McConnell Celebrates Weaponization of Media

I have to admit that despite his supposed old-school mien and senatorial gravitas, Mitt McConnell gives me the creeps a lot more than the average Tea Person (say, his Kentucky colleague Rand Paul). Perhaps he isn’t a crazy person, and perhaps his apparent devotion to such familiar values as the amoral exercise of political power and the faithful representation of the prerogatives of the very rich is less threatening to the Republic than the demons that haunt Randian libertarians and evangelical theocrats.

But I dunno: I read through a John Stanton piece for Buzzfeed based on an interview with McConnell on the subject of old and new media and came away chilled by his cheerful approbation of the latter on the sole grounds that they make his brand of vicious partisanship more effective.

“To the extent that there isn’t media domination like there was in the days NBC, ABC, CBS the New York Times, the Washington Post, particularly since most people on my side of the aisle feel they had a pretty obvious bias … those days are over,” he said. “I kind of like this new environment. I think its much more competitive, much more balanced.”

“From a conservative point of view we have a better chance of competing in the marketplace of ideas,” he said.

You get the feeling that if he happened to be a Democrat or if the “old media” were biased in the “wrong” direction, he’d have diametrically opposed views. In any event, his perspective is not clouded by any concerns about, you know, objective truth, facts, or the public’s right to know. The same is true of his attitude towards new-media tools for politicians. It’s not about communicating better with constituents or better informing the electorate, but simply a matter of the superior ability (if you’ve got the money) to get to voters first with the greatest throw-weight of propaganda.

None of this is terribly surprising coming from a leader whose signature conviction is that the post-Citizens United environment is a free-speech paradise. But still, you’d think even McConnell would be capable of deep enough thought to grasp that media are not simply weapons for sale in a vast arms market where non-violent solutions are never on the table.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.