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The new reign of the imperious slay queen

January 28, 2021 - 11:12am

We’re about to be reminded how sycophantic the country’s journalists are towards those in power. Credit: LA Times

Today marks the anniversary of Charlemagne, King of the Franks and the first of the barbarians monarchs to be crowned Emperor of the West in Rome. Charlemagne helped create the medieval and modern world in so many ways, one of which was to sacrilise kingship. The proto-Germanic word kuningaz had once been far less majestic — closer to “chief” — but increasingly the role of monarch would have a sacred quality.

It’s why people once believed the king might cure with his touch, why you don’t kill the king in chess, and why Shakespeare’s great tragedy of 15th century England is about a nation drenched in blood because it committed the ultimate crime — regicide.

Such ideas seem absurd to us in the democratic age, and yet the human desire to place our fellow humans above us is deep and, paradoxically, more common in republics.

And now that the American media’s Heel-in-Chief has finally gone, we’re about to be reminded just how sycophantic the country’s journalists are towards those in power, and how much they desire a king or, at least, a Slay Queen. For example this, from the LA Times, is the sort of thing one associates with an authoritarian monarchy or dictatorship, rather than a republic with an ancient constitution.

A republic has no figurehead to attract feelings of love and loyalty, but then this sort of kowtowing is relatively new to American politics, perhaps part of a wider decline in republicanism. Barack Obama was treated with unprecedented reverence by both American and European journalists. For eight years there wasn’t a single joke about the US president on British television (as far as I remember), a level of respect once reserved for monarchs or religious figures.

After four years of Trump-led rancour and psychodrama, it’s easy to forget how grotesque this sycophancy got. The American journalist John Harris, referring to his time at the Washington Post, later said:

“You would send a reporter out with Obama, and it was like they needed to go through detox when they came back — ‘Oh, he’s so impressive, he’s so charismatic,’ and we’re kind of like, ‘Down, boy.’”
- John Harris, CNN

It was sometimes embarrassing to watch, and led to a huge fall in trust towards the media from 2008, and the further spread of media ghettos. And this distrust is well-earned; on more than occasion during the Trump era journalists would express outrage over some Third Reich-like policy of the Republican administration, only for someone to point out it had already been in place under Obama, except no one had bothered to report it.

Although journalists now veer more to the Left than they did in the late 20th century, I’m inclined to agree with Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s argument that journalists tend to be conformist because they’re obsessed with popularity — but in doing so, many have become courtiers.

So, looking forward to four years of holding truth to power: yaass, slay queen.


Ed West’s book Tory Boy is published by Constable

edwest

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Peter Scott
PS
Peter Scott
3 years ago

Journalists across the western democracies have mostly become shills for the Common Purpose oriented ruling class.

One motive is that they agree with its priorities; another is that at the national media level they are part of that ruling class.

Hence the incredible overblown hysteria that has characterised their treatment of Donald Trump ever since he announced his candidature for President and began to win primaries on the way to the White House. Hence the sycophancy to Hillary Clinton and, still more, Barack Obama; but the complete lack of devotion when a certain amount of power belonged to Mr Trump.

One factor in all of this is that editors (of broadcast programmes, press publications) are owned by big corporate interests, and they, the editors, in turn require from their journos 24/7 propaganda on behalf of the Globalist, no-borders, mass immigration &c priorities of the puppeteers who manage them.

Another factor is that many younger journalists are now wonderfully uneducated persons – like their contemporaries at large, and thanks to the near-complete takeover of education in the Occident by the ‘Liberal’ Left (actually totalitarian nihilists).

A third is that they are as lazy as schools and colleges have allowed/taught them to be (as a life principle). President Obama’s own right-hand man Ben Rhodes has spoken with utter scorn of the Press Corps in Washington DC during his time there; how they hardly knew anything about Cairo and its politics; would lap up everything he fed them; and had done no reporting other than political campaigns.

Yet another is that so many journalists at that level now are in bed (literally as well as metaphorically) with the politicians and lobbyists of the Swamp capitals. They network and schmooze with each other, in many cases intermarry with each other’s families.

For the most part (there are a very few honourable exceptions) the national media in the West have become a moral omnishambles

steve eaton
SE
steve eaton
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Hear! Hear!

Alex Lekas
AL
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

the media has become an arm of the DNC. Change my mind. I disagree with Taleb’s argument. It has nothing to do with a desire to be popular; journalism has confused itself with activism. Far too many of practitioners believe their role is telling people what to think. The same cohort that hides behind the first amendment when challenged has become a Ministry of Truth, the type of state media associated with people’s republics.

jill dowling
JD
jill dowling
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Indeed. Look no further than dear old BBC. “Breakfast Brainwash” followed later in the day by “The (selective) truth about stuff we think you should be doing.”

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

As far as i’m concerned the MSM is now just part of the ruling establishment, and has been for some time. This is one of the many reasons why I have totally ceased to fund it in any way. Other reasons include its nepotism, its failure to predict anything accurately, and the fact that almost none of its commentators and broadcasters appear to know anything about anything.

pauls7973
T1
pauls7973
3 years ago

Can Biden-Harris do anything wrong – ever ?
Trump could never ever do anything right, if he did it simply wasn’t mentioned.
Should this continue with everything, but everything being reported as a raging success or not reported at all, then surely America will be aligning with Soviet Russia, China and North Korea.

