Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rush and Baba Wawa

Via Hot Air.

"I love Sarah Palin. I think Sarah Palin is the exact opposite of her mainstream media caricature. The thing that happened with Sarah Palin, I think, is illustrative of another battle that's shaping up, and that's a battle between elites -- smart people -- and those they do not think are smart."
Limbaugh then attempts to explain the elite disdain for Palin, but Walters interrupts, saying that Palin is disdained for not being "informed." See? When you're in the information business, as Walters is, it is an arrogant act of self-congratulation to mistake being "informed" for being intelligent or competent.

This is a mistake that too many journalists make, to make the standards of their own profession the measure of everyone else. If you spend your whole day immersed in news -- which is what a journalist does, especially at the upper reaches of the profession -- it is very easy to think of yourself as a universal expert, and to look down your nose at people who don't pay much attention to current events.

Sarah Palin is governor of Alaska. That's a full-time job, and the fact that she had not spent a lot of time prior to August paying attention to global geopolitics does not mean she is stupid. Whether such inattention to global geopolitics made her unqualified for the vice-presidency is a legitimate point of dispute, but it does not justify the kind of sneering contempt expressed by Walters: "Is she informed?"

Notice that when Walters attempts to hang the "elite" tag on Limbaugh, he replies that elitism is an attitude and notes that he did not graduate college. Limbaugh is an autodidact, who has learned what he knows on his own, by independent study. and who therefore believes that other people are similarly capable. You often hear Rush express this attitude on his radio show, saying to a caller, "You tell me what it means." The caller will then say his piece, whereupon Rush says, "Excellent point -- exactly right," before going on to elaborate on the point the caller has made.

Rush is very good at articulating beliefs that the common person shares, but cannot say as well as Rush can -- he gives voice to the voiceless. And this attitude is completely opposite of the attitude of people like Barbara Walters, who contemptuously view their audience as an undifferentiated mass of ignoramuses in need of enlightenment. Rush is a tribune of the people; Walters is (at least in her own mind) a Platonic archon.


  1. The great Rabbi Hillel, who had his own school of Talmud, was, by day, a water-carrier: that's right; he filled up his goatskin at the well and took it to someone's house, where he was paid a pittance and given a boot or two and a few unkind words for letting a few drops leak out. Since he never charged for his work as a teacher, being a Gunga Din was his only income!
    By night, however, and on the Sabbath he was a teacher held in the highest esteem for his knowledge, humility and life-style.
    From this one may gather what many American Journalists seem reluctant to: that you don't have to be an elitist to be part of an elite.

  2. Barbara Walters makes Sarah Palin looks like a potential winner of the Nobel Prize in physics.