“It’s your content that is being rejected” -- Rush Limbaugh on the selling of the Washington Post
The Washington Post died for Liberal Privilege.
The Doctrine of Liberal Privilege.
Let’s define that Liberal Privilege.
In four words?
“We make the rules.”
Is Rush Limbaugh in trouble?
Is the Tea Party extremist?
Was Ronald Reagan dumb, the Soviet Union eternal, did Bush lie, are conservatives racists? Is Sarah Palin stupid, Hillary Clinton brilliant, global warming a scientific fact, and abortion overwhelmingly popular?
The answers? Yes, yes, yes, yes, of course, it’s obvious, absolutely, and everybody knows it without question.
Why? Because liberals say so, that’s why.
This is the Doctrine of Liberal Privilege that finally forced the Graham family to sell the Washington Post.
Using Liberal Privilege liberals make the rules, establish the common assumptions, send them forth into American society through the liberal media, liberal academia, liberal Hollywood, liberal religion, and other liberal venues.
So let’s define the Doctrine of Liberal Privilege more specifically, academic-style (and note, sources will be provided at the end of this article):
• “Liberal Privilege defines the societal norm, often benefiting those in the privileged group. Second, privileged group members can rely on their privilege and avoid objecting to oppression. The result of this societal norm is that everyone is required to live by the attributes held by the privileged. In society liberals define and determine the terms of success and failure; they are the norm. Thus, achievements by members of the liberal privileged group are viewed as meritorious and the result of individual effort, rather than as privileged.”
• “Liberal Privilege is a form of racism that both underlies and is distinct from institutional and overt racism. It underlies them in that both are predicated on preserving the privileges of liberals (regardless of whether agents recognize this or not). But it is also distinct in terms of intentionality. It refers to the hegemonic structures, practices, and ideologies that reproduce liberals’ privileged status. In this scenario, liberals do not necessarily intend to hurt people of conservative or non-liberal belief, but because they are unaware of their liberal privilege, and because they accrue social and economic benefits by maintaining the liberal status quo, they inevitably do.”
• “Liberal Privilege is an invisible package of unearned assets which liberals can count on cashing in each day, but about which they are 'meant' to remain oblivious. Liberal Privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks.”
When understood in this fashion, understanding the “invisible weightless knapsack” concept, the essence of everything from the liberal media to academia, mainline Protestant churches, the bureaucracies of Washington, DC, the NAACP, La Raza, the AFL-CIO, and so much more comes into 20/20 focus. Everyone involved, social, cultural, and political liberals one and all, has the requisite “maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks” of Liberal Privilege.
In the real world, millions of Americans don’t pick up this “invisible weightless knapsack.” In fact, they don’t want “maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks” belonging to a world they think is elitist, selfish, lacking in common sense, fact-challenged, race addicted, snobbish, arrogant and silly when not crazy. These Americans see themselves as having nothing in common with the world of Liberal Privilege. But they certainly recognize the Liberal Privileged when they cross paths -- and understand instinctively that the passport holders to the world of Liberal Privilege recognize each other and know exactly how to communicate in the language of the Liberal Privileged.
Why did The Washington Post fail so ignominiously, requiring a humiliating sale for a paltry $250 million to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos in the media equivalent of a fire sale?
Let’s ask this question another way.
Why is Rush Limbaugh celebrating his 25th year on the air and going strong? (Contrary to all those liberal wet dreams? )
To simplify, the answer can be found here in this March 2, 2012 Washington Post editorial with this headline:
The GOP can no longer avoid its Rush Limbaugh problem.
Written at the start of the Sandra Fluke dust-up in 2012 the editorial ---- and it was signed by “The Editorial Board,” meaning this was not some lone lefty columnist but in fact the considered opinion of the Washington Post said, in part, this:
For the good of U.S. political culture — or at least its own political self-interest — the GOP must distance itself from Mr. Limbaugh.
Does this ring a bell?
Yes, of course. The Washington Post once owned Newsweek -- before running the magazine into the ground and famously selling it in 2010 for a dollar plus debt coverage. And it was Newsweek on March 6th of 2009, three years almost to the day before the Post’s “Rush Limbaugh problem” editorial, that ran a cover story featuring a too-close-up photo of an angry-looking Rush Limbaugh with what was supposed to appear as adhesive tape over his mouth, the tape bearing the single word “Enough!” The story was written by ex-George W. Bush aide and RINO David Frum and titled: "Why Rush is Wrong." Frum led off with an attack on Mark Levin, than segued into his (read: Newsweek’s) main purpose, comparing Rush (and by extension the conservative movement, talk radio stars, Fox News) unfavorably to President Obama. Wrote Frum in prose that thrilled his liberal editors:
On the one side, the president of the United States: soft-spoken and conciliatory, never angry, always invoking the recession and its victims. This president invokes the language of "responsibility," and in his own life seems to epitomize that ideal: He is physically honed and disciplined, his worst vice an occasional cigarette. He is at the same time an apparently devoted husband and father. Unsurprisingly, women voters trust and admire him.
