Crap Cluster

July 19th, 2011 at 4:12 pm David Frum | 24 Comments |

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While News Corp’s public stance is: “We’re sorry,” the strong message from News Corp’s American employees and supporters is: “No we’re not.”

I listened to the opening half hour of Mark Steyn substituting for Rush Limbaugh today. I normally very much enjoy Steyn’s radio presence: funny, warm, not bombastic, and endearingly Canadian. Today however was not a good day. Steyn devoted his opening monologue to a defense of News Corporation’s phone-hacking and police-bribing.

Steyn adopted the WSJ editorial line that freedom of the press is put into peril if media organizations are called to account for legal violations like bribing cops. And he argued that the attention to the Murdoch case represents an attempted “misdirection” from the much greater and more immediate threat of abuse of power by government.

To paraphrase: Yes, regrettable things were done by a few stray employees at News Corp. But the company has been shuttered, people have been held to account. Meanwhile in the public sector, civil servants are seldom if ever fired. Where’s the accountability in government? Why don’t politicians hold themselves to account rather than harassing Rupert Murdoch?

As I listened to this, I wondered: Is it possible that anybody could find this line of defense credible? And then: is this about to become the effective conservative position on the hacking story? I mean the WSJ editorial page & now the Rush Limbaugh show: doctrine does not become much more ex cathedra than that.

I remember when we were supposed to worry about Obama’s “gangster government,” with massive invasions of privacy and breaches of legality. Now we have actual invasions of privacy and outright police corruption. And yet that’s to be dismissed as no big deal? For sure, there remain a lot of unknowns in this case. Nobody should be leaping to conclusions or hastening to blame individuals who may well be personally innocent. But if the bribing of policemen does not scandalize you … you need to reset your scandal-o-meter.

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24 Comments so far ↓

  • TerryF98

    It’s Ok If You Are A Republican.

    Repeat after me.

  • Houndentenor

    If someone doesn’t already feel ashamed to work for something as loathsome as News of the World, expecting them to feel guilty for violating simple human decency really is too much to ask.

  • medinnus

    Its not a creditable defense – unless you already drink the Faux News koolaid, in which case you believe a dozen idiotic things a day in any case; what’s one more?

  • Watusie

    Kudos to DF for finally having the courage to finally express some criticism!

  • Rewena

    And what EXACTLY does hacking into a murdered/missing girls phone records have to do with big government.

  • rbottoms

    Is Frum showing actual signs of being embarrassed to be a Republican?

    Of course when it comes time to pull the lever next November what or the odds it’s straight ticket city?

    None of the conservatives wailing and gnashing teeth have taken the next logical step of abandoning the Clown Car Party of homophobes and religious wack jobs.

    Because The Democrats Would Be Worse ™.

  • Bebe99

    The WSJ opinion states “Do our media brethren really want to invite Congress and prosecutors to regulate how journalists gather the news?”

    How dare the government try to regulate crime. ;-)

  • Watusie

    What “freedom of the press” means to the right: if you work for the man who owns Fox News, you can hack phones and bribe police in pursuit of any story. If you work for another media outlet and you attempt to ask a question of Michele Bachmann about her suitability for office, you can expect to be beat up. If you think there is something wrong with this scenario, then you are a brain-washed librul.

    • anniemargret

      Spot on, Watusie. If Obama had goons almost beating up people for asking legitimate questions, right wing radio would be doing the Dance of Joy.

      Bachmann has some answering to do. If her ‘migraines’ impair her ability to work in any way, then the public has a right to know. The questions was posed to her by the roughed-up reporter: did her migraines ever induce her to miss Congressional meetings or other important functions as a public servant?

      Inquiring minds want to know.

      • LFC

        If her ‘migraines’ impair her ability to work in any way, then the public has a right to know.

        They don’t. She’s too stupid to handle the job, so a migraine wouldn’t make any difference in her job performance. Well, by forcing her to do nothing it might actually be an improvement.

        • LauraNo

          Did I hear something once about migraines sometimes accompanying hallucinations? Could explain some things…

      • Primrose

        I think it is a legitimate question (the migraines). I know people with severe migraines and they (the migraines) can lay you out flat for days. I certainly know I don’t think my best in pain. Yes, some people, Oliver Sacks to name a famous one, have migraines and obviously do good work. And missing a meeting or two when you are in the house, or even the Senate is a reasonable accommodation, but the Presidency is another matter, and thus her condition bears a bit more scrutiny.

        I am more concerned though that she will do anything her husband tells her to do, as a religious duty no less. I really don’t want a President taking orders from someone else.

        As for Mr. Frum’s actual point, Bravo Mr. Frum for standing up to the party line. I don’t understand why Republicans would try to defend such corruption. We already know it’s taken a truly macabre turn. It seems foolish, dishonorable and well, corrupt.

  • Grace

    “Do our media brethren really want to invite Congress and prosecutors to regulate how journalists gather the news?”

    This is ludicrous. What if they decided to gather the news at a murder scene by hauling off evidence or even the body? Arguably they’re just ‘gathering the news’ in that hypothetical.

