After ten years and thousands of posts, I withdrew from blogging for many reasons. Among them was unreconstructed fatigue with the state of our "national conversation" on almost any topic (including, of course, that we call whatever this is a "national conversation"). To rip an object lesson from the headlines of the current news cycle, consider the latest manufactured outrage to spin up my friends on the right, the arresting news that George Stephanopoulos is a partisan for the Clintons.
As in, who could imagine that the former Communications Director and Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy in the Clinton Administration might actually like and support the Clintons? Did anybody out there need to know that Stephanopolous had given the Clinton Foundation money in order to know he was their friend and supporter? Presumably not readers of this learned blog.
Apart from the sheer tedium of this kerfuffle -- and that is all it is -- the conservative argument implicitly concedes that partisan hackery in the media depends from financial evidence. It doesn't. Quite to the contrary, personal and ideological connections are far more important, especially when reinforced by a shared enterprise as intense as waging and winning a presidential campaign. By attaching totemic significance to the money, conservatives imply that Stephanopolous' sham journalism would otherwise be objective. It isn't, and nobody should expect it to be.
But wait, didn't Stephanopolous violate some network policy about disclosing financial ties? Sure, but that policy is as figgy a leaf as there ever was. How about demanding that journalists be intellectually honest, and reminding viewers that they have a professional and personal history tied to a particular politician, party, or ideology? That might actually give effect to the "ethics" modern journalists cynically assert to legitimize their "profession."
Release the hounds.