And for the leader of the Republicans? A man who is aggressive and bombastic, cutting and sarcastic, who dismisses the concerned citizens in network news focus groups as "losers." With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence — exactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party. And we're cooperating! Those images of crowds of CPACers cheering Rush's every rancorous word — we'll be seeing them rebroadcast for a long time.
Frum was, of course, wrong. Wildly so. The following year the Tea Party and the GOP stunned liberals, -- with Rush Limbaugh, in Frum’s words “the leader of the Republicans” -- by winning a record 63 House seats, 6 Senate seats, 680 state legislative seats and emerging with 29 out of 50 governorships.
The question, then, with just these two examples? How could the Post and Newsweek have been so out of touch with political reality?
Why is it that Rush Limbaugh continues to flourish (make that thrive) -- and the fabled Washington Post is being sold in a fire sale?
The answer: The Doctrine of Liberal Privilege.
Every single soul on the Post’s editorial board or in the newsroom of Newsweek had exactly the same set of “maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks” that are provided by Liberal Privilege. There was no one there to say, over the years, you, Post management have more than readers who are part of the Liberal Privilege. Your content is killing you.
And in truth? Had Rush Limbaugh himself walked in the doors of the newsroom and said “I will help save the Washington Post” the Grahams would have politely -- OK maybe not politely -- shown Rush the door. And continued right on down the road to selling the family jewel.
How ingrained was Liberal Privilege at the Post? Listen to famed Post reporter Bob Woodward on the sale to Bezos:
This isn’t Rupert Murdoch buying the Wall Street Journal, this is somebody who believes in the values that the Post has been prominent in practicing, and so I don’t see any downside.
This is amazing.
Rupert Murdoch, like the Graham family that is selling the Post, comes from a newspaper family and has been running newspapers all his life. Unlike the Grahams he wasn’t handed a major league journalistic inheritance in the Post, one of the most famous newspapers in America when the latest batch of Grahams took over the paper. No, Murdoch inherited the tiny Adelaide News out off the beaten path in Australia in a day when Australia itself was off the beaten path for most Westerners. Today, the Grahams are losing the Post. And the Murdoch News Corporation, named after that lowly Adelaide paper literally bestrides the globe with newspapers, a movie studio, Fox News, and more. And what is the condition of the Wall Street Journal, purchased a while back from another American journalist family that was struggling to keep their inheritance going? Here’s this release from a couple month’s back that captures the point in a headline:
WALL STREET JOURNAL REMAINS #1 NEWSPAPER IN U.S.
WITH RISE IN TOTAL AVERAGE CIRCULATION
And the Post? Said a saddened Donald Graham, the Post’s publisher:
Our revenues had declined seven years in a row.
So somehow, the despicable -- read: conservative -- Rupert Murdoch is running the Number One newspaper in America and the Journal’s circulation is on the rise. But the Post has had revenues decline for seven years in a row. And Bob Woodward thinks Rupert Murdoch is the problem with journalism? Why -- shocking! How could that possibly be?
It can be because, as Woodward says correctly, the Post has been “prominently practicing” certain “values.” Or, as the Post’s Erik Wemple headlined his blog:
Don Graham sells, but doesn’t sell out
What Woodward and Wemple are talking about is the language of Liberal Privilege. What are those mysterious “values” at the Post that Woodward mentions? What is Wemple so pleased at that has him writing that Don Graham didn’t sell out?
That would be…. Liberal Privilege.
Another case in point?
Not to pick on her -- doubtless she loves her family and if they one the family dog -- but the hiring of Jennifer Rubin to write a column is a pluperfect example of Liberal Privilege at work at the Post. Here’s a behind- the-scenes story from the conservative movement that sheds some light on this decision.
In 2012 I was asked to participate in a panel at CPAC -- the Conservative Political Action Conference. The Washington event drew around 10,000 conservatives from all over the country and featured star turns by all manner of well-known conservatives and GOP presidential candidates. As is always the case with events of this nature, speakers spend their waiting time in the Green Room, a small conference room in this case that was well-stocked with food, water, soda, coffee etc. Sitting in the room at the same time as I was there were several household conservative names, all of us discussing events of the moment. Someone referred to something written by Jennifer Rubin and one of these conservative notables -- name withheld here -- looked up and quickly said: “She’s not a conservative.” All heads in the room nodded.
