Such dangerous behavior could be triggered by any number of future public events

Quote of the Day for Monday, January 17th, 2011:

Call it a parting shot (!) on the Great Tucson Media Meltdown of 2011. This is former Washington Times Editor in Chief, Tony Blankley, commenting over at National Review Online:

Because even though the Tucson shooting did not cause the media irresponsibility — this time — continued media misreporting and bias is now so ingrained that such dangerous behavior could be triggered by any number of future public events.

Now is the time for us all to pause, and consider how the working members of the media can live with their biased liberalism — yet not allow it to permeate their work and undercut the political dialogue and political process that is the foundation of our democracy.

Indeed, it may well be the case that the now institutional failure of the mainstream media to do its job with reasonable objectivity may itself be the cause of the incivility in political dialogue. Without an objective umpire in the political debate, the players are forced to shout louder and louder so that their interpretation of the state of play on the field can be heard by the fans. But political incivility is a topic for some future discussion. Now is the moment for the nation assembled to try to come to terms with the tragic failure of the media to report objectively about political incivility.

As incomprehensible as this insight undoubtedly is to most of the educated class in our country, I couldn’t agree more with Blankley’s observation that the truly important lesson the nation should be taking from the tragedy in Tucson is the threat to sound public order posed by the depraved state of the mainstream media – the gatekeepers of public opinion. I take it as given that Blankley is mocking his compatriots here with his foray into the silly-world of fretting over “incivility,” but I also assume that his overarching assertion is serious. He’s damn right.

In particular, he’s right about the media’s role as umpire. This is likewise one of the reasons why a just order requires that  the state limit its activity in commerce, education, healthcare, and every other sphere that is not strictly governmental: when the arbiter has a stake in outcomes, the process is severely compromised and invariably corrupted, and there is no place left for the wronged to seek redress using institutional means. That spells trouble.

The Fourth Estate wields far too much power in modern society for good men and women to give silent assent to its moral decay. We seriously need to have a public discussion in this country about the grave state of the mass media.

HT to Ed Morrisey over at