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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Thu. 05/26/05 07:09:32 AM

South Park Conservatives

A look at the book.

South Park Conservatives, by Brian C. Anderson, is a great read! It's a book that reads like a book. I mean, the author knows how to write a book. He is to be contrasted with, say, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, whose books read like a radio show between covers. And with Ann Coulter, whose bomb-throwing habits and intense focus work much better in the short than in the long. (I assume their books were not ghost-written. But I do not know that.) Anderson has written a real book. He surveys the evidence — the book's subtitle is "The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias" — comprehensively and thoroughly; he leads up to a point and then follows it; he connects various strands of thought from chapter to chapter; and he does it all with a smooth and pleasant style.

If you've been reading The Blog from the Core from the beginning, or following other weblogs for a few years, much of what Anderson covers will be quite familiar to you: the manifestation of mainstream media as a bastion of liberalism, with the rise of alternative media (including books) as competition in the dissemination of news and opinion. But Anderson brings it all together in one place apart from the computer screen.

Above and beyond my wholesale recommendation of this book, I'll take a look at some of the things that caught my eye.

On p. 4, discussing surveys of journalists, Anderson notes the following: "You'd have a hard time finding a more liberal group of Americans outside university faculty lounges". That sums up a lot, no?

On p. 17: "'Racist,' 'homophobe,' 'sexist,' 'mean-spirited,' 'insensitive' — it has become an ugly habit of left-liberal political argument to dismiss conservative ideas as if they don't deserve a hearing, and to redefine mainstream conservative views as extremism and bigotry. A sympathetic old-media regime has allowed liberals to get away with this tendency to argue by invective, rather than to debate ideas seriously, and it has sheltered them from recognizing just how shopworn their ideas have become." A superb insight.

On p. 30: "After my wife placed a 'W' sticker on our car (in a liberal suburban New York neighborhood), we had a door keyed and a window spat on. On one occasion, as she drove our two young children to school, a car full of Bush-haters cut her off violently, screaming obscenities. We removed the sticker. These are the illiberal methods of something other than democrats."

On p. 35, discussing radio under the so-called Fairness Doctrine: "'There was a perverse incentive to only broadcast blandness,' observed Bruce Fein, general counsel at the FCC from 1983 to 1984."

On pp. 44-48, an excellent analysis of the reasons for the success of conservative talk radio.

On p. 56, from an interview with Brit Hume, about the 1992 presidential campaign: "'You had these fresh-faced kids whose politics probably weren't extremely well formed,' Hume recounted. 'And the president doesn't visit a Bible college every day. So he comes out onto the platform and they break into extraordinary cheers. And one of my colleagues leans over to me and says, 'Sieg Heil.'"

On pp. 112f, concerning the Jayson Blair fiasco at the New York Times: "The Times insisted that is quest for 'diversity' had nothing to do with the fiasco, perfectly encapsulating the wishful-thinkg-as-reality mindset of the press when it comes to affirmative action. For the Times, to hire someone based on his race (as opposed to his qualifications) couldn't mean that he might not have the talent or temperaament to do high-quality work, since that would mean that conservatives might have a point when it comes to the effets of affirmative action. Such a heretical thought has a hard time entering the liberal mind." Another superb insight.

On p. 123: "At City Journal, the Internet has brought us numerous new readers who don't share our politics. Before we started posting our articles on the web, we'd get the occasional letter from an angry liberal who'd come across us in a library or from a newspaper mention or excerpt. Now that we've entered the blogosphere era, we get bombarded with e-letters from the Left, especially when an ecumenical site like Arts & Letters Daily or RealClearPolitics links to us. Most of the left-wing letter writers curse us out. Others make thoughtful criticisms. And a few say, 'Wow, you've changed my mind.'"

On p. 125, "'There is nothing like a book,' social thinker Michael Novak rightly notes. 'Held in hand. Underlined. Kept on shelf nearby. Remembered for years. People expect to be moved by books, to learn, to be changed.'"

On p. 164, concerning the influence of blogs: "The free market in information is here."

My only complaint is that a couple of the later chapters present more information than I cared to have. Chapter Seven surveys "The Conservative Book Publishing Revolution" and presents a slew of authors and books. A slew too many to suit me. Similarly with Chapter Eight, "Campus Conservatives Rising", wherein a very large number of names and groups and programs are presented — a larger number than I wanted to have thrown at me. On the other hand, some readers might appreciate the profusion.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Thu. 05/26/05 07:09:32 AM
Categorized as Literary.


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