But what is the title of Rubin’s column?
Right Turn: Jennifer Rubin's take from a conservative perspective
The fact is that Ms. Rubin’s column and obviously she herself -- a Berkeley grad, Hollywoodalum and said to be a Kerry voter in 2004 -- is decidedly not seen by conservatives as one of their own. Yet the Post has tried to sell Rubin as just that -- a conservative. Can they do this? Sure. Do I want Ms. Rubin deprived of her column or her free speech? Of course not. No one is saying she isn’t smart, a good writer, a good person. The point is simply that for the Post to hire Rubin and put her out there as a “conservative perspective” is a no-sale for conservatives, presumably the intended audience. So instead of conservatives in Washington and around the country making a point of buying the Post or reading the Post to read Jennifer Rubin -- by definition it didn’t happen. It couldn’t happen. Why? In the world of Liberal Privilege Ms. Rubin is seen as a conservative -- a clear representative of those Washington Post distinctly non-conservative “values” of which Bob Woodward spoke.
Which is to say, the Washington Post management, afloat in Liberal Privilege, the Rubin episode is one small indication that the Grahams had not a clue how to save their paper.
Once Liberal Privilege is understood, decades of news stories make sense.
The treatment of Clarence Thomas, Dan Quayle, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney among others are all examples of Liberal Privilege at work. Each and every person on that list was presented by the Washington Post to the American public -- specifically to their readers -- through the eyes of Liberal Privilege. Everybody who counted at the paper had the code on how to write about these people.
In short hand? In the Code of Liberal Privilege?
Thomas was a black sexual harasser, Quayle, Palin, Bachmann, Reagan and Bush were stupid, Cain a black sex maniac, and Nixon, Gingrich, and Cheney varying incarnations of evil.
And Rush Limbaugh? Getting Rush Limbaugh like the Post got Richard Nixon was never in the cards. And make no mistake -- right up until the end of the Post’s existence they will hate him for it.
But Liberal Privilege isn’t simply about the media or this or that conservative personality. It’s the “societal norm” for liberals -- which they in turn assume is the societal norm for everybody except those astonishingly backwards and ignorant conservatives. And the world that is that societal norm of Liberal Privilege -- from race to abortion or same-sex marriage, economics, government, academia, Hollywood, religion, national security, the Cold War, the War on Terror, the welfare state, the Constitution and every imaginable other issue or event of the day -- all are viewed by those with the Liberal Privilege through the lens provided by that Liberal Privilege.
One can go all the way back to the Alger Hiss episode at the dawn of the Cold War in the late 1940s -- Hiss a classic Eastern Establishment up-and-comer in the FDR State Department who was revealed by a young Congressman Nixon to be a Communist spy -- and see the Doctrine of Liberal Privilege at work.
In terms of the Washington Post, Watergate and the bringing down of the Nixon presidency is seen as the paper’s greatest accomplishment. It made stars and heroes of the young Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, brought in journalism honors, bestsellers, celebrity and a hot-ticket Hollywood movie starring megastars of the day Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.
But the dirty little secret here?
The real reason for Watergate and the furious zeal of the Post to bring down President Nixon derives not from Watergate but rather it comes directly from young Congressman Nixon’s successful pursuit of Alger Hiss. It was, in fact, the young Nixon who pulled back the veil shielding the world of Liberal Privilege by revealing that Hiss, the Harvard Law grad and scion of Liberal Privilege, was in fact a Communist spy. Nixon was hated for it -- forever.
Recall those definitions of Liberal Privilege used at the beginning of this piece?
By changing the words “White Privilege” to “Liberal Privilege” and a few others, the problem is apparent in more ways than one.
What is the real, unspoken theory behind the theory of White Privilege?
Hint: It’s something you will never see mentioned by all those academics and authors who are busily injecting this latest liberal idea into the public square.
You guessed it.
Underlying the idea of White Privilege is the hard and ironic reality of….. Liberal Privilege.
On the day Richard Nixon left the White House for the last time in August of 1974, he told his tearful Cabinet and staff by way of saying good-bye: “We don’t have a good word for it in English, the best is au-revoir. We’ll see you again.”
Nixon’s words are fitting today as the Washington Post as it was known for decades -- as Nixon himself came to despise it -- slips beneath the historical waves.
It may be good-bye for the Washington Post.
But The Doctrine of Liberal Privilege?
You’ll see it again.
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pen