Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Death of a Naked Liberal

In 2010, Newsweek was sold for a dollar and it has been devalued since. Its corporate owners have called buying it a mistake and a fool's errand. Around the same time last year, Newsweek marked a major milestone. The loss of 2.5 million readers in ten years. Since then it lost another million leaving it with about the reading population of a small city.

Meanwhile MSNBC isn't doing any better. It lost a fifth of its viewers since last year and it still can't decide if it's a network of angry idiots screaming at the camera (Chris Matthews, Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz and Lawrence O'Donnell) or snide aging college kids making wisecracks about Republicans (Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes). Neither format is working all that well and at this rate MSNBC may want to look into bringing Keith Olbermann, who combines both demographics, back for another run.

Newsweek and MSNBC will both attribute their bleeding readership and viewership to the internet, but that doesn't explain why they're both doing badly there as well. MSNBC was caught hiring bots pretending to be young women to pump up hashtags for its hosts and Newsweek's fusion with the Daily Beast didn't save it either. Its final print issue carried a hashtag implying that the web had done it in, but the internet wasn't to blame.

Neither do Newsweek and MSNBC suffer from a surplus of class. Newsweek's desperate covers last year amounted to a formerly respected magazine descending into outright trolling. It was no longer possible to tell the difference between Newsweek covers and Newsweek parody covers. And certainly Tina Brown has never been accused of a surplus of restraint and good taste. On the MSNBC front, no news network which includes Al Sharpton trying to read from a teleprompter can be accused of betting on class.

MSNBC tried to be FOX News for liberals and Newsweek tried to be the Huffington Post with a print edition. They didn't outright fail at the job, but they couldn't succeed well enough either.

The dirty little secret of liberal media is that it doesn't work. Outlets that identify explicitly as liberal usually play to a very marginal audience. Mother Jones begs money from its readers in the same obnoxious way as PBS. NPR relies on donors. The New Republic is flailing. Liberal mags that succeed do it by focusing on a topic that overlaps with a liberal target audience and embeds their articles there.

It works for magazines like Rolling Stone and the New Yorker. Online sites like Huffington Post and Buzzfeed succeed by filling themselves with so much trash that the politics becomes a sideline. The liberal brand is fine when it's stuffed into culture, elitist or trashy. It doesn't however stand on its own two feet. It can't, because it has no real appeal.

Liberalism remains marginal. Gallup polls invariably show forty percent of Americans describing themselves as conservative and twenty percent or less identifying as liberal. Liberals dumped the liberal brand after conservatives effectively destroyed it back in the Reagan era. They emphasize policies and rhetoric over political identification because a liberal political identity is toxic.

The cultural dominance of the left did not come about because a majority of Americans knowingly identify with it, but because the left has succeeded in breaking up its agendas into tinier and tinier pieces and making them part of the national dialogue using seemingly agnostic media channels. These stealth tactics have been successful because they eschewed open identification. Liberal media doesn't work when it's transparently liberal. That's why even liberals mock NPR's news coverage.

Liberal media influence works when it isn't identified as such. And when it is identified as such then eighty percent of the country switches the channel and cancels its subscription. And then liberals realize that they are preaching to the choir and dump the whole thing as a bad business. MSNBC's overt identification with a liberal agenda allowed viewers to see how little of a difference there was between a liberal news channel and the "objective" mainstream news media.

MSNBC exposed millions of people to what actual media liberals sound like when they take off their disguises and begin talking about their agenda. It allowed a level of honesty that was rare in a media landscape where stealth liberalism is delivered using biased reporting that advocates for an agenda while claiming that there is no advocacy or agenda, only common sense solutions to problems that will never be repeated again.

It's the agenda that has always been the issue. What conservatives understand and most of the country does not, is that the issues being debated are not singular events. It's not just about an individual tax hike or gay marriage or background checks for gun owners. It's about a larger agenda being put into place piece by piece. And that agenda is the ultimate taboo topic. It's the thing we aren't supposed to talk about.

Watch a media report on any issue and there is never any identification or agenda to the left. Liberal activists are just activists. Often they are described as mothers or grandmothers. They don't have a larger plan. They would just like us to ban something dangerous, raise taxes, protect our oceans and make the country more equal. There is no policy platform. No larger set of demands hiding behind the ones being made right now. And most of the country accepts this deceptive coverage at face value.

MSNBC however churned out naked liberalism. It showed career radicals like Melissa Harris-Perry discoursing on just what the agenda is. And that's fine for Mother Jones, but it isn't something that liberals like to see out in the open. And it's not something that even many of them want to spend too much time thinking about because understanding what they have truly climbed on board with can be a troubling and alienating experience.

