MSNBC questions authority

This morning, I was eating breakfast in a Holiday Inn in Lincoln, Nebraska.  The television was on MSNBC, and I happened to watch a commercial for the station’s news programming.  One of the newscasters was talking about himself.  I didn’t get down the exact words, but here is a paraphrase:

When I was a kid, I saw a T-shirt that said “Question authority”.  I thought that was the most liberating thing I’d ever read.  I wished that I could have a job that put that saying into action.  At MSNBC, this saying is what I do every day.

This is beyond parody.  Their man actually admits to us, as if it’s something to be proud of, that his philosophy of life is a T-shirt slogan–and not just any slogan, but a particularly moronic expression of adolescent rebellion.  Hasn’t this guy grown up and stopped being angry at daddy yet?

Of course, the sort of “questioning” that the slogan recommends only has one answer.  “Why should I obey this?” always ends in “I shouldn’t”.  The questioning is certainly not aimed at understanding the rationale behind what an authority figure is doing, or the reasons why authority itself might be necessary and even good in some domains.  “Questioning” always means “subverting”.

A man with such an understanding of his job cannot report neutrally any public debate, because most of the great debates of the age are not between rival authorities, but between the partisans and the enemies of authority.  The Cold War was about the battle of a revolutionary movement–international communism–against all forms of traditional authority.  Therefore, our MSNBC journalist would have been obliged to be a communist propagandist.  There’s no need to question revolutionary insurgency, after all, just authority.  The battles in the Catholic Church since Vatican II have been between modernist revolutionaries and defenders of the authority of tradition.  An MSNBC journalist must, I suppose, be an uncritical cheerleader for the modernists.  There’s no need to question heresy, after all.  The same goes for a dozen other public debates.  MSNBC just announced it’s commitment to one side against the other.  No one really had any doubt which side they were on, but it’s nice to see them come clean about it.

One Response

  1. Here’s something I wrote a little while ago about questioning authority:
    http://guildreview.blogspot.com/2009/02/political-consciousness.html

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