    But of course none of our worthless media will ever ask if there should be any limits on media lawbreaking and this craven line of reasoning will be given full blossom as a defense by our ‘serious’ media.

  • satrap

    Steyn seems confwused watewy. Vewy confwused.

    He spent a show a few weeks ago inveighing mightily against the “banning of the EDISON lightbulb! THOMAS EDISON’S LIGHTBULB!” It was if the world was going to be thrown into some dark gulag.

    And, by the way Mark, government is held accountable every couple/4 years. Just because you don’t like the fact that the citizens don’t want to shut down the EPA or eliminate the Consumer Protection Leviathan doesn’t mean they’re not accountable. You just don’t like the accounting….

  • PaulJacobelli

    David,

    It’s a bit like the rest of us here in Canada felt when you were still so gung-ho about the war in Iraq and the whole WMD thing.

  • hisgirlfriday

    If Republican commentators didn’t bat an eye at GOP gonzo journalist hero James O’Keeffe trying to tap Mary Landrieu’s Senate office phones and lure an unsuspecting reporter into a sex toy party, why would they care about old Rupert’s employees bribing the police?

  • Nanotek

    “Steyn adopted the WSJ editorial line that freedom of the press is put into peril if media organizations are called to account for legal violations like bribing cops. And he argued that the attention to the Murdoch case represents an attempted ‘misdirection’ from the much greater and more immediate threat of abuse of power by government.”

    conservative correctness and group-think has become so lock-step and unthinking that they are now defending the theft of private property (personal phone records)

    pathetic

  • Danny_K

    They’re not stupid; clearly, this is a time when everybody must gather around and comment on how nice the Emperor’s clothes look today.

  • Balsack

    What everyone has probably missed about the headline, “Clap Cluster”, is what the word Clap truly means to me, and has always meant to me. These days, when Clap is just a word, no one thinks about getting the Clap. But when I was very young, getting the Clap was something of distinction.

    Unfortunately, these days, there is such a thing as antibiotic resistant Clap. This is a very serious thing. And I do not wish it on anyone, over here.

    In order to protect yourselves, my best advice to you, is just to NOT use your 10 foot pole. Pls just have a nice tea with your lady. No kidding.

    In the past, one could screw almost anyone in sight, which I did not do, and expect to get fixed up in a Jiffy. But these days of abandon are now long gone.

    If anyone is reading my words, pls take them to heart. The worst thing one can do for oneself is to get a drippy dick that can not be cured. Even I shudder to think of it.

    And, pls also forget about those good old days of 2 dollah blow jobs. For one, you will not find a two dollah blow job. For two, even a blow job can risk your health for the rest of you life.

    It is, plain, just not worth the 2 minutes of satisfaction.

    One of my favorites is Danny Kaye. And even he would not risking the rest of his life for a blow job, even though he died far too young, anyway.

    If anyone wishes to know more about drug resistant Clap, then I suggest you check out what are the true facts stated on the NIH website.

    Probably, they are not overstated.

    But I do know some very old virgins who can give you a good time. They have no teeth. But this is for the better. The only hitch might be, that you will need to marry them before you can date them.

    It is still my opinion, that we should all hold out for Alyona Minkovski. Sure, she is a loud mouth. But she never shows too much of her thighs. Loud and shy, truly, anyone who finally bags her has a huge handful on their hands.

    I would give you two Alyona Minkovski for just one Jiang Qing. Because then I would know who was willing to stab me in the back. Alyona, we all love you. But you are far too high powered for anyone on this poor blog.

    Or, does Alyona like David Frum?
    Sure she would!
    But would she stab him in the back?

  • PART II: News Corp or News Corpse? | The Pink Flamingo

    [...] with Jim DeMint, though.  Don’t waste money on a Congressional investigation. “….I listened to the opening half hour of Mark Steyn substituting for Rush Limbaugh today. I normally very much enjoy Steyn’s radio [...]

  • sparse

    i think the real problem is that newscorp does not seem to know if it is a business or a news organization. they strive for every possible competitive advantage, like any business, but when caught they want to hide behind their status as members of the press to avoid the consequences.

    if you act dishonorably, you lose credibility. if you are the press, you should strive to not lose credibility as it directly undermines your business. if, on the other hand, you are a business, you may act any way you wish, and if caught, pay the fine. newscorp wants to be both walter cronkite and larry flynt.

  • medinnus

    I don’t want to see the government regulate how news agencies gather their information, but what I would like to see is:

    (A) Journalists and their organizations held to the same rule of law as everyone else.
    (B) Journalist organizations held accountable for not knowingly spreading lies, disinformation, and propaganda, with heavy civil and criminal penalties. The public relies on journalistic integrity for the accuracy of their news, and betraying the public’s trust should be a crime.

  • forkboy1965

    I love how Rupert & Co. shrug their shoulders and say “I didn’t know anything.”

    When it was all sunshine and bunnies he was ‘da man’ and had his finger on the pulse of his media empire. But when said empire gets caught with its hand in the cookie jar he’s suddenly “What? Who? When? Where?”

    He’s a shit just like the party for whom he works.