Naked liberalism makes even liberals uncomfortable. It's why they get uncomfortable hearing the self-righteous voices on NPR. It's too much like looking into a mirror and the things in the mirror are surprisingly unsettling. Hearing a Keith Olbermann or Jon Stewart tear into Republicans was one thing. Opposition is always safe ground. It's when the talk begins to turn to what you stand for that things begin to fall apart.

Newsweek and MSNBC had made the mistake of going "Full Liberal" and not only is there a much smaller liberal audience, but that audience doesn't really like naked liberalism. It would rather see its agenda dressed up in mainstream colors than see it for what it really is. It may occasionally dive into the partisan pool, but then it gets out again.

Conservative media outlets exist as alternatives to a dishonestly liberal media establishment. But what can liberal media outlets exist as alternatives to? All they can do is speak openly about the agenda that their big brothers choose to pass off as mainstream activism and when you already control the dialogue, there's not much of a percentage in sudden bouts of honesty.

The liberal agenda relies on manipulation and deception. It can sell quite well so long as no one knows what they're buying. But label the product with the liberal brand and it stays on the shelves. New media bastions of liberalism camouflage themselves with trash. They talk politics without letting on that they're talking about politics because that admission is the death knell of everything.

Liberalism's disproportionate influence depends on not being identified for what it is. That is why it is so panicked by right wing talk show hosts, not because of their rhetoric, but because they identify a clear political struggle between two political agendas and categorize both sides. And that forces the recognition that there are two sides, disrupting the illusion of anchormen and editors as objective observers and narrators of America.

What media liberals fear most isn't the right, it's being exposed as the left. It's not so much what FOX News says, as its very existence that is threatening, because once viewers become aware that FOX represents the right, then, even if they don't agree with it, they have to come around to the conclusion that there is another side and that the media embodies that other side.

Liberalism is marginal, as is MSNBC's audience. Media outlets like Newsweek and MSNBC that go full liberal die. And that lesson has terrible implications for liberal power as a whole.


IgorR said...

Liberalism by it's very nature is incoherent because it's based on obviously faulty assumptions about human nature. It can therefore never lead to a viable free society nor can it withstand intelligent criticism if it's allowed to be exposed to it. As such it either has to be presented as an emotional attack on something or camouflaged as you describe when presented to any but 100% friendly and unquestioning audience. Or any discussion of certain topics has to become taboo so as not allow questioning the assumptions and conclusion.

While the naked liberalism may be dead, the dominance in the wide-reaching newspapers of record and alphabet networks continues, accompanied by the same in education and entertainment. Besides being taught false things, the populace has been dumbed down as illustrated by the recently measured loss of IQ since the 19th century. The big question thus still remains: how can rational arguments be made and won to the majority of the population under these adverse conditions, even when the nakedly liberal media is dead?

Illinois Freedom Coalition said...

You are a gifted writer or maybe it's just a well organized mind. This is completely true and I wish, dream, hope and pray that the fascists would just go "all the way" everyday and let the ugliness show, then the ideas can die for awhile. They always come back like a bad rash, pretending to be something good for us, but a serious break from the utopia would be refreshing, even the East Germans could sneak out for a weekend, once in a while the West.

Proof said...

Death of a naked liberal. Whew! For a moment, I thought maybe Anthony Weiner had been involved in a terrible Tweeting accident!

Anonymous said...

"Liberal" and "Progressive" are cover words implying some sort of philosophical basis for its policies. As a practical matter it is as old as the hills - interest group politics writ large.

You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours - we can call it something that sounds high falutin. The rubes will be sufficiently distracted.

Roy Lofquist

Robin said...


I am so glad you wrote this. I have been working on the "new humanism" agenda being pushed aggressively by the head of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, via education. Most people do not understand that what their local schools, K-12, and colleges and universities, and now preschools must do or cannot do is controlled by the accreditation agenda. They have the coercive power to reach into the classroom and they answer first and foremost to UNESCO.

To implement the new humanism agenda for global change UNESCO views the media as its global partner. Explicitly. In report after report. Conspiracy for all this is the wrong word because it is out in the open and it involves political power. But it is a poorly understood globally coordinated effort. It involves education and the media as two prongs in the idea you can remake a culture by controlling access to the information that frames people's daily perceptions.

It is dangerous as long as it remains in the shadows. Thanks for calling attention to the fact that Media as a Tool for elite opinion is not popular once that is understood.

Anonymous said...

"Progressive" liberals have deluded themselves into believing they're the great silent majority. They aren't.

Anonymous said...

"What media liberals fear most isn't the right, it's being exposed as the left."

That sentence crystallizes what I have been experiencing, and why I get so frustrated. Applying that same discernment to a casual conversation, it's interesting how many people who call themselves Conservative (many in my Tea Party group, for example) really espouse Liberal views on a host of subjects. And then get angry when you call them on it. Liberalism really is heavily embedded in our society. Almost everyone I know has a serious stake in the party continuing, and won't budge from the position even though they are looking over the cliff.


