Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Let It Go

What on earth could have possessed Fareed Zakaria, leading to him to plagiarize? wonders Megan McArdle.
Journalism has only a few “capital crimes” -- offenses where a single instance can kill your career. In fact, plagiarizing and making up quotes or facts are the only two I can think of. They often get lumped in together, but as I’ve been reading and thinking about the accusations of plagiarism against Fareed Zakaria, the differences between them have loomed large.  
Making up facts or quotes is pretty clearly a crime against the reader, and possibly against the subject, depending on whether the quotes make them sound bad. The journalist is using the credibility of his or her position to get people to believe something that isn’t true. That untrue thing may be trivial -- what’s possibly most remarkable about Jonah Lehrer’s fabrications is how minor and unnecessary they often were -- but that doesn’t alter the fact that you have deliberately gotten someone to believe a lie.
Let's break this down.

1. Journalists' actions can kill their careers.

2. Such actions mostly include (a)plagiarism (b)making up quotes or facts

3. Such actions are journalism crimes.

4. Journalists who lie will lose their credibility.

However, we know:

1. Megan McArdle lied about health care statistics.

2. Megan McArdle admitted she made up facts.

3. Megan McArdle committed professional crimes.

4. Megan McArdle did not lose her credibility with the only people who matter, the ones with money.

Therefore, Megan McArdle is not a journalist. She is a propagandist.


Not that there's anything wrong with that. There is no reason to pretend otherwise. It's perfectly obvious that someone who tries to yank your health care subsidy while pressing her taxpayer-and-employer subsidy to her bosom is not a libertarian, journalist or intellectual. She's a shill and she should let her shill flag fly proud. It's made her rich and will make her much richer still.

The Citizens United decision left little room for the pretense that opinion is not bought and sold. Megan McArdle was bought and for a pretty penny too. She should be as proud of her courtier status as she is of her kitchen appliances. She hangs out with the rich, buys the same toys as the rich, is forwarded to the rich when she calls the riches' secretaries. She is the American Success Story.

Megan McArdle's little lie about the very foundation of her argument about health care reform is not the real lie. Her real lie is one that is seldom spoken of. From her comments:
"But someone who is willing to tell little lies in his writing is demonstrating that he doesn’t care about the journalist’s fundamental duty to be as accurate as possible, which means you can’t trust them not to make up bigger lies as it suits them."  
Ah, Mcmegan, how inadvertently descriptive of your entire journalistic opus.  
You are, I assume, conflating "lies" with "positions you disagree with". Or, even worse, "being wrong" with "lying". I've never even suspected our hostess of lying to me*, and I've been reading her since her original blog in 2001. (* Being wrong? Of course; it's impossible to avoid. Holding opinions I thought were foolish? Occasionally. But people can trivially do both of those in complete good faith, and I've seen no reason to doubt Mrs. McArdle's good faith, and fair reason to affirm it.)  
This seems like a paraphrase of all the other troll attacks that basically use the subject of Megan's piece as an attack on her. The supposed cleverness of saying "you are guilty of the very thing you are decrying!" But as this is such a banal bit of rhetorical sputum it seems like it doesn't need to be sourced as it is now just boringly common. It would he like asking this troll to footnote "glibertarian" or "move to Somalia"
Her commenters won't care if she admits that she is merely pretending to be a journalist while peddling her ideology, which just happens to nearly perfectly match the desires of her billionaire employers. Let go of the shackles of journalism integrity, Megan McArdle! Let go of the pretense to care about others! Let go of the need to downplay your dependence on and affinity with the elite!

Let it go!

The blog glows bright on Bloomberg tonight,
Not a Koch post to be seen.
A kingdom of Both Sides Do It
And it looks like I'm the queen.
My sycophant views just cannot be denied,
Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows I tried.

Let it go, let it go.
Can't hold it back anymore.
Let it go, let it go,
Take the cash and slam the door.
I don't care what they're going to say,
Let the blogs mock on!
The shame never bothered me anyway.

It's funny how some money makes critics all seem small,
And the fears that once controlled me
Can't get past the paywall.

It's time to see what I can grift
To test the limits of my gift.
No right, no wrong, no rules for me---
I'm free!

Let it go, let it go.
I am one with the billionaires.
Let it go, let it go,
You'll never see me care.
Here I'm rich and here I'll stay,
Let the blogs mock on----

My praises travel through the airways to their ears.
My soul rejoices as I tell them what they want to hear.
And one thought compounds interest like a bank account,
I'm never going back,
My ethics line is passed!

Let it go, let it go,
And I'll join in the latest con.
Let it go, let it go,
That "impartial" girl is gone.
Here I stand in a spot that pays,
Let the scum mock on---
The shame never bothered me anyway.

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