One quick follow-up to yesterday’s “Not Funny” post — today all manner of people are scrambling to disown Don Imus and blame his reign of (rhetorical) terror on their ideological enemies. For example, rightie Brian Maloney says some people (identified as “key leftists”) are calling Imus a “conservative.” Maloney writes, “That’s despite his endorsement of John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race and past tirades against the Bush Administration from a decidedly leftist perspective.” Maloney doesn’t explain what he means by “decidedly leftist perspective.”
Maloney provides one example of Imus being called a “conservative,” from a Media Matters press release quoting David Brock, who says,
“More and more Americans are coming to understand the damage done by major news organizations providing a platform for bigoted commentary and other conservative misinformation, and they are demanding change. MSNBC’s decision is an important step in the right direction.”
Maloney provides another example that purports to be of a “key leftist” calling Imus a “conservative,” but the word conservative doesn’t appear anywhere in his example. The quote is from Air America founder Sheldon Drobny, who complained that some “idiot commentator” had called Imus a liberal, which is absurd. I’m not sure what point Maloney thought he was making by highlighting this quote. He either thinks it is self-evident that Imus is a liberal (which is absurd), or that saying that someone is “not a liberal” is the same thing as calling him a “conservative.”
Actually, it’s very common for people to be neither liberals nor conservatives in any meaningful sense of those words, and I’d say Imus is a good example. I think David Brock misspoke when he used the word “conservative” in conjunction with Imus. True conservatives are an endangered species in America these days. George W. Bush isn’t one, and I doubt Brian Maloney is, either. Most of the critters one bumps into these days who identify themselves as “conservatives” are really pseudo conservatives, per historian Richard Hofstadter. Imus doesn’t fit into any category neatly, but I’d say he’s closer to being a pseudo conservative than anything else.
Not much else to say, except: frankly, you can keep him, guys. He ain’t one of us (although I fully expect the first round of duckspeakers claiming otherwise within the next twenty four hours); he’s your problem, so you deal with him. I don’t particularly feel like catering to your side’s delusion that all sin comes from the Right, so I shan’t; and I encourage my compadres to do the same.
The only links provided by Instapundit and Lane link either to each other or to Brian Maloney. So, basically, these fellas found one example of someone using the word “conservative” in a press release about Imus and they’re whining about all “leftists” everywhere. A number of other rightie blogs are joining this circus, and it’s possible one of them has come up with another example, but frankly I’m not terribly interested in sniffing this out any further. As I said, I wouldn’t call Imus a “conservative.”
At the same time, support for John Kerry in 2004 is hardly proof of anyone being liberal. By 2004 the two or three genuine conservatives left in America had abandoned George Bush. And since the principle and bedrock value of American liberalism is equality, a hard-core bigot like Imus cannot be a “liberal” any more than a cold-blooded critter that lays eggs can be a “mammal.”
I just had a conversation with a wingnut in which I was held responsible for Imus because the so-called liberal media were his strongest defenders so therefore, they are racists, which makes me a racist also. Did you get that logic? That’s where they’re going with this, folks.
I have written before about my pet peeve that people believe the mainstream media represent liberalism, particularly the alleged liberals of the punditocrisy. (Think Richard Cohen.) And because of this, they also don’t have a clue what “liberals” really believe in since politicians babble in politico speak and these sanctioned pundits and talking heads are so incoherent that they rarely make any sense.
Regardless of their designated perch on the media political spectrum, the fact is that these people are part of a decadent political establishment, which has almost nothing to do with liberalism anymore (if it ever did.) But the successful conflation of “liberal” and “media” has brought all the disgust at the pompous clubbiness of the media gasbags down on our heads and I resent the hell out of it.
Digby goes on to explain that she doesn’t particularly feel like catering to the rightie delusion that all sin comes from the Left. Amen, Digby.
Update: See also Pam of Pam’s House Blend.