March 8, 2011

The Respectable Conservative Media

In Deconstructing Obama, Jack Cashill shares with readers the treatment he received by members of what he calls “the respectable conservative media” (RCM). While in search of outlets for his thesis that it is in fact Bill Ayers who authored Barack Obama’s first memoir, Cashill says of the establishment right that when it didn’t ridicule his proposal, it ignored it entirely. Such “respectable conservative media” personalities were “cautious to the point of being cowardly,” Cashill bluntly asserts.

This should come as a surprise to no one, least of all someone with Cashill’s richness of imagination and daring. The RCM – talk radio, FOX News, and such publications as National Review and The Weekly Standard – is hemmed in by the same Politically Correct constraints as the left-wing establishment against which it rails. Indeed, it wouldn’t be “respectable” unless this were so.

To see that this is the case, we must inspect the notion of Political Correctness. Although the term has become a staple of contemporary political discourse, the thing itself is no easy thing to define; but while we have difficulty defining this phenomenon, we have no such difficulty discerning it.

What we call Political Correctness is distinguished, not by the fact that it renders some ideas and words taboo, but by those ideas and words that it forbids.

First and foremost, racially-oriented talk that is critical of non-white minorities, or which can all too easily be interpreted as such, is “Racist” and, thus, deserving of unequivocal condemnation – unless, of course, the less-than-flattering conduct of these minorities is accounted for in terms of White Racism. To bemoan this greatest of all Politically Correct sins – White Racism – is not only permissible, but laudable.

When those within the RCM, say, reject race-based preferential treatment policies on the grounds that it either harms blacks, undermines “the color-blind” vision of Martin Luther King, Jr., or simply doesn’t produce the results at which it aims, they provide all of the proof we need that they have imbibed hook, line, and sinker the zeitgeist of the Politically Correct. But there is much more evidence to substantiate the obvious.

The racial component is as conspicuously neglected in “the respectable conservative’s” analyzes of the problems of the inner city, the Welfare State, and education as it is in his analysis of so-called “affirmative action.” When he does mention race while speaking to these issues, all of his talk concerning “personal responsibility” seems to be forgotten, for all of a sudden the minorities overwhelmingly at the focus of such problems are portrayed as the victims of – you guessed it – the Racism of Democrats.

It is my suspicion that it is just his endorsement of the racial dogma of Political Correctness that makes sense of the chilly reception with which “the respectable conservative” greeted Cashill’s scathing critique of Obama. Had Obama – the first truly electable black presidential candidate – been white, it is not unreasonable to suppose that Cashill’s plight could very well have been otherwise. This isn’t to say that the folks in the Republican-friendly media would have necessarily bought his argument (though I don’t see how they couldn’t); but they also are less likely to have distanced themselves from it like they did.

Second, “Sexism” is another mortal sin for the Politically Correct. More specifically, it is the Sexism of men vis-à-vis women that is staunchly denounced. When those in the RCM defend female Republican figures like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman against the charges of their leftist detractors by denouncing the latter for their alleged Sexism, they prove themselves enthralled to the very same Political Correctness that they claim to oppose. The same goes when he rails against “Islamists” for their Sexism.

Finally, the “respectable conservative” has as little use for “Homophobia” as the self-sworn guardians of the orthodoxy that he pretends to despise. What this means is that while he affirms that marriage should remain monogamous and heterosexual, he just as eagerly affirms his commitment to “civil unions” – everything that marriage offers without the name – for homosexuals. That he doesn’t proclaim his support for civil unions for siblings, friends, or those whose preferences are for polygamous marital arrangements suggests that it is from his ingestion of the moral vision of Political Correctness that his position on this issue springs.

There is much more that could be said on this subject. But all that needs to be said at the present has been said and Cashill’s mystery over the reaction of the RCM to his argument is solved: It isn’t just the Mainstream Media that labors under the constraints of the weltanschauung embodied by Political Correctness.

Jack Kerwick, Ph.D., blogs at You can contact him at [email protected]

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