Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker delivers yet another entry in the “my hands are clean” school of journalism. An article of faith of the genre is to view Trump as “one of those phenomena that rise regularly in history to confound us with the possibility—and black comedy—of potent evil: conscienceless, cruel and pathologically dishonest.” But at the same time, Gopnik insists, “there is no explaining Trump . . . Overexploiting (his) rise is as foolish as pretending that it can be easily defeated.”
What Gopnik and the “liberal minded folks” he blithely subsumes within the pronoun “we” are incapable of facing up to is what they likely know to be the explanation. That’s because doing so would require them to look in the mirror. Were they to do so, they would see, staring back at them, their role in the destruction of countless communities through neoliberal policies which they, the New Yorker, the New York Times, NPR etc. enthusiastically endorsed as did the candidate they are now promoting as an embodiment of “liberal values”. As is typical of the genre, Gopnik omits the prefix which prevents him from accurately categorizing Clinton as she is: no liberal at all, rather an iconic NEOliberal.
While there was plenty to criticize about previous generations of middlebrow intellectuals in the pages of the New Yorker, when push came to shove they were able to come to terms with a basic truth contained in W.H. Auden’s frequently cited line: “Those to whom evil is done do evil in return.”
It’s probably too much to hope that the Gopniks, Packers, Remnicks and others in the “agenda setting” journalistic caste will have the intellectual honesty, self-discipline or decency to experience a come to Jesus moment any time soon. And it’s depressing to have to endure their stench from being on the same side of the barricades with them.
But that’s only for the next week. After then, they are almost certain to return to their role as apologists for neoliberal atrocities implemented within the Clinton II regime-representatives of a professional managerial class politics which has much to answer for-up to and including Donald Trump.