The Conformity Crackup of 2021

Source: Wall Street Journal.

None dare call it conspiracy, and yet…

The year 2021 that ends this week wasn’t the return to normalcy that President Biden promised, but it was invaluable in one respect. This was the year when the conformity that characterizes American politics and media was exposed for its mistakes as never before.

By conformity we mean the progressive political and media consensus that forms quickly around an issue and then reinforces itself no matter the competing arguments or new information. This isn’t a conspiracy in any formal sense; there are no organized calls or Zoom meetings.

This is about a shared set of political values and preferences that leads people to reach the same conclusions about an event. The reporters and commentators of the major progressive media—the Washington Post, Bloomberg, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Atlantic, and more—all then reinforce what they now like to call the “narrative” of a story.

Politicians and the press feed the narrative with leaks and the stories they pursue—or, as important, what they don’t pursue. Disagreement is rare to nonexistent because the cost can be ostracism or lost careers.

The editorial substantiates its assertions by cataloging a few of the big “narratives” that turned out, in 2021, to be swamp gas.

I’ve been told that fascism is coming to America, care of right-wing extremists. But I agree with WSJ: Progressive conformity looks a lot like fascism to me. It is good to see it breaking down.

19 thoughts on “The Conformity Crackup of 2021

  1. “ . This year the indictments by special counsel John Durham have revealed how Democrats and the press worked together to promote the dossier that was based on disinformation.”

    What did Dunham find after a two year investigation?

    One FBI agent pleaded guilty to slightly editing an email and lawyer may have lied to an FBI agent, with no audio or recorded evidence to back it up.

    Is there more?

    Group think? Anyone who even says Trumps hair is funny looking is ostracized and condemned by GOP powers. The Big Lie is repeated hourly by right wing MSM. They even campaigned with Trump in earlier days. Sinclair Broadcasting even sent out a script to all 300 plus local stations a few years back.

    The WSJ editorial board is projecting its dirty laundry on an IMAX screen.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. RE: “Is there more?”

      What more is needed to prove the claim? Should we conclude that the dossier was factual and not promoted by Democrats and the press working together?


      1. What more is needed…?

        What did Dunham prove? Nothing. Sussman? the lawyer who may have lied to an investigator with no witnesses or recordings or signed statements.

        Right wing group think and MSM collaboration are driving the partisan divide since Gingrich snagged the Speaker post with a “my way or the highway, no compromise” policy that undermines a democratic republic.

        “Ditto heads” says it all.

        Liked by 3 people

          1. No conspiracy, just blind obedience due to the perceived political power of Trump. Censuring Cheney in Wyoming just because she feels an investigation is critical to the preservation of our form of governance. Trying to politically cripple Raffensperger because he refused to rig the results in GA? Add in death threats to him and his family just for giggles.

            But, if you say “Right. There is a conspiracy after all”, who am I to argue. Your confession is good for the soul.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. RE: “No conspiracy, just blind obedience due to the perceived political power of Trump.”

            Why don’t you answer the questions asked:

            Was the Steele dossier factual; yes or no?
            Was it promoted by Democrats and media as evidence of Russian collusion; yes or no?


          3. Factual? Some parts that were verifiable probably were. Others we still don’t know for sure.

            Was it promoted as such by media? Some did, some just reported that there was a dossier.

            BTW you inquired about a conspiracy. Your first question was misleading. Depending upon whom you asked, the dossier may or may not have been partly instrumental in a FISA request. Most of media I read described the dossier for what it probably was: a mix of a scintilla of truth and lots of lies from sketchy sources. (Just like right wingers do daily.)
            Perhaps some Democrats referred to the dossier. I don’t recall it being much of an issue except by right wingers insisting that it was key to FISA warrants. Remember both Trump and Obama were given the dossier. Only Buzzfeed leaked it.

            Now, your turn to answer my question.

            What did Dunham prove after two years?

            Liked by 3 people

          4. The answer is to ignore the questions. The result is that WSJ may be correct in its observations, but the observations are “wrong.” If a person loses something, the only place to look for it is where the light is.


          5. RE: “What did Dunham prove after two years?”

            A) He proved that FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith materially altered an email to claim that Carter Page was not a source working for the CIA.The alteration allowed the DOJ to improperly obtain approval of a FISA warrant to spy on Page.

            B) He proved there was sufficient probable cause to indict Michael Sussmann on charges of lying to the FBI.

            I contend that these two facts are sufficient to substantiate WSJ’s claim that 2021 was the year “indictments by special counsel John Durham have revealed how Democrats and the press worked together to promote the dossier that was based on disinformation.”


          6. “Please explain how I ignored the questions?”

            Sorry, Mr. Rothman. I should have addressed that comment to Mr. Green.


  2. This is not new. Rush Limbaugh for decades ran “montages” of news reports from the MSM using EXACTLY th same words to describe an event less than 24 hours old. Either there is a cabal or they all work from the same DNC talking points.


    1. You are familiar with wire reports to those who subscribe to major sources? Not every media outlet can cover all events. This is not new technology.

      And don’t forget, MSM includes the biggest cable network, FOX and probably the biggest radio corp, Sinclair. Along with WSJ, NY Post, NR, Washington Times, etc.

      Finally, the right wing echo chamber is the Eighth Wonder of the World in size, scope, predictability and repetition.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Rush Limbaugh’s cherry-picked montages? You take that as evidence of something important? Explains a lot.

      Here is something that you seem not to know – the RNC, most politicians, and all major corporations issue press releases as well. All the time. It is how they all try to shape reporting. It is not just the DNC. And no “cabal” required.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. RE: “This is not new.”

      Limbaugh’s montages are an interesting case; Tucker Carlson runs the same drill pretty regularly. I don’t know how to account for the exact duplication of repetitious key word phrases, so I fall back on the cabal hypothesis. Consider, for example, this statement David Rockefeller made to the Trilateral Commission in 1991:

      “We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications. . .[for] their promises of discretion for almost forty years. . . [t]he work is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a World Government. . . The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”

      It is not central to WSJ’s argument, but I think the editors are being disingenuous when they say, “there are no organized calls or Zoom meetings.” In a world of linked computer networks, there wouldn’t have to be.


      1. As Len pointed out, wire reports form pool reporters feed MOST of the reporting we see and hear. That does NOT make it a cabal; it makes it the use of the same sources for expediency’s sake.

        Not to mention that the media has been losing credibility since Walter Cronkite retired. Some of that loss is earned. A lot of it is because of right wing MSM claiming the other sources are in it together.

        Liked by 1 person

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