Mencken’s Birthday: He’d have hated today’s elite MSM – UPDATED

So, today is the birthday of H. L. Mencken, the journalist who once wrote stuff like this:

All successful newspapers are ceaselessly querulous and bellicose. They never defend anyone or anything if they can help it; if the job is forced on them, they tackle it by denouncing someone or something else.

and…

A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier.

and…

It is the fundamental theory of all the more recent American law…that the average citizen is half-witted, and hence not to be trusted to either his own devices or his own thoughts.

I’ve always thought phrase-turning misanthropes make the best journalists, and Mencken was such a one — ultimately beholden to no ideology but his own, which made him a mostly useful and trustworthy newsman.

As we look around the today’s awful headlines, I can’t help but think that Mencken must be spinning in his grave to see statist-sympathies of the modern mainstream press, or marveling as they try to purposely re-write the timeline of a bad day in order to protect their quarterback and distract the public from serious questions about our governmental responses to the most recent crisis in the Middle East.

The press politicizes — because it can no longer help itself — even as it cries “politicizing is bad” to one side but never the other.

Roll over, Mencken, roll over in that grave. Although, he might have appreciated some of this piece.

I wonder what Christopher Hitchens would be saying the story, and the way the press has covered it, while the president seemed rather perfunctory on the way to his next campaign stop, today.

Somehow I don’t think Mencken or Hitchens would have put the Embassy stories on page A4 of the New York Times.

Last night, I told someone that I really don’t blame Obama for being Obama, nor for his administration for being what it is: a political entity unable to quickly produce coherent statements on breaking stories. If there are no core beliefs to draw on quickly, you need time to politically calculate and strategize. But I do blame the press for letting him be Obama, and his administration to be calculating, without anything like accountability, investigation or discomfiture. Our idolizing press has stopped serving the country in order to serve the state. But only while there is a D in the White House. It will take putting an R back in there to get them to do their damn jobs.

UPDATE I: A grim piece in Wired, about the lead-up to the Embassy Attack:

On Tuesday, Sean Smith, a Foreign Service Information Management Officer assigned to the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, typed a message to the director of his online gaming guild: ”Assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures.” The consulate was under siege, and within hours, a mob would attack, killing Smith along with three others, including the U.S. ambassador.

UPDATE II: Tim Dalrymple: Breaks down what appears to have been the impetus for this latest crisis, and notes that the Mainstream Media is apparently demonizing someone wholly uninvolved with it. A different question: Was this a revenge attack unrelated to the story the MSM is pushing?

UPDATE III: Wow. Apparently “understanding the religion you hate” is the new criterion for free speech. That’s gonna be a problem for a lot of Christian-haters.

UPDATE IV: US Press Utterly Dissolves Itself and Twitter lets them have it

UPDATE V: A Hot Mic catches reporters co-ordinating Romney questions. Most important question to them: don’t you regret your remarks? Unreal. They tell us what matters most.

Related:
Obama to Israel:
you’re on your own. Maybe we all are. Obama’s sole focus, just now, seems to be the campaign trail.

Ann Althouse on the farcical nature of press, today

Bookworm: wonders about free speech while a Patheos writer in the Muslim portal says she’s tired of unhinged behavior in reaction to crappy videos.

Instapundit links within some deserved criticism for the press. Thanks, Glenn!

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About Elizabeth Scalia