Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oedipus, Oh Oedipus

There is a reason why it is wrong to have a nest of pundits that are too intertwined: We can't trust them to do anything but help each other hold on to their jobs. Andrew Sullivan links to Megan McArdle because they are employed by the same person, and because both are elitists. Sullivan gives very valuable exposure to underemployed Peter Suderman, McArdle's fiance, by letting him post on his, Sullivan's, blog. Suderman is a nearly-thirty-year-old intern at Reason, which is funded by the Koch family. Suderman formerly worked for another Koch interprise, the astro-turfing and tea-bagging organization FreedomWorks. Reason formerly employed McArdle. McArdle formerly backed FreedomWorks when it was exposed as a tea-bagger and now Suderman posts in support of tea-baggers as well. Another Sullivan guest is Patrick Appel. He links to Conor Friedersdorf, whom McArdle has had on her blog as a guest poster, and who criticizes cultural critic Andrew Breitbart. Suderman and Friedersdorf both wrote for Culture11, which competed with Breitbart's Big Hollywood to corner the market on moral scolding.

This modern day Algonquin Round Table Of Fail is so busy linking to each other, praising each other and propping each other up that they forget to actually say anything worth listening to. They present ideological talking points as facts and cannot make a coherent argument, and depend on mutual praise to give them an air of authority that the quality of their work does not merit.

ADDED: Glen Greenwald:
The overlap between -- and deliberate blurring of -- political power, media opinion-making, and large corporate largesse is unlimited now. The aforementioned Tom Daschle just spent an hour this past Sunday on Meet the Press ostensibly to analyze the health care reform debate despite the fact that, as Time's Michael Scherer documented, Daschle currently works for numerous health insurance industry interests, relationships completely undisclosed during the entire one-hour health care program. Between Richard Wolffe, the Pentagon's military analysts, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, Daschle, and Davis, one wonders if NBC News ever presents any "political analysts" who are free of undisclosed conflicts of interest.


clever pseudonym said...

Pardon my ignorance, but what is "astro-turfing"? I keep seeing it everywhere.

Suderman offering to let everyone know what Megan is really like was hilarious. Yes, we are all dying to know if she's the same insufferable, arrogant, self-absorbed jerk in real life.

Susan of Texas said...

It starts with grass-root activism, which is activism from the bottom up--ordinary citizens doing political activism on their own or with other people like them. But corporations set up or hired businesses to send fake grass-roots letter to the editor, or op-eds, or appearances at town halls and forums and so on. The fake grass-roots firms are named Astro-turf firms, after the fake grass used in indoor football fields.

FreedomWorks has been thoroughly exposed as a fake grass-roots firm, supported by corporate money under the leadership of flat-taxers Dick Armey and Steve Forbes. The Koch family (oil and gas fortune) support it and and many other firms like it.

Anonymous said...


You know the strange thing is, the guys at firemeganmcardle claim that at one point the Atlantic was a progressive magazine with acclaimed authors writing in it. That's really hard to believe. I thought that the premiere magazine of the US was Harpers. Am I mistaken?

Still I am surprised to see how all these people are interrelated like this. I could understand why there is so little criticism of each others work.


clever pseudonym said...

The Atlantic was founded in 1857 by writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Harriet Beacher Stowe. Pieces by Emily Dickinson and Mark Twain have graced its pages. Over the years, it was the first to publish some of the best and most famous pieces of writing, such as "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and Martin Luther King Jr's "Letter From A Birmingham Jail." It was, for years, a very fine, largely progressive publication until David Bradley took over, moved the offices from Boston to DC, and apparently decided to make it over into the National Review Lite. The fact that "writers" as utterly dreadful and ill-informed as McArdle now appear in its pages is completely depressing, given its history.

Anonymous said...

Susan - I love your snark and your takedowns of our Megan, especially now that I can barely bring myself to read her stuff. However, your explanation of astroturf may mean that your moniker will be revoked. Not the political part of the explanation, but the fact that Astroturf's name comes from the indoor turf that was laid at the Astrodome. In Houston. Texas !

Shame, shame, shame. You had a watermelon to hit out of the park. :-)

Susan of Texas said...

Heh! I have no excuse.

Poor Astrodome, replaced by a newer model. And Astroworld was closed down as well.

Downpuppy said...

The Atlantic still has Fallows, but the rest of the online crew are doing to it what Peretz did to the New Republic.

The hard part is figuring out what Bradley is trying to do. Make money as a magazine? Run a stealth PR/lobbying firm? Advance his own agenda? Hit on interns?

Susan has covered his history. Bradley published a useless "disclosure" after the salons became public, (which Megan promoted cluelessly, (as if that need be said)), but there is still no real way of knowing what the plan is.