NR’s editorial on Covington, including an apology for our f*** up https://t.co/ajMDDwCjUf
— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) January 22, 2019
A couple of responses to this and similar pieces from conservative media today:
(1) At this point, there’s nobody on the Right who’s the slightest bit surprised a Leftist agitator would create a provocation that would be used to create a slanderously false story against their ideological enemies on purpose.
(2) They’re not surprised that the media ate it up, ran with it, and created a virtue signaling outrage mob—not like journalists but like press flaks and community organizers. Unsurprising, but we can’t hate them anymore than we already do.
(3) There’s been this social media phenomenon that’s bothered me for a long time: the weird compulsion to tweet your opinion on whatever is being talked about—even if it serves no rhetorical purpose—as if every news story *requires* your drive-by take.
(4) This compulsion is especially acute when it comes time for ritual denunciations. It feels like 80% of tweets are people who feel they need to put a marker down as denouncing this or that horrible person. (The apolitical form is “I hate [FOOD]” and then waiting for a debate.)
(5) Social media is inherently something of an affinity group echo-chamber, so there’s a good deal of pressure to have your take marked down to reinforce your place among your peers, colleagues or in-group. Few people want to be ratio’d by their own followers if they dissent.
(6) Put another way, this phenomenon can be called Virtue Signaling. The VS doesn’t always have to be a bad take, or an incorrect opinion. Based on the folks I follow in my particular echo chamber, a certain type of moderate conservative seem to be prone to engaging in it.
(7) IT COSTS YOU NOTHING TO NOT HAVE A QUICK, KNEE-JERK CONDEMNATION OF EVERYTHING ALLEGED ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
Well, some of us know you guys understand that; after all, there’s *plenty* of skepticism to go around when it’s a story emerging from the Right.
(8) For 3 years, many have used the excuse of Trump to want to believe anything the media alleges about him or people in his orbit. Suddenly, the media had become trustworthy, at least as it relates to Trumpworld—and everything from BuzzFeed or NYT was treated as on the level.
(9) Many of us grew to resent this, not because we were such fans of Trump—what you allege—but because our view of the media and the Left didn’t soften.
(10) People are furious that those of you who bought into it and couldn’t resist making knee-jerk Virtue Signaling condemnations have not yet learned about the nature of the enemy we’re fighting:
(11) Activists are trained to set up these scenarios, the media runs with stories that are too good to check because they reinforce their biases. They do this on purpose. You just have to read Lefty activist literature. It’s all there, for decades. *Not knowing is your failure.*
(12) Considering that it costs nothing to wait for more facts, many of us have noticed that your biases against a large chunk of the Right are pretty similar to the Left’s. You seem to agree with the Left that the conservative base is a bunch of racists.
(13) Rather than thinking the totally reasonable thing–“hey, that looks bad, but this is my tribe, so at least they get the benefit of a few hours where the full story will emerge”–there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation about thinking the worst of these conservative kids.
(14) So there’s a choice: either (a) you acted foolishly in believing the media and the activist Left, AGAIN; or (b) the Right is really not your tribe after all. There may be more options, but for the people who are raking NRO over the coals today, that’s what they see.
(16) One more thing: The moment I saw an old Native American man show up at a Pro-Life protest beating a native drum, it was reasonably clear that the guy was, at the very least, an experienced political actor. That alone should’ve given pause to the narrative!