, Washington Post (all tags)

Comments

19 Comments

Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

Agreed Matt.

I've been a TNR subscriber since college (way back in the mid-90's) and have finally reached my breaking point.

What was once a magazine filled with great, original international reporting and decent wonkery (despite the Bell Curve and Stephen Glass follies) has descended into wankery.

I can't open the mag without being treated to an attack on the blogosphere within the first few pages, not to mention all of the space eaten up by great thinkers such as Lawrence Kraplan and other pro-Iraq war hawks.

This is one subscription that will not be renewed.

by duke1376 2006-03-30 05:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

Somebody should tell Wanker Rob to go read Free Republic, Little Green Footballs, PoliPundit, RogerLSimon and RedState (!) and then tell us that Domenech is outside mainstream wingnut thought.

DISCLAIMER: All the above sites have banned me.

by piniella 2006-03-30 05:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

TNR is a piece of neo-con crud these days. They are relentless promoters of the Pretend War in Iraq. They have promoted off-shoring relentlessly.  Israel has never done a single thing wrong as far as TNR is concerned.

I dropped my subscription years ago.  They have lost thousands and thousands of subscribers.  Who are they writing for these days?

by dataguy 2006-03-30 05:32AM | 0 recs
Prospect story

To me, the most ridiculous part of that TNR piece is slamming this excerpt from that post-election Prospect story:

In red states in 2001, there were 572,000 divorces ... Blue states recorded 340,000

As of 2000, 37 states had statewide policies or procedures to address domestic violence ... All 13 that didn't were red states

The 5 states with the highest rates of alcohol dependence or abuse among 12- to 17-year-olds are also red states

Residents of the all-red Mountain States are the most likely to have had 3 or more sexual partners in the previous year ... Residents of all-blue New England are the least likely to have had more than 1 partner in that span

The per capita rate of gonorrhea in red states was 140 per 100,000 ... In blue states, it was 99 per 100,000

The TNR piece calls this a "caricature" and a "stereotype". Jesus fucking christ. So now we can't even cite STATISTICS because they amount to a caricature? Perfect example of the facts having a liberal bias.

by DavidNYC 2006-03-30 05:44AM | 0 recs
We call it The New Republican for a reason

And even with the recent pseudo-shakeup, the name still applies.

They must be getting slush fund money from some Republican sugar daddy, because they sure aren't making any money.   I figure the GOP needs "FOX Democrats" like them around so they can use 'em as clubs against the real Democrats.

by Phoenix Woman 2006-03-30 05:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

It's an online-only piece; they publish a lot of stupid crap like that.

by ItsDrewMiller 2006-03-30 05:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

If you still secretly love the macarena, I'm done with you.

by Pachacutec 2006-03-30 06:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

Hilarious.  Shorter Anderson:

   1) Progressives are celebrating a blow to conservatives
   2) "Red America" means "Conservative America"
   3) conservatives are the mainstream of the Republican Party

None of these points merit the slightest mention, other than, "Man, that was funny."  Fact is, progressives, Anderson's so-called "Blue State elites," have respect for conservative principles, and eagerly await the opportunity to debate conservatives about the serious issues facing this country.  Unfortunately, conservatives have remained, until recent Repub Party stumbles, conveniently absent from the national debate.  I think it's because they calculated that a weakened Dem party would outweigh the damage Repubs might do to the popularity of conservative principles.  Indeed, you can take just about any conservative principle and show occasion after occasion of Republicans giving it the kind of treatment Napoli carefully described after much consideration, and conservatives never made peep one!  Conservatives have been eating and eating and eating anything Republicans dream up.  I'm thinking, pre-emptive war, deficit spending, separation of church and state, torture . . . F***ING TORTURE!  

Anderson can ask me to believe that conservatives stand for something nobler than the actions of Domenech.  He can ask me to believe that conservatives make up Red America.  But Anderson is the one likely to be dissappointed, because at last count, I'm a Conservative, and I am most definately a Progressive.

by permit 2006-03-30 06:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

Because conservatives can never be wrong.  As soon as they are, we are told the AREN'T conservatives...

by howie14 2006-03-30 06:18AM | 0 recs
Who?

The New Republic? Isn't that just a bunch of dubya enabling stenographers?

by Michael Bersin 2006-03-30 07:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

The problem is that there aren't any real conservatives left anymore, only wingnuts.   Whatever happened to the conservative faction that used to believe in prudent fiscal management, keeping government out of our personal lives, sensible foreign policy, and wise stewardship of the natural resource base?

by global yokel 2006-03-30 08:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

Well, I can say with some accuracy that I have never been called hyperwankerific. Does that make me, er, a hyperwanker?

One of the most repeated claims that critics of my article have made is that I "blame liberals" for the Domenech affair or that I think it's "liberals' fault" that Domenech is a shrill, right-wing pundit. I don't, and I didn't write that in my piece.

What I do say is that it's a shame that liberals 1) don't like to admit that some, if not most, conservatives are normal, rational human beings and 2) insist on perpetuating that stereotype.

