Republican party fracturing. Calling the Trumptards the 'anti-intellectuals'
of the Republican party
Buckley, the founder of the National Review, who died in 2008, was hailed in his day as "arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States." Giving an award in his name to Hannity -- a pugnacious talk radio host who has shared conspiracy theories on his popular cable news show -- had caused hand wringing among some conservatives.
It also caused distress among Buckley's family -- in particular his only child, best-selling author Christopher Buckley.
A source familiar with the situation tells CNN that Christopher Buckley "expressed great dismay" at the announcement that the award would go to Hannity, who has spent a great deal of time insulting conservative intellectuals on Twitter, particularly since he became a strong supporter of Donald Trump.
Related: Fox News' Sean Hannity calls colleague Shep Smith 'so anti-Trump'
Buckley, sources say, called the Media Research Center and expressed his disapproval. Sources tell CNN that the MRC acquiesced and will no longer give the award to him. Hannity has since been removed from the gala website.
Sources tell CNN that the MRC leadership discussed ways to allow Hannity to save face by acting as if a scheduling conflict would prevent him from accepting the award.
"It's my understanding there was a scheduling conflict," Ryan Moy, a spokesman for the MRC, told CNN.
A source familiar with the situation tells CNN that Christopher Buckley said of the concocted scheduling excuse: "perhaps Mr. Hannity has been offered the Ronald Reagan Great Communicator Award on the same evening and had decided to leverage upwards."
The MRC's founder, Brent Bozell, is William F. Buckley's nephew.
Through a Fox News Channel spokesperson, Hannity said he is unable to attend the event that night and be there in person to accept the award.
After the initial announcement by MRC that Hannity would receive the media award, many conservative writers and intellectuals expressed dismay. Perhaps most notably, conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens wrote an entire column about it, decrying the move as evidence of an overall trend towards anti-intellectualism among the conservative movement.
"If we have reached the point where rank-and-file conservatives see nothing amiss with giving Hannity an award named for Buckley, then surely there's a Milton Friedman Prize awaiting Steve Bannon for his insights on free trade," Stephens wrote. "The floor's the limit. Or, in Hannity's case, the crawl space beneath it."
Hannity's response, in part, was to tweet to Stephens: "I'll say to you and the @nytimes (Fake News) I do not care what u think."
lmao @ giving Hannity a intellectual award for media excellence
thank God the intelligent Republicans are anti Trump
On the subject of cycles, Warren Buffett likes to talk about “the natural progression, the three I’s.” As he put it to Charlie Rose in 2008, those I’s are “the innovators, the imitators and the idiots.” One creates, one enhances — and one screws it all up. Then, presumably, the cycle starts afresh.
Buffett was describing the process that led to the 2008 housing and financial crises. But he might as well have been talking about the decline of the conservative movement in America.
I was reminded of this again last week, on news that the Fox News host Sean Hannity will receive the William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence later this year at a gala dinner in Washington, D.C. As honors go, neither the award nor the organization bestowing it — the Media Research Center — is particularly noteworthy.
But sometimes symbolism is more potent than fact. If we have reached the point where rank-and-file conservatives see nothing amiss with giving Hannity an award named for Buckley, then surely there’s a Milton Friedman Prize awaiting Steve Bannon for his insights on free trade. And maybe Sean Spicer can receive the Vaclav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent for his role in exposing “fake news.” The floor’s the limit.
Or, in Hannity’s case, the crawl space beneath it.
In 1950, Lionel Trilling wrote that there were no conservative ideas “in general circulation,” only “irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.” By the time Trilling died 25 years later the opposite was true: The only consequential ideas at the time were conservative, while it was liberalism that had been reduced to an irritable mental gesture.
This was largely Buckley’s doing. Through National Review, his magazine, he gave a hidden American intelligentsia a platform to develop conservative ideas. Through “Firing Line,” his TV show, he gave an unsuspecting American public a chance to sample conservative wit. Not all of the ideas were right, but they were usually smart. And as they evolved, they went in the right direction.
Buckley “learned to free himself of views that had come to him by the circumstances of his background that he concluded ran counter to values he cherished,” notes Alvin Felzenberg in his superb new biography, “A Man and His Presidents.” Buckley shed isolationism, segregationism and anti-Semitism, and insisted the conservative movement do likewise. Over 50 years as the gatekeeper of conservative ideas, he denounced the inverted Marxism of Ayn Rand, the conspiracy theories of Robert Welch (founder of the John Birch Society) and the white populism of George Wallace and Pat Buchanan.
