January 17, 2011
Kevin MacDonald's Daily Show Adventure
By Kevin MacDonald
Jared Taylor just had a nice column at VDARE.com on his adventures following absolutely groundless news reports that Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner was linked to Taylor’s American Renaissance. His account says a lot about how Political Correctness is enforced in the media. Politico, having eagerly picked up the story that Loughner was linked to AR, happily agreed to run Taylor’s account of how he stood up to the smear. But his article was pulled, just after Taylor sent the following description of AR at her request to Politico Opinion Editor Allison Silver [Email her]:
“My magazine takes a conservative position on race and immigration and argues that diversity of the kind we are supposed to be celebrating is a weakness for the country, not a strength.”
Silver claimed that “there has been too much of a time lag”. Taylor comments sarcastically:
“We really do live in fast-moving times, don’t we? A story can go from ‘fascinating’ and ‘swell’ to stale news in less than 12 hours. Or even from ‘Got it, thanks!’ to stale news in a little over an hour.”
A strikingly similar thing happened to me last summer, during the Elena Kagan SCOTUS confirmation process.
I got an email from Miles Kahn, [Email him] a producer of The Daily Show, inviting me to go to New York to film an interview with Samantha Bee, one of the show’s reporters.
It was a tough decision—several people I asked said it was a bad idea. Ms. Bee is famous for skewering unwary interviewees, as in this bit on “A San Antonio good Samaritan [who] uses camera-mounted rifle technology to allow disabled hunters to shoot live exotic animals via the Internet”. And, of course, the show gets to edit the interview. (On the advice of a friend, I asked to tape the interview myself, but—perhaps significantly—Kahn refused.) Still, I eventually agreed, perhaps on the theory that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
So I flew across the country, at The Daily Show’s expense, showed up at The Daily Show studio on the far west side of Manhattan at 9:00AM for what would be a 3-hour session that would be later cut to fit the format. Ms. Bee, the “always pregnant lady”, was very pregnant with her third child at the time—probably a record for well-off White career women in New York. I was tempted to congratulate her for being a paragon of White fertility but restrained myself. Kahn sat in with us.
The ostensible reason for the interview: I had written some blogs on the Elena Kagan nomination, which was a particular obsession of mine (see here, here, here, here, here, and here.) Main theme: How can someone with absolutely no scholarly qualifications or any other relevant experience get nominated to the highest court in the land? Answer: Ethnic networking. Two other blogs dealt with the Kagan nomination as a symptom of the decline of WASP America (see here and here). This point (which had been separately albeit blandly raised in some MSM commentary) was to be the focus of the interview. It just goes to show you that you never know who is reading your stuff!
Quite a bit of the interview was on how Justice John Paul Stevens, whose retirement occasioned Kagan’s nomination, exemplifies the pathologies of WASP America: The ultimate non-ethnic actor. I thought I might as well get something out of my trip to New York, so I subsequently posted my interview notes on my Occidental Observer webzine: John Paul Stevens as Prototypical WASP Main theme: Stevens was principled to a fault, and he is naïve to think that non-Whites are as principled as he is. I wrote:
“Stevens and [David] Souter are naive. Their devotion to ideas and principle along with similar attitudes of a very large number of like-minded Whites will cast a long, deadly shadow as we head into the future. All the research shows that ethnically divided societies are prone to conflict and have less of a civic sense — for example, people in ethnically divided societies are less likely to contribute to public goods like health care. The new elite is much more likely to act out their historical grudges against the White majority than to uphold WASP ideals. Ethnicity matters.” [VDARE.com links added]
Of course, it could be said that Kagan is principled too—the principle being “Is it good for the Jews?”—but that’s a whole other ballgame.
I added another detail in my interview with Bee that somehow never got into my other writing on Kagan. After managing to get tenure at the prestigious University of Chicago Law School with almost no publications, Kagan went to work for the Clinton administration. After failing to be confirmed as a judge on the U.S. District Court of Appeals, she tried to return to her tenured position at the University of Chicago, but was rejected because of her lack of commitment to scholarship.