My article is about conservatives in the media and what type of conservatives one boss at one blue-state media outlet is looking to hire to be his in-house right-winger (and, of course, how that boss isn't just an extreme-liberal outlier). The world needs less right-wing blowhard pundits. For that to happen, the media gatekeepers have to accept that there are conservative pundits out there who aren't shrill and who can write intelligently and politely (and who don't personally insult writers because of what they write...uh-hem).

If I had to pick one side of the political spectrum to blame for the state of right-wing punditry, I'd obviously pick the right. That's pretty intuitive. But what the Domenech affair has shown is that liberals buy into the stereotype--and even perpetuate it when they have the chance. And that's too bad. The state of political discourse in this country is worse off for it..

--Rob Anderson

by Rob Anderson 2006-03-30 08:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

What I do say is that it's a shame that liberals 1) don't like to admit that some, if not most, conservatives are normal, rational human beings and 2) insist on perpetuating that stereotype.

That's all nice and good.  It would also be nice and good if you included evidence in your blanket smear of unnamed liberals aside from your apparent mindreading abilities.

by Matt Stoller 2006-03-30 10:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

Since when is the Post "blue-state media?"  D.C. isn't even a state, and its run lock stock and barrel by concervatives.  Go across the river and you're in Virginia, hardly a blue state.

The Post was currying favor with the GOP and thought  a little nepotism would be good.  How do liberals have anything to do with this??

Hyperwankerific indeed.

by Alan S 2006-03-30 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

Rob says:
What I do say is that it's a shame that liberals 1) don't like to admit that some, if not most, conservatives are normal, rational human beings and 2) insist on perpetuating that stereotype.

Waita minute. Aren't you doing the same to liberals? FWIW, I actually post comments attacking liberals on some issues such as public education where the smugness clouds judgement at times(credit to South Park). But I find it amusing you do not see the irony in your statement.

Also would you please list us 5 good conservative bloggers? Even Glenn Reynolds who is seen as the "sensible" conservative tends to stereotype liberals and the blue staters with some ridiculous statements. PJ O Rourke was a favorite of mine in college and even he came across as confused when he had to defend the current administration on the Bill Maher show.

Besides you miss the point of the outrage. The reason why there was such a groundswell of hate related to the Ben issue was a confluence of many factors -

  1. Ben is a smug jerk. People like that, regardless of ideology, will get back as much as they dish out.
  2. Washington Post just went through a couple of incidents involving Howell and Brady showing a double standard either because of their personal prejudices or even worse, patronizing the red staters.These incidents only served to put the liberal and even moderates(like me) on edge and ready to pounce on the Post whenever they screw up.
  3. The constant whining from the conservative blogs on how we should treat Ben with compassion when the very same people would demonize anyone on the left smacked of audacious hypocrisy.
  4. Ben, a right wing opponent of affirmative action and black icons such as Coretta Scott seemed to have benefited from his political connections to get his job.

Each factor just fed on each other. I personally think David Brooks can be full of it sometimes, and so do many liberals. Yet you do not see the amount of hatred poured his way.

by Pravin 2006-03-30 12:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

From Rob Anderson's response upthread:

". . . there are conservative pundits out there who aren't shrill and who can write intelligently and politely . . . "

Okay, Rob:

1.  Name five such "conservative pundits" and explain your reasoning for picking each one, and;

2.  Name five "conservative pundits" who you believe are shrill and who cannot write intelligently and politely, explain your reasoning for picking each one and explain how the individuals you have identified in Group One differ from those you have identified in Group Two.

by fbg46 2006-03-30 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

The hiring of Box Turtle Ben was in the first place a response to mau-mauing from conservatives. Hiring a house-broken, right-of-center voice would not have satisfied them, and they don't patronize such writers in any case. Conservatives identify with Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity, and their popularity says something about conservatives in general.

Needless to say, no one from the right side of the aisle had a problem with Domenech's hiring, or expressed the view that Domenech's writing was some kind of parody of genuine conservative concerns.

by kth 2006-03-30 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

What I do say is that it's a shame that liberals 1) don't like to admit that some, if not most, conservatives are normal, rational human beings and 2) insist on perpetuating that stereotype

and you illustrate the point by pointing out that the Washington Post has unfairly perpetuated the stereotypical view of conservatives as crude, unserious and ignorant by - um - hiring not just an appointee of but a speechwriter for the current administration?

I'm sure it's been terribly embarrassing for your Serious conservative friends.

Not because they've been unfairly stereotyped, but because they've voted the people whose cronyism and lack of judgment gave this crude, strident, unqualified and irrational kid the job of helping to shape the national discourse into the White House twice.

by julia 2006-03-30 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Ben Domenech: It's the Liberals Fault

Funny.  I thought the Ben/WP affair revealed an intellectually lazy plagarist who got a job by whining and cronyism.

by RenneP 2006-03-31 03:25AM | 0 recs

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