Thursday, March 7, 2019

Three white males despised by the left-wing commentariat

(First published in the Manawatu Standard, the Nelson Mail and, March 6.)

Donald Trump. George Pell. Benjamin Netanyahu.

On the face of things, three men with not a lot in common other than that they are all white males who are (or were until recently, in Pell’s case) in positions of power.

That alone, of course, is enough to condemn them in a world where white male privilege has been identified – excuse me while I take my tongue out of my cheek – as the root cause of all oppression and suffering.

But these men share the additional distinction of being the three world figures most loathed by the Left-leaning elites that dominate the public conversation. North Korea's despotic Kim Jong Un? Venezuela’s lethally incompetent Maduro? Syria’s genocidal al-Assad? Not even in the race.

Let’s take Trump first. Last week his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified before the US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform. 

The media hung on every word and would have been bitterly disappointed that Cohen failed to confirm suspicions that Trump had colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Never mind; the media eagerly lapped up Cohen’s other damning assertions about Trump’s character, apparently forgetting that only months ago the same Michael Cohen had been portrayed in the same media as a man who couldn’t lie straight in bed.

Is Trump a crook? On the balance of the evidence, the answer is almost certainly yes. His every action and statement suggests he’s a man with the integrity of a cockroach. Yet there’s something disturbing about the way once-reputable news organisations have abandoned all pretence of balance and objectivity in the way they report him.

I listen most days to America’s National Public Radio. I'm a great fan except for one thing: it’s  obsessed with Trump and spends endless hours analysing his iniquities. 

You would never guess, listening to NPR or reading the Washington Post, that Trump currently has an approval rating of 44 per cent – hardly stratospheric, but no disgrace either. Ronald Reagan, generally considered one of the most popular occupants of the White House, enjoyed only 40 per cent approval at the same point in his presidency.

As puzzling as it may seem to us, many Americans like what Trump’s doing. The US economy has surged during his presidency and unemployment is the lowest it has been for decades, but this is either ignored or played down in most of the media.

There’s something not right here. The American media are supposed to reflect the mood of the nation, but they invite the accusation that they are elitist and out of touch. Many Americans no longer feel they can trust their newspapers and broadcasting organisations – a fact Trump is happy to exploit.

Now, Cardinal Pell. Did he sexually molest two choir boys in the sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne? A jury decided he did, but at an earlier trial on the same charges, a different jury had voted 10-2 to acquit him. He was convicted the second time after a retrial. Other charges against him had previously been dismissed.

The Australian media decided early in the piece that Pell was a molester. He wasn’t helped by the fact that he’s an ecclesiastical conservative, which wouldn’t have endeared him to the liberal media, and neither did he do himself any favours by conveying the impression of being cold, aloof and unsympathetic to the victims of abuse.

The case is being appealed, but in the meantime it’s reasonable to ask whether a fair and impartial verdict was possible against a backdrop of public outrage – entirely justified – over the epidemic of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

The trial took place amid such a climate of public revulsion and media condemnation that it’s hard to imagine jurors not being influenced. The appeal judges will have the last word on whether Pell is guilty, but no one can rule out the possibility that he has been made a scapegoat for grotesque perversions perpetrated by others.

Finally, Netanyahu. The tough Israeli prime minister is facing corruption charges and most commentators can barely conceal their delight.

You can see why he’s not liked. More than once, I’ve seen Netanyahu coolly demolish smug, condescending TV interviewers who thought they could skewer him over Palestine.

Granted, Netanyahu is probably not a nice man, but effective leaders are often imperfect human beings. The sainted John F Kennedy, to take an obvious example, was an alley cat and a voracious sexual predator. Winston Churchill saved Britain from Nazism but he was coldly ruthless when it suited him.

Netanyahu may be a crook, for all I know, but I suspect that if I were an Israeli, surrounded by hostile forces wanting to kill me, I would be reassured by having him as prime minister.


Unknown said...

Whether Pell is a guilty or not, for me the most odious thing about him is how he treated the victims of paedophile priests and their families. The status of the Church overrode his pastoral and moral obligations to victims. He is a hypocrite and a liar.

Karl du Fresne said...

You could well be right, but that doesn't mean he was fairly found guilty on the sex abuse charges.

Unknown said...

Deep-seated bias in the mainstream media has been around a long time. Manipulating public opinion has always been hard to resist. However, I suspect that in the past it was generally driven by the political slant of the owners with collusion from the Editor-in-Chief. Now, the left-wing bias is driven by almost all editors and journalists with the exception of a handful of older, clearly identifiable centrist and conservative commentators, kept on to provide an impression of balance. The degree to which journos have become robotic left ideologues is illustrated by the articles on visiting Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson. There were at least three absolutely terrible attack articles on the man on Stuff in February, that I am aware of, plus just one kind off neutral piece. Similar ratio on the NZ Herald site. Two of the attack articles (by young women) were so rabid you could almost taste the venom. The particular journos involved have actually shot themselves in their respective feet. Not only have they tarnished their personal reputations for journalistic integrity, they have also convinced people to adopt the opposite view. The problem is not going to go away in a hurry though while the Tertiary institutions where journos are trained are so over run by cultural marxists / postmodernists.

hughvane said...

I have no knowledge of Pell's guilt or innocence, only he, his God, and his accusers know the actual truth, despite what the jury chose to believe. Pell was tried and found guilty by a majority of media long before he appeared in a court of law, and I note with some relief that he has some 'substantial' supporters.

Hilary Taylor said...

HV...yes, we visit Oz regularly and certainly the impression I gleaned from The Australian was 'guilty'.
Unknown...I agree entirely. Reading the Press these days can be a short affair, if I decided to miss out the pieces by those journos who's reputation for churning out the same 'woke' line, time after time, is well-established. As for their pieces on Peterson, a predictable yawn, and yet an unfathomable venom, as you say. Peterson!