The Conservative Media Meltdown

David Cole, Takimag, April 21, 2016

However the Trump War resolves itself, we’ve already seen at least one casualty–conservative media cohesion. Sides are being drawn, and blood feuds have been declared. As The New York Times recently pointed out, Trump-inspired divisions and conflicts among normally allied conservative media personalities are growing at an alarming rate, and staying neutral is practically impossible. A recent Guardian piece (for which I was interviewed) about the Hollywood conservative “oasis” Friends of Abe paints a portrait of a “slow-motion civil war” in which members are at each other’s throats over Trump. Friends of Abe used to be a place where everyone could hang out and get along: the Breitbart people, the National Review people, the RedState folks, the Horowitz clan. {snip}

Such unity! What the hell went wrong? Is it just Trump? Well, yes, in that the Trump candidacy put the hot needle to the zit. But the puss had been building up for some time, and there are many reasons why.


Which brings us to the biggest reason for the conservative media meltdown–the rise of the alt-right. In the wake of an interesting game of “dueling blog posts” between the aforementioned Yiannopoulos and Cathy Young at The Federalist over the correct definition of “alt-right,” I was recently asked by a neocon journalist for my definition. I told him, “The alt-right is basically made up of people who are willing to say the kind of things about blacks and Hispanics that you’ll only allow said about Muslims.” See, when it comes to Muslims, the “respectable” neocon press has, since at least 9/11, allowed all manner of line crossing. The “Muzzies” are primitive, ignorant goat-buggerers worthy only of being on the other side of walls, the business end of guns, and the receiving end of bombs. You earn your neocon bones by being uncompromising in attitude and language regarding the “Muslim problem.”

Meanwhile, regarding blacks and Hispanics, on issues like immigration, crime, and educational performance, restraint is demanded. Nothing racial is permitted, and no broad, overarching generalizations are allowed. As I told The Guardian, establishment conservative media bigwigs demand that the official line on immigration must be “We oppose illegal immigration because we don’t support lawbreaking, but we love Hispanics and we want ’em to come here, just legally.” While meanwhile, with Muslims, it’s all “Let’s kill their leaders and convert their families! Let’s bomb ’em to dust and ban their mosques! They are all bad to the bone…innately bad.” There is something grotesquely ludicrous about the fact that people who venerate Pam Geller and Debbie Schlussel can turn around and call Jared Taylor a madman. That’s even more laughable than Michelle Fields’ claim that the arm touch was as traumatic as her father’s death.


Generally, the alt-right has been on the same page as the neocons regarding Muslims, if for different reasons (racial and cultural as opposed to national security and Israel!Israel! Israel!). Now the alt-rightists want to expand the list of groups about which you can speak without worrying about propriety. And the neocons aren’t happy about that, because it makes “us conservatives” look racist. A neocon might say, “Muslims killed us on 9/11, so it’s okay to hate them as a group,” to which an alt-rightist might reply, “And how many white Americans are killed and raped by blacks and Mexicans every day, but it’s not okay to hate them as a group?”

Now, to be clear, I am in no way defending those views; I’m merely pointing out that “establishment” conservatives created this hypocrisy, and now they’re dealing with the consequences, one of which is that the alt-right is no longer content having its hatreds play second fiddle to those of the neocons. This needs to be said: During my years as a high-profile (and very establishment) conservative writer and activist, every single National Review, FrontPage Mag, and PJ Media guy I worked with read and appreciated American Renaissance and VDARE . . . they would just never admit it publicly. I made the point earlier about how absurd it is to revere Geller and Schlussel while dismissing Taylor, and the neocon media higher-ups do understand that. They like Taylor. But they fear rank-and-file alt-rightists because, while engendering hatred toward Muslims is seen as safe, indeed beneficial, for Jewish neocons and their favorite causes (well, “cause,” singular–Israel), it’s believed that if you let in too many AmRen fanboys, you’ll start to accumulate people who are less-than-friendly toward Jews (and almost certainly, you will). So conservative publications like National Review have, in the past, indulged alt-rightists just enough to keep them as readers, but not enough to make them feel like part of the family.

The Trump candidacy has (in my opinion accidentally) led to a permanent end to that détente. Fragmentation, hostility, and side-taking will continue until the Trump coronation or the Trump Waterloo, and there’ll be no returning to normal afterward. Someone at National Review might, at some point in the future, say, “Sorry for that whole ‘white working-class communities deserve to die’ thing,” and someone at Breitbart might say, “Sorry we were kinda acting like paid shills for Trump.” But it won’t matter. Alt-rightists are tired of being relegated to the part of the bus they believe should be reserved for blacks. And with people like Yiannopoulos at Breitbart essentially saying “Let them move up to the front,” and people like Kevin Williamson at National Review basically saying, “Kick them to the gutter and run ’em over,” a rift has been formed that will not and cannot be healed by compromise.


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