Comment 122104

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 03, 2017 at 07:58:42

Fantastic new essay in Vox by David Roberts:

The pretense for the conservative revolution was that mainstream institutions had failed in their role as neutral arbiters — that they had been taken over by the left, become agents of the left in referee’s clothing, as it were.

But the right did not want better neutral arbiters. The institutions it built scarcely made any pretense of transcending faction; they are of and for the right. There is nominal separation of conservative media from conservative politicians, think tanks, and lobbyists, but in practice, they are all part of the conservative movement. They are prosecuting its interests; that is the ur-goal.

Indeed, the far right rejects the very idea of neutral, binding arbiters; there is only Us and Them, only a zero-sum contest for resources. That mindset leads to what I call “tribal epistemology” — the systematic conflation of what is true with what is good for the tribe.

There’s always been a conspiratorial and xenophobic fringe on the right, but it was (fitfully) held in place by gatekeepers through the early decades of America’s post-war prosperity. The explosion of right-wing media in the 1990s and 2000s swept those gatekeepers away, giving the loudest voice, the most exposure, and the most power to the most extreme elements on the right. The right-wing media ecosystem became a bubble from which fewer and fewer inhabitants ever ventured.

He worries that the extremism and insularity of the right-wing bubble means there is a serious danger that even if Robert Mueller proves his case against Trump, Trump's base might simply reject the indisputable facts and go on supporting him anyway.

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