Monday, 2 June 2008

Michael White and 'people like us'

It's often instructive to see leading liberal journalists use crude simplifications to disguise their establishment leanings and analytical deficiencies.

Thus, from on high, comes this all-knowing proclamation from the Guardian's chief political editor Michael White:
"It's always simple to MediaLens and Noam Chomsky, that's fine if it makes them happy - or is the goal unhappy? - but the world is usually more complex..."
White was posting his closing response over George Monbiot's attempted citizen's arrest of John Bolton at last week's Hay Book Festival. His rationalisations of Bolton's presence and warmongering arguments served a useful purpose in revealing to many, including erstwhile Guardian readers, White's, and the Guardian's own, true colours over the war and slaughter in Iraq. It's another timely reminder of how war criminals like Bolton and Blair have been sheltered by moral contortions and in-house platitudes at Farringdon Road.

But the exchanges also helped expose White's own delusions of grandeur in dismissing those supposedly unfit to challenge his kind of 'professional journalism'.

Thus, Noam Chomsky, a man widely credited as probably the finest intellectual of his age, has his millions of studious words on the subject of Iraq and such issues casually dismissed as "simple". Likewise, with the many forensically-documented articles and comments from Media Lens. One can only presume White's similar contempt for other learned anti-war writers like Pilger and Dahr Jamail.

Yet, for White, Bolton is also afflicted by a similar inability to see this "complex" world picture. Thus, White deploys another variation of the 'simpleton' line to address and excuse Bolton's criminal intent:
"For Bolton to say he has no opinion points to a wider myopia. Bolton - whom I have heard before - strikes me as the kind of American who does not know much about the big world outside nor its long and diverse history. He seemed to lack sympathetic imagination to consider the other point of view."
So, Bolton is also deemed ignorant of the 'big picture', the only difference being, for White, Bolton's neo-con 'simplification' as opposed to Chomsky's/ML's leftist "simple" worldview.

White's claim that Bolton "does not know much about the big world outside" shows, in itself, a shocking poverty of analysis. But it also indicates the kind of self-assured and self-delusional world many senior journalists inhabit.

In truth, Bolton knows precisely what's going on in the "big world outside". To think, or argue, otherwise is to reduce his co-planning and co-execution of a wilful war of aggression to that of 'ignorant bystander'.

Indeed, Bolton's long-standing calls for pre-emptive attacks on North Korea and other Axis of Evildom tells us all we need to know about the workings of this calculating, mercenary mind.

White also takes issue with those comparing Bolton and his warmongering associates to the Nazis. Yet, White's 'the Nazi comparison is too simple' rebuke is another grandstanding device, allowing him to dismiss the central issue of Bolton's actual criminality, prosecutable under the same Nuremberg laws designed to address Nazi war crimes. As I noted at the ML board, White's 'objections' to Bolton are, thus, diluted to a set of minor political differentials, never the possibility that he could be a war criminal.

White's defence of Bolton's invite and statements at Hay demonstrates the central function of the liberal media in whitewashing illegal wars and occupations like Iraq and Palestine. Indeed, devious politicos like Bolton and Blair depend critically on the liberal circuit for their respectable standing - the quid pro quo being the type of favoured access White enjoys to Downing Street and the New Labour loop.

And with that privileged door to power comes a kind of incredulity that such 'all-knowing' journalists could be questioned by 'novice' activists on their reporting of political life. Thus, White dismisses one excellent activist/correspondent present at the Hay 'arrest' with the term "people like you".

Oliver Kamm recently handed-down another such grand dismissal in claiming that:
"ML operates in effect as a "care in the community" scheme for numerous species of malcontent..."
White, Kamm and 'people like them' might not like this uncomfortable reminder about 'people like us', but it was millions of the latter who, at the outset, saw the blatant lies people like Blair and Bolton were peddling, a set of warmongering fictions which people like White, for all their professional status and journalistic kudos failed, or affected not to, see.

Michael White would have us believe that his worldview eschews the "simple" in favour of the "complex". The more useful possibility is that people like White are unable or unwilling to see their own self-regarding place in the elite firmament and how their privileged words serve to mystify and excuse the simple truth that people like Bolton are scheming criminals. Reassuringly, there's always people like us to remind people like White of their elitist myopia.


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