DenisO said...

"'s not something that even many of them want to spend too much time thinking about because understanding what they have truly climbed on board with can be a troubling and alienating experience."
We must all wonder, as I do, how these bright, "progressive" people can dedicate themselves to such ruinous policies -to themselves and their families, in the end they desire.
I have concluded that liberal men are over-sheltered, grown-up cowards that were not allowed to take the bloody nose in the school yard spat. They've adopted a safe female emotional logic, when they unconsciously try to appease the feared "monster" by taking his side, hoping to be spared. In the end, they bestow victim or "oppressed" status on the terrorist or criminal, and justify their positions as "protector" of the oppressed. Like Patty Hearst, they become one with their kidnappers, before they know it.
You're right, they don't want to see the monster in the mirror that shows what they have become.

Anonymous said...

Good piece but Naked Liberals is a distasteful image, these LIV's are just ignorant, useful fools for the progressive aka communist aka tyrants for the cause of collectivism.

Anonymous said...

Well, everyone, matbe so, but they and their kind have won the last 2 presidential elections.

fizziks said...

Ehh, I don't think Newsweek is considered by serious observers to have been a "liberal" publication. How many covers did they have in the last 10 years about Jesus or proclaiming that "heaven is real"? Pretty much every third or fourth one.

That is the reason why they failed - because their desperation for readers was transparent, and because people stopped reading news magazines.

MSNBC's ratings are down but so are Fox's. The reason is that people are bored by pundits shouting on the TV. Nothing profound there.

You are trying to make a meta-political phenomenon out of two cultural ones, but it just isn't ringing true.

NO BS said...

Yes it's more about wishful thinking and ignorance than any coherant thinking. To live and think in an organised way it too taxing for our urban princes and princesses.

Another fantastic article Mr. G

Anonymous said...

They won because the low-info voters only care about the "free" stuff - hard to compete with will be all the illegals given amnesty and voting (as if some haven't already).

Anonymous said...

The end result of juveniles going the full "Monty" - there isn't much to look at once they're exposed.

Ofay Cat said...

Anyone who respects reality and deals in it is not likely to be a liberal. Reality is conservative by nature. There is no subsidy in reality, you must deal with it in real terms. Reality is not a committee or a group, it is life 'dealing with you'. You can rise to it and be a brave and good, responsible person, or you can run to the illusion of big government and social groups to help you. They will destroy you and make sure you never have the confidence to get up off your knees again. You find most liberals hiding in government jobs, in the arts begging for extorted funds, or on welfare.

Claudius_II said...

Agree with Anonymous: actually it is the Republican party: Old White Racists, who not only are unable to win an election, but who are dying out demographically.

The Democratic Party will continue to florish as their numbers grow and as more & more people don't work and depend on Governemnt largess. It doesn't matter whether these people read or not: they only need to know where their next entitlement check is coming from.

Anonymous said...

"Never go full liberal."

Anonymous said...

Timely. I was watching CNN at the gym, and they were covering the story of the American woman killed in Syria. She married a Muslim and converted. The whole spin of the coverage was that she might have been in Syria to offer medical help, and that Syria's report she was with a group affiliated with Al Qaeda was unreliable. Nice interviews with her devastated mom and grandmom in Ohio, but no mention of how she might have become radicalized by marrying a Muslim and converting.

Anonymous said...

Are we beyond hope? The Democratic Party accuses the Republican Party of being the party of "no" and yet, they really are the party of no:

1. No to choices that are guaranteed Constitutional rights and no to the Bill of Rights-life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are to be determined only by government bureaucrats.

2. No to the rule of law.

3. No to deciding where your union dues are directed.

4. No to those not willing to fund abortions.

5. No to those not willing to support illegal alien criminals.

6. No to those who dare question the corruption, waste, fraud, inefficiencies and worthless government agencies, programs, grants, and employees.

7. No to Islam.

8. No to those who oppose the promoting and rewarding of vice and immorality.

9. No to destroying the family unit.

10. No to indoctrinated and brainwashing children into hating the U.S. and all of the principles of values upon which it is was founded.


Anonymous said...

It really is wrong to call it Liberalism as it is anything but liberal. Leftism, fascism, national socialism, etc, would be more descriptive names. But Liberalism it ain't.

cecilhenry said...

Liberalism's root motivation is ENVY.

That is why it wants to destroy all differences and demands equality--not freedom.

The devil himself fell from heaven for the sin of envy.

He wanted the Godhead for himself. No one is better than he--that's privilege and inequality.

Liberals would rather reign in hell than serve in heaven.

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