A ‘race to the bottom’

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Some of you may remember the story of New York Times staffer Bari Weiss who made a very public departure from the paper in 2020.

She posted her resignation letter online; in it, she said the Times’ stories “are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions.”

That, of course, confirmed what conservatives had long thought about that newspaper in particular and media in general. But to be clear, Ms. Weiss is no righty.

According to the Washington Post, she “portrays herself as a liberal uncomfortable with the excesses of left-wing culture.” She has described herself as a “left-leaning centrist.”

She now has an online newsletter called Common Sense (bariweiss.substack.com). Its site says the aim is to serve the “tens of millions of American who aren’t on the hard left or the hard right who feel that the world has gone mad. Science is at the mercy of politics. Identity trumps ideas. In the name of progress, art is erased and history is rewritten. Obvious truths are dangerous to say out loud.”

Lots of us can relate to all of that.

I bring up Ms. Weiss because she wrote a compelling piece Tuesday on the previous night’s Supreme Court leak about the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade. I hope she doesn’t mind me swiping the following passage for your benefit:

“Perhaps some of you feel that the institution [the Court] had already been betrayed. That the Court, long before this leak or this explosive decision, had already been diminished. Maybe the refusal to consider Merrick Garland put you over the edge. Or maybe it was the revelations about Clarence Thomas’s wife and January 6th. Or maybe it was the Kavanaugh hearings. How he was grilled. Or that he was nominated. Or maybe it was earlier: Bush v. Gore or Anita Hill or Robert Bork.

“This feels different than all of that. Why? Because all of those other instances were moments of outrage bookended by long periods of sobriety and seriousness. They were the exceptions that proved the rule. Now, everything seems to have been turned upside down, and the outrage, the uncontrollable or unslakable partisan fury, seems to have overtaken everything. Our sense of history, our respect for the institution, for norms, for even more basic human things: like trust, devotion, privacy, integrity. Jonathan Turley put it this way late last night: ‘There appears no ethical rule or institutional interest that can withstand this age of rage.’

“To the jaded and hardened who have already crossed over into this new age — an age in which power and winning are the only tests of virtue, and the old ideas, like civility and respect, now seem twee [or quaint] — the leak might seem normal or even necessary. But it is nothing more than the most recent salvo in our race to the bottom.”

•••

Citizens Against Government Waste named Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, as April Porker of the Month “for claiming he has secured $683 million in pork-barrel earmarks.”

As the watchdog group reported, “Sen. Shelby is retiring at the end of this term and seems to have no problem burdening American taxpayers … with expensive and wasteful earmarks. Some of his eye-popping requests include $200 million for the Port of Mobile and $100 million for Mobile’s airport.

Said CAGW President Tom Schatz, “It is despicable that [Shelby] has requested the most earmarks of any member of Congress on his way out of the door.”

Contact Bart Adams
at badams@mydailyrecord.com.

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