There’s a bit of a thread running through three articles I’ve read recently. These two articles from the NYRB on Gordon Brown and Paul Krugman respectively both paint emerging responses to the excesses of yet another low dishonest decade. Brown is studied in his apparent desire to move away from presidential politics and clearly less enthusiastic about the endless spin cycle than his predecessor (though from this distance I concede that that may be a naive observation).
The review of Krugman is well worth reading. And in another interview Krugman continues to anatomise the pathologies of the situation that the revolutionary partisanship of the Republicans and their fellow travellers such as Fox News have given rise to.
I sometimes talk about what I call “asymmetrical intimidation.” If you say a true but unflattering thing about Bush or in fact about any other prominent conservative, oh boy! People are going to go after you. I mean, I’ve got people working fulltime going after me, right? But if you say a false, unflattering thing about a Democrat or a progressive, no risk? And that shapes coverage, no question about it. It’s better now, but it’s still very asymmetric.
And here is George Soros pointing to similar phenomena and calling for a ‘naming and shaming’ of those who practice Orwellian Newspeak. No silver bullets I’m afraid, but perhaps a changing sensibility?