The Mind of the Establishment

January 5, 2011

Same interview. Here is Rachel Maddow talking about Fox News. Pay special attention to her opinion on Glenn Beck.

Now talking about Wikileaks.

Let us assume Rachel Maddow is a good person.

Question: Who would you rather cut some slack, Glenn Beck or Julian Assange? Which one would you be more likely to carefully express your opinion on?

It is to be expected that everybody has a bias. That does not mean that we have to stop criticising people for their bias. Or stop pointing it out. Normally bias is divided in two categories, that depending on the place are named differently. Left/right, liberal/conservative, whatever. But does this kind of bias explain what I would consider rather out of character behaviour from Maddow? Not really.

Let’s just concentrate on this short part of this interview to see if we can find a model which maybe explains this behavior:

  • […]”Mainly the reaction is: Why is this secret?”[…]: There you have it. This apparently is not a reason to worry, but a reason not to worry. How that can be is something I do not fully grasp. This does not make that it was leaked any better.
  • “[Talking about intelligence agencies knowing about a plot similar to 9/11 being planned] …this kind of stuff was open-source that anybody could have put it together anyway.”: She says this as if this is supposed to put us at ease. Knowing that it was easily accessible only makes the time it needed to surface more worrying, not less. This should be obvious to anybody. How doesn’t she see this?
  • Soft on Glenn Beck hard on Assange: There is a possibility that she doesn’t think that Beck is a borderline psychotic sycophant, but all the reasons why that could be are too horrible to face. Furthermore, I’d ask how a journalist of all people could be concerned at this day and age with too much transparency…
  • “[…]random australian[…]”: This one she even notices it herself. She almost immediately recants the ‘australian’ part. “Not that I have anything against Australians!”. Then Why did she say it? I’m tempted to call it a Freudian slip.
  • Let’s call it American exceptionalism: At no point does the thought that US decisions also influence people outside the US and that this maybe gives foreigners the right to know what the US government is doing cross her mind. Related to that: How many Afghans and Iraqis get to give their opinion on American television? Is there none worth listening to?

So, Fox News deserves calmed talk, a simple enumeration of facts. Glenn Beck some praise. The problem now is that he talks too much about himself. Wikileaks Julian Assange deserves derision. Is this a good time to remind people that only one of them is doing what they do at a high personal cost?

What is the difference between Fox and Wikileaks. Between Beck and Assange? One is part of the establishment the other is not. One is a member of the same club as Maddow, one not. In my opinion that explains this kind of behaviour. It is the mindset of the establishment.

This does not make her a bad person. This kind of behaviour is learned, not conscious. But it is a bias that explains a lot of weak points of otherwise well-intentioned people. We should be aware of it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: