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5/29/2005 11:10:00 AM | Timothy

E.J. Dionne on Right-wing postmodernists
From the Washington Post:
Conservative academics have long attacked "postmodernist" philosophies for questioning whether "truth" exists at all and claiming that what we take as "truths" are merely "narratives" woven around some ideological predisposition. Today's conservative activists have become the new postmodernists. They shift attention away from the truth or falsity of specific facts and allegations -- and move the discussion to the motives of the journalists and media organizations putting them forward. Just a modest number of failures can be used to discredit an entire enterprise.
...
this particular anti-press campaign is not about Journalism 101. It is about Power 101. It is a sophisticated effort to demolish the idea of a press independent of political parties by way of discouraging scrutiny of conservative politicians in power. By using bad documents, Dan Rather helped Bush, not John Kerry, because Rather gave Bush's skilled lieutenants the chance to use the CBS mistake to close off an entire line of inquiry about the president. In the case of Guantanamo, the administration, for a while, cast its actions as less important than Newsweek's.
After the 2000 election, The Nation has a cover with button like "Foucault 2000" and "Derrida for President". The cover was much better than the cover story (as is befitting, given the topic).

P.S. Notice that I have titled this post 'right-wing postmodernists'. That's Dionne's label, and I would have said 'conservative postmodernists' except I have used that label to describe some of things John Stevenson has said about race, and I think that my criticism of John is largely unrelated to this post.



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