Times up Bambi

Well there’s a sliver of good news for Republicans this week. It looks like the NRDC hippies and Larry David’s wife will no longer be able to keep us from our precious. The Senate voted (86-13) (51-48) today to allow drilling in ANWR. The 1.33 gallons-per-minute dream is still alive! Vroom!!!



Noam Chomsky, the well known critic of US foreign policy and now retired Professor of Linguistics at MIT was recently named the worlds "top public intellectual" by Prospect magazine. I know nothing about his theories on linguistics and only a little about his politics, but it was his politics that got him on this list. The more I read about this guy, the more I wish folks on the left would distance themselves from his critiques. His logic, such as it is, is entirely incongruous with any conception of a moral high ground. I.e., since personal politics boils down to which ideology most reflects your broad ideas of right or wrong, consistency matters. If one truly cares about the plight of oppressed people, one does not flippantly excuse the actions of a despotic/totalitarian regime. This interview from the Guardian, hardly a bastion of conservative journalism, offers a pretty dramatic example of how morally capricious this fellow is.

"on the pogroms of Russia, which none the less Chomsky can't help qualifying as "not very bad, by contemporary standards. In the worst of the major massacres, I think about 49 people were killed."
"Being smart, he believes, is a function of a plodding, unsexy, application to the facts and "using your intelligence to decide what's right".

This is, of course, what Chomsky has been doing for the last 35 years, and his conclusions remain controversial: that practically every US president since the second world war has been guilty of war crimes; that in the overall context of Cambodian history, the Khmer Rouge weren't as bad as everyone makes out; that during the Bosnian war the "massacre" at Srebrenica was probably overstated. (Chomsky uses quotations marks to undermine things he disagrees with and, in print at least, it can come across less as academic than as witheringly teenage; like, Srebrenica was so not a massacre.)"
More profound examples of these basic views online, simply google his name and browse through the results. The most concise and efficient grouping of critiques is can be found on Wikipedia.


How common is this?

While it’s likely that Mary Mapes is just an especially nutty (ex)member of the media establishment I wonder how many Journalists like Mapes rationalize ideologically motivated journalism by comparing themselves to Edward R. Murrow. Is this the security blanket journalists like those at the NYTimes wrap themselves in every time it’s revealed their reporting is less than objective? If this self-indulgent Robin Hood fantasy is what allows ideologues to believe they’re still good journalists, what does this say about Academia? I’m sorry but Edward R. Murrow and Joe McCarthy are hardly the hero and villain liberal mythology (and George Clooney) would like them to be.