Friday, November 25, 2022

Thomas Zimmer on the Scourge of "Both Sides" Commentary and the "High Priests of White Dude (Increasingly Reactionary) Centrism"

A pictorial commentary on bothsidesism at Merriam-Webster's "Looking at ‘Bothsidesing’"

In a posting today entitled "The Self-Important Arbiters of Reason and the Scourge of 'Both Sides,'" Parker Molloy features a thread that Thomas Zimmer recently posted on Twitter responding to a tweet by Nate Silver defending "both sides" journalism. Every word Zimmer writes in response to Silver, whom he rightly characterizes as "one of the high priests of white dude (increasingly reactionary) centrism," is just so on target and important that it's difficult to choose sections of his thread to highlight. 

Here are some excerpts — and I encourage you to click and read the entire thread at Molloy's Substack blog or at the Twitter link she provides (I personally am doing all I can not to read anything on Twitter any longer or to link to the site here):

Silver is a key figure in a group of ostensibly liberal pundits who have become widely revered apostles of centrist realignment in American politics. Almost all of them are white men in their late 30s to mid-40s - Silver, Yglesias, Barro, Mounk…

This type of pundit operates from the conviction that he is capable of superior judgment across a wide variety of fields and subjects - from pandemic response to American history, from the climate crisis to how (not) to tackle racism.

These self-proclaimed Arbiters of Reason owe much of their prominent status to the idea that they are unbiased, dispassionate truthtellers, all about data, all about objectivity, brave enough to give us the unvarnished facts in a heroic effort against conventional wisdom.

All of them are increasingly hostile to “the Left,” convinced that the excesses of “woke” liberalism are a real threat, that radical “woke” activists have too much power in the Democratic Party - equivalent to rightwing extremists in the GOP.

Because they believe themselves to be unbiased, they are easily irritated by discourses about race and identity. Whatever puts the emphasis on the fact that they might not be objective Arbiters of Reason, but arguing from a specific white male elite perspective is a threat.

That’s a big part of why these white male pundits are obsessed with pointing out supposed fallacies of leftwing activism and spend much of their energy on scolding “the Left”: To their own elite status, these lefties constitute more of a threat than rightwing authoritarians.

Let’s be skeptical of this industry of ostensibly liberal/moderate/centrist pundits who act like oracles of reason and feel entitled to offer a firm assessment of *anything* - yet all too often just end up judging the world by whether or not it’s in line with their sensibilities.

Amen. A big amen to everything Thomas Zimmer says here. 

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