July 11, 2008

Michael Lind attempts a neolib rehabilitation of Jesse Helms

And fails, even with shoddy straw men. Here’s the biggest one of those:
So much for media. Money? Progressives denounced big money in politics as plutocracy, until they discovered they could raise more than conservatives. All the talk of "small donors" aside, most liberal money comes from affluent people. MoveOn.org and other soft-money organizations, whether they like it or not, are the children of Jesse Helms' Congressional Club.

Uhh, Michael, to the best of my memory, Helms never was a “player” on the issue of government regulation of campaign finance, either for it or against it.

Lind then blames Helms, via Limbaugh, for the coarsening of liberal talking heads media:
A case can be made that Helms the radio showman and other conservative media demagogues pioneered the ascendant style of liberal discourse. In the last decade, Democratic donors and activists, pondering the success of the Southernized right, decided that what the liberal left needs is not a new message but better messengers — which meant an often conscious attempt to replicate the successful institutions of the right. And so we get someone like Keith Olbermann, who may admire Edward R. Murrow but whose hectoring owes more than we’d like to admit to Limbaugh, and therefore Helms.

Obstructionist? Indeed, Helms was. Hectoring? I wouldn’t use that word of him.

Influencing anybody’s media style, let alone Limbaugh’s? Not at all.

Did Helms influence, along with others, Limbaugh’s content? Hell, yes. But that’s entirely different than style.

I have no idea what corner of his brain Lind used to bake up these ideas.

That’s Salon, though. Some great stuff, a lot of good stuff, and some WTF? stuff.

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