...even if Mr. Bush wins, I have seen the face of defeat. It is obvious to me, at the end of the most gruelling political campaign that I can remember, over the most extraordinary stakes, that the elites in the media, in the academy, in the legal and other public professions -- the "intellectuals" considered together as a class; the "clerisy" as Coleridge called them; the people upon whom a society depends for its thinking -- are, in America as much as elsewhere in the West, morally rotted through.The essay concludes:
This has been most evident in the media, because the big newspapers, TV networks, and the repulsive entertainment industry of which they have become increasingly a part, are what we see from day to day. Yet the people in the media, whom polls have shown overwhelmingly support Kerry, seldom do any original thinking. They are more reflective of the conditions that made them; they represent the thinking of the larger class.
It could be said, of this larger intellectual elite in the United States, that when their own country, under attack by a lethal, entrenched, and unambiguously evil enemy, rose in self-defence, they pretended to be neutral. But it was only a pretence: for as we've seen through the media, the battlefield reporting and the rumour-mongering has been consistently slanted. There was no mistake, nor presumed mistake, made by American forces, or the U.S. political leadership, that was not blared across the front pages and the television screens.
Conversely, there has been only the most perfunctory coverage, not merely of American successes and accomplishments in the field -- which have been many, and some astonishing -- but even of the real problems U.S. forces have encountered. How, with such media on their backs, could the allies have defeated Hitler?
Now here, in my view, is the heart of the matter: Michael Moore's "documentary" film, Fahrenheit 9/11, presented a crackpot conspiratorial view of events in which easily established facts were wildly skewed. It did not play to small audiences. I believe the view of reality presented in that film -- with its leading suggestion that 9/11 itself was merely a convenient pretext for the Bush administration -- is actually embraced by America's intellectual elite. Worse, they believe it because they want to believe it.
This is the face of defeat. And the fact that the Democrats have been willing to appeal to this constituency, yet still hope to win the presidential election, speaks tawdry volumes.
The fact of Mr. Kerry is a symptom only. I'm afraid the disease that has made his candidacy not only possible, but competitive, goes much deeper than that. And it is from that, in the end, I pray America will recover.Amen!