Newsletter Sign Up
Continue reading the main story
Sign Up for the Opinion Today Newsletter
Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.
You agree to receive occasional updates and special offers for The New York Times's products and services.
In March 2000, he trained his sights on “the narcissist” and “demagogue” Donald Trump. “When he looks at a glass, he is mesmerized by its reflection,” he wrote in a prophetic short essay in Cigar Aficionado. “The resistance to a corrupting demagogy,” he warned, “should take first priority” for Americans.
Buckley died in 2008. The conservatism he nourished was fundamentally literary: To play a significant part in it you had to know how to write, and in order to write well you had to read widely, and in order to do that you had to, well, enjoy reading. In hindsight, 2008, the year of Sarah Palin, was also the year when literary conservatism went into eclipse.
Suddenly, you didn’t need to devote a month to researching and writing a 7,000-word critique of Obama administration’s policy on, say, Syria to be taken seriously as a conservative foreign-policy expert. You just needed to mouth off about it for five minutes on “The O’Reilly Factor.” For books there were always ghostwriters; publicity on Fox ensured they would always top The Times’s best-seller lists.
Influence ceased to be measured by respectability — op-eds published in The Wall Street Journal; keynotes delivered to the American Enterprise Institute — and came to be measured by ratings. The quality of an idea could be tested not by its ability to withstand scrutiny from experts, but by the willingness of people to swallow it.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that a post-literate conservative world should have been so quick to embrace a semi-literate presidential candidate. Nor, in hindsight, is it strange that, with the role Buckley once played in maintaining conservative ideological hygiene retired, the ideas he expunged should have made such a quick and pestilential comeback.
Thus, when Hannity peddles conspiracy theories about Seth Rich, the young Democratic National Committee staffer murdered in Washington last year, that’s an echo of John Birch. When fellow Fox host Tucker Carlson — who once aspired to be the next Buckley and now aims to be the next Ann Coulter — tries to reinvent himself as the tribune of the working class, he’s speaking for the modern-day George Wallace voter. Isolationism is already back, thanks to Trump. Anti-Semitism can’t be far behind, either, and not just on the alt-right.
And so we reach the Idiot stage of the conservative cycle, in which a Buckley Award for Sean Hannity suggests nothing ironic, much less Orwellian, to those bestowing it, applauding it, or even shrugging it off. The award itself is trivial, but it’s a fresh reminder of who now holds the commanding heights of conservative life, and what it is that they think.
In the financial world, we know how this stage ended for investors, not to mention the rest of the country. The political right might consider that a similar destiny awaits.
Re: Republican party fracturing. Calling the Trumptards the 'anti-intellectuals'
Originally Posted by NumberSix
No, because he's an actual scumbag.
There are plenty of anti Trump Republicans that are perfectly credible, reasonable people. Bret Stephens isn't one of them.
who? because i'd swear the trumptards, the pro Trump media, and the WH do their best to discredit and bash anyone that isn't pro Trump. whether its Comey, Mueller, the chiefs of every intel agency we have or have had, every media outlet other than Fox news, etc. i can't think of anyone u Trump supporters are okay with that is critical of Trump
thats the shill brainwashing u all are inundated with. its this idea if you're not with us you're against us and doing your best to attack and discredit everyone that isn't religiously loyal to Trump. its a joke really how unrealistic a lot of u are. i mean how can every media outlet be fake other than Fox? thats right they just hate Trump for no reason and push fake news with their liberal bias. all but one of them..
nobody makes up their own reality more than u guys. but again thats why y'all are called the 'anti intellectuals' by those in your own party. many of them being the old guard of Republicans that aren't the new age Trumptards based around the internet.
i would love to know who specifically you're okay with that is critical of Trump and take their words seriously. since all u guys do is pretend they're all liberally bias full of fake news. life-long respected Republicans are discredited by u all which is pretty laughable TBH.
Re: Republican party fracturing. Calling the Trumptards the 'anti-intellectuals'
Originally Posted by Patrick Chewing
I'm getting my dick sucked right now by some Asian bitch. Get off my nuts and leave your basement.
we all know thats a lie tho
especially considering how much time u spend on ISH you're not meeting any bitches anywhere a lot of u Trumptards are here 24/7 TBH. interestingly enough more than most other ISH posters all hours of the day too. but i swear being a Trumptard is a internet hipster movement to a large degree which is why a lot of the trolls across the internet are so pro Trump so its not surprising i guess .