FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Murdoch’s Cuckoo’s Nest

by MIKE WHITNEY

 

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page is the ideological headwaters for far-right fanaticism in the US. It is less of a forum for open debate than it is a breeding ground for noxious ideas that undermine democratic institutions. Every day, there’s a whole new slate of extremist opinion pieces defending one absurdity or another. Typically, the articles focus on the two issues of primary importance to all conservatives; war and taxes. It’s astonishing how many variations there are on the same hackneyed theme.

Conservatives are naturally distrustful of ideas, so they’ve created a platform where they can couch their reactionary views in academic-sounding jargon without any real attempt at upgrading social policy. There appears to be an endless reservoir of Reagan-era “supply side” zealots and think-tank windbags who are more than eager to promote the topic-du jour, whatever that may be. By using right wing celebrities as their standard-bearers, the WSJ is able to elevate the most mundane, nonsensical arguments to a level of respectability. And that’s the objective—to make hard-nosed, narrow-minded chauvinism look like enlightened policy.

Typically, the editorials take aim at any regulation which restricts industry or any law which protects the citizen. Articles are chosen on the basis of how they appeal to a small group of corporate mandarins whose views about “how the world should be organized” are nearly identical. In other words, it is an “echo chamber” for the investor class. That’s why liberals should pay attention. The men who currently run the world are not shy about revealing what they have in mind for the rest of us. Isn’t it worth the price of a subscription to find out what that is?

In the last few days the WSJ has run articles defending Exxon against the $2.5 billion punitive damages that were ordered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for its massive oil spill in Alaska nearly 2 decades ago. They’ve run another tiresome apology for Judge Robert Bork, the alleged victim of a left-wing witch hunt. They’ve provided a lawyerly defense of the Marines who went on the “killing spree” in Haditha; another promotion for the extortionist World Bank, an emotional plea to “Save the Bush Tax Cuts”, and, of course, an over-the-top 1500 word thesis on why “Victory Is Within Reach In Iraq” by neocon nutcase Michael Ledeen.

On Monday, October 22, the WSJ ran an article by David Rivkin, “Getting Serious about Torture”, which essentially defends the “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment of terror suspects by pointing out the relative nature of these terms. (Isn’t it odd that questions related to torture never came up before Bush took office?)

As Rivkin says, “The words cruel, inhuman and degrading, whether or nor a particular interrogation method shocks the conscience depends very much on the circumstances.”

Sure, David, it’s all relative, isn’t it? How about “eye gouging”; is that okay, too?

Remember when conservatives used to rail against “moral relativism”? At the time, it seemed like a matter of principle. Now we can see that it was just empty posturing.

At the end of his article Rivkin reminds us that, “There is no free lunch. Coercive interrogations have been key in preventing post 9-11 attacks on American soil.”

Indeed. Sounds like a pretty spirited defense of torture to me. Am I missing something?

No theory is too whacky or obscene for the WSJ’s editorial page as long as it conforms to the far right mind-set of its readership. For just one dollar, anyone can take a seat in the enemy’s camp and listen in. Sounds like a bargain to me.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

 

 

More articles by:

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

Weekend Edition
January 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Dr. King’s Long Assassination
David Roediger
A House is Not a Hole: (Not) Caring about What Trump Says
George Burchett
How the CIA Tried to Bribe Wilfred Burchett
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation
Michael Hudson – Charles Goodhart
Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?
Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney
Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show
Andrew Levine
Remember, Democrats are Awful Too
James Bovard
Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters
Wilfred Burchett
The Bug Offensive
Brian Cloughley
Now Trump Menaces Pakistan
Ron Jacobs
Whiteness and Working Folks
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Keeper of Crazy Beats: Charlie Haden and Music as a Force of Liberation
Robert Fantina
Palestine and Israeli Recognition
Jan Oberg
The New US Syria “Strategy”, a Recipe For Continued Disaster
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Return of the Repressed
Mel Gurtov
Dubious Partnership: The US and Saudi Arabia
Robert Fisk
The Next Kurdish War Looms on the Horizon
Lawrence Davidson
Contextualizing Sexual Harassment
Jeff Berg
Approaching Day Zero
Karl Grossman
Disaster Island
Thomas S. Harrington
What Nerve! In Catalonia They are Once Again Trying to Swear in the Coalition that Won the Most Votes
Pepe Escobar
Rome: A Eulogy
Robert Hunziker
Will Aliens Save Humanity?
Jonah Raskin
“Can’t Put the Pot Genie Back in the Bottle”: An Interview with CAL NORML’s Dale Gieringer
Stepan Hobza
Beckett, Ionesco, and Trump
Joseph Natoli
The ‘Worlding’ of the Party-less
Julia Stein
The Myths of Housing Policy
George Ochenski
Zinke’s Purge at Interior
Christopher Brauchli
How Trump Killed the Asterisk
Rosemary Mason - Colin Todhunter
Corporate Monopolies Will Accelerate the Globalisation of Bad Food, Poor Health and Environmental Catastrophe
Michael J. Sainato
U.S Prisons Are Ending In-Person Visits, Cutting Down On Reading Books
Michael Barker
Blame Game: Carillion or Capitalism?
Binoy Kampmark
The War on Plastic
Cindy Sheehan – Rick Sterling
Peace Should Be Integral to the Women’s March
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
No Foreign Bases!
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: Across the Boer Heartland to Pretoria
Joe Emersberger
What’s Going On in Ecuador? An Interview With Wladimir Iza
Clark T. Scott
1918, 1968, 2018: From Debs to Trump
Cesar Chelala
Women Pay a Grievous Price in Congo’s Conflict
Michael Welton
Secondly
Robert Koehler
The Wisdom of Mass Salvation
Seth Sandronsky
Misreading Edu-Reform 
Ann Garrison
Full-Spectrum Arrogance: US Bases Span the Globe
Louis Proyect
Morality Tales on the American Malaise: the Films of Rick Alverson
David Yearsley
Winston and Paddington: Marianelli’s Musical Bears
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail