Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Lieberman Narrative

Most of the opinion press outside the state reporting on Connecticut politicians is an echo chamber.

If someone from, say, the New York Observer wants the inside dope on Joe Lieberman – who, truthfully, is as predictable as the rising and setting of the sun – he will call one of his comrades in Connecticut’s press. That comrade will refer him to Bill Curry.

Curry, aggregating data on Lieberman from a dozen liberal sources, will say something like this: “I do believe that if he runs for re-election in Connecticut (in 2012), it will be as a Republican. He never loses the capacity to shock. It is just so contemptuous of the president, who let him back into the caucus and the chairmanship.”

Curry’s notion will be picked up by the local press, and it will be repeated in multiple stories.

This is the way narratives are made.

And a good narrative is the blade gleaming in the guillotine. Once a narrative gets into a liberal reporter’s head it is unshakable. It becomes the pivot point around which stories gravitate, the way the planets move catlike around the sun.

This is what makes political commentary in the state so predictable and mind numbingly boring: No one seems disposed to say anything fresh or unorthodox. As in Medieval times, the penalty for disturbing the universe is exile. Once you are outside the club, the price of admission is to fall in with the crowd. Journalism, here and elsewhere, is 10 per cent thought, 90 percent repetition.
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