Peter Scott
PS
Peter Scott
3 years ago
Reply to  pauls7973

The USA is now, in all salient features, a grim mixture of

* Mussolini’s Italy (thugs roaming the streets violently, attacking people and property; which warns all citizens of the fate awaiting dissent)

* Hitler’s Germany: the one time the socially conservative hit back – with their very wrongful but highly provoked attack on the Capitol building – that event (like the burning of the Reichstag 1933) to inaugurate a new era of martial government and purges – tens of thousands of National Guard deployed in Washington in a brute show of force, Lieut-Governor of Pennsylvania wanting all talk of a stolen election forbidden by law….

* Stalin’s Russia: vindictive persecution of anyone who has supported Donald Trump (John Brennan, former CIA CEO and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among other members of Congress drawing up blacklists of people to be cancelled), and

* Mao Tse-Tung’s China: talk of forced political re-education of the thick barbarians who voted for Trump.

Alex Lekas
AL
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

That’s a nice summation. The remarkable thing is how quickly talk of cleansing and deprogramming has become mainstream on the left.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Also too many years of looking inwards saying, “I’m proud to be American.”

pauls7973
T1
pauls7973
3 years ago

I’m still wondering.
Is this what America wants?
I know this is what the voting said but really, is this what America wants – a Green, flat economy and a repressively woke society ?

Alex Lekas
AL
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  pauls7973

I don’t know about wants but it might be what America deserves. We’ve had it so good for so long, able to indulge ourselves in debating first-world problems but, unfortunately, lacking the self-awareness to realize what we were doing. Sometimes, people need to experience bad ideas in order to appreciate that they are bad ideas, and we appear intent on doing this.

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

“Sometimes, people need to experience bad ideas in order to appreciate
that they are bad ideas, and we appear intent on doing this.”

I at least hope that this is true because it appears we are already awash in the bad ideas.

Brian Dorsley
0
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Yes, I think you’re correct. I’ve been a teacher for close to twenty years and one thing I’ve learned is that some people just need to learn the hard way.

rosie mackenzie
RM
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  pauls7973

It is what the rigging said which is not quite the same thing.

Cathy Carron
CC
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  pauls7973

Race activists, supported entirely by Democrats are hellbent on getting it….

pauls7973
pauls7973
3 years ago

Hard to believe that in 21st Century Western democracies we should need, free speech organisations with teams set up to defend the ‘cancelled’.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

‘…journalists tend to be conformist because they’re obsessed with popularity ” but in doing so, many have become courtiers.’

A very apt way of putting this. Kudos to Ed West for writing this.

David Platzer
David Platzer
3 years ago

The only publications worthwhile reading appear to be the New Criterion and Spectator USA and the last borrows from its English parent, America’s history is astoningly close to Ancient Rome’s. Ill-informed commentators in the USA and even, sadly, abroad never stopped shouting that Trump was America;s Hitler which he was not. If anything, he was more like Tiberias Gracchus who led a popular revolt towards the end of the Roman Republic. Whatever Trump’s grotesqueries have already been outdone by Biden and he has already put many workers in his country and Canada out of work by shutting done the Keystone pipeline and offending Canada’s government, as woke as he, by not warning or consulting it. Anyone who dares to question him or others in his party and pointed they are wearing no clothes will be in danger of being persecuted by the domestic terrorism laws the Democrats are preparing. The end of the American republic

jonathan carter-meggs
JC
jonathan carter-meggs
3 years ago

Apart from a few intellectuals and deep thinkers most of the population which includes all journalists,, is incapable of the reasoning or insight to see anything other than what is put in front of their eyes. Lack of experience, especially in the young, compounds the issue. Social media and AI algorithms have free reign over our minds.

Jonathan Barker
JB
Jonathan Barker
3 years ago

Yes algorithims now control much/most/all of the cultural, social and political agendas. See the new book by Carissa Veliz titled Privacy Is Power.
And much of the dreadfully sane population “lives” in the realm of flatland, or what Nicholas Carr described in his 2010 book The Shallows How the internet is changing the way we think, read and remember. Check out his Rough Type website

pauls7973
T1
pauls7973
3 years ago

https://www.youtube.com/wat
Rowan Atkinson’s 2018 speech and nothing has changed, only worsened.

Su Mac
Su Mac
3 years ago

Side note…Reminds me of a fascinating fact I learned from Tom Holland’s Dominon…the name Charlemagne comes from “Charles Le Magne” or Charles The Great

Jacques René Giguère
JG
Jacques René Giguère
3 years ago

You can’t kill the king in chess .Apart that that “checkmate” comes from the Arabic “al sheik al mat” “the king is dead”. But since when do we read Unherd to learn anything?

Jonathan Barker
Jonathan Barker
3 years ago

I agree. Some good things and points are often made on the Unherd website..

But you will seldom find anything which provides you with the comprehensive tools for understanding and navigating your way through the ever increasing chaos created by today,s media, especially social media.

And be deeply beware of anyone justifying their applied politics by appeals to Greatness either of the past or for the “glorious” future – mountains of corpses and oceans of blood will be the inevitable result.