Kagan then got a non-tenured visiting professor position at Harvard—a very low rung on the academic totem pole (although admittedly a pretty prestigious pole). But shortly thereafter, she miraculously became dean of Harvard Law, as a result of the actions of someone whose Jewish identity and commitment have never been a secret—as New York Magazine’s Jason Zengerle put it[(Judging Kagan, May 14, 2010]: “Were it not for [Larry] Summers [who had worked with her in the Clinton Administration], she would probably be grading law-school finals right now rather than prepping for her Senate confirmation hearings.”
To paraphrase Mel Brooks’ line, it’s good to have Jewish connections.
A memorable moment in our interview of the decline of the WASPs was when I informed Bee that Ralph Lauren (ne Lifshitz) is Jewish. Apparently this was news to her and she pretended to start sobbing uncontrollably. I apologized for shattering her illusions!
After the Kagan-Stevens thing, the interview veered into unexpected territory. Kahn was busy passing questions to Bee on a whole range of topics. I talked about Jewish media influence, Bee joking “you should see what it’s like around here!” Shades of Rick Sanchez! (The Daily Show’s star, Jon Stewart, was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz).
After another note from Kahn, Bee asked me what American Jews should do. I answered that the first thing they should do is stop supporting massive non-White immigration.
Ms. Bee seemed surprised that I was not a WASP—that I grew up Catholic in a small city in Wisconsin. There seemed to be an effort to get me to say bad things about the WASPs I had known.
But my general message was that what did in the WASPs were the traits like moral idealism so characteristic of John Paul Stevens — not exactly the image that plays well in the media. I told them that I always thought that I could have become part of the WASP club myself if I had just decided to take up golf and get a job where I would make a bit more money than college professors make. In sociology-speak, the boundaries separating me from them were permeable. Indeed, one of my childhood friends was a wealthy Catholic who was well ensconced in the local country club WASP milieu.
I was asked about anti-WASP movies, the classic being Caddyshack where WASPs are depicted as snobbish, dishonest, vain, pompous, dim-witted, and sexually repressed. I forgot to mention that our local Jewish surgeon (there were maybe two Jewish families in town) was also a member of the local country club scene—but he behaved nothing like the Rodney Dangerfield character in Caddyshack.
I was also asked about my affiliation with American Third Position party. I kept reiterating the point that everyone has ethnic interests and that people who don’t have a sense of ethnic identity and interests will simply lose out to those that do—a knockdown argument if ever there was one. Bee paraphrased the argument as urging Whites to “get in the game”. Sounds like a good slogan for A3P!
I was told that the piece would run in a week or two. But nothing happened. Eventually, Kagan was officially confirmed. Not long after, Kahn sent me an email saying “I wanted to let you know that due to circumstances beyond my control, the piece featuring your interview won't be airing. I'm so sorry we weren't able to feature it, but this happens from time to time.”
Of course, one never really knows why the interview wasn’t aired. Maybe it genuinely was no longer topical. But my taping in New York was in early July. Kagan was confirmed in early August. It’s hard to believe that The Daily Show normally wastes so much time. It’s daily, isn’t it?
But the suspicion must be that, as with Politico and Jared Taylor, the senior media honchos do not want discussions of race, White identity and interests, or Jewish influence in a way that gets outside the box of Political Correctness.
Lower-ranking MSM operatives apparently don’t always get this message, but they are brought up pretty sharply.
The only exceptions are Archie Bunker types who can be easily skewered. I have no doubt whatever that, if I had come across to Bee and Kahn (and their superiors) as a nut case, the interview would have been aired.
And of course, from MSM point of view, they are absolutely right. The greatest power of the MSM is the power to define the boundaries of acceptable political discussion. The ideas I was expressing must be seen as espoused only by people who are uneducated, criminal and/or mad. Hence the fervent desire to find that Jared Lee Loughner had ties to White advocacy.
Until this intellectual monopoly is broken—as the internet is to some extent doing—there will be no movement on big issues like immigration, especially legal immigration.
And anti-White organizations will continue to have the doomsday weapon: being able to end careers with charges of “racism” and “anti-Semitism” simply for writing or saying things that are well-thought out, reasonable, and factually-based—but beyond the pale.
The good news for me: it was a learning experience in how the media elite works.
And I greatly enjoyed dinner with supportive friends on the night before the interview. They can’t take that away from me.
Kevin MacDonald [email him] is professor of psychology at California State University–Long Beach and a frequent contributor to The Occidental Observer. For his website, click here.