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The Ezra Klein School of Journalism

Yesterday, Ezra Klein launched a broadside against Roger Cohen and other liberal interventionists for writing things that he doesn’t like. More specifically, raising Klein’s ire is that Cohen expresses consternation at the fact that he, a bona-fide liberal who also … Read More

By / October 5, 2007

Yesterday, Ezra Klein launched a broadside against Roger Cohen and other liberal interventionists for writing things that he doesn’t like. More specifically, raising Klein’s ire is that Cohen expresses consternation at the fact that he, a bona-fide liberal who also happens to have thought the Iraq war was necessary and supports liberal intervention more generally, and others like him are so often slandered as "neo-con." This is nothing new, of course; for some years now anyone–irrespective of their positions on any assortment of issues–will be called a "neo-con" by the usual suspects if they deviate from a very specific set of talking points when it comes to foreign affairs.   Here is the essence of what Klein has to say:  

American politics isn’t about you. It’s not about your ideas, or your personal vision of the world, or your purity (emphasis mine).

The post needs to be read in its entirety to understand the full measure of Klein’s chilling demand for intellectual conformity. This is really not that different, not different at all, from the way in which American communist writers, artists and activists behaved during the years of the Popular Front and thereafter, taking orders directly from Moscow. Klein writes:

And until Roger Cohen’s foreign policy vision integrates itself with an understanding of American power, and how ideas interact with the current administration, he is, effectively, a neoconservative, or, worse, an enabler of the neoconservatives who’s able to advocate for their policy agenda without needing to answer for their failures.

Just replace every instance of "neoconservative" with "capitalist," and it’s like a screed from Monthly Review circa 1947.

I can understand this militant demand for ideological conformity coming from Klein; he, after all, writes for a publication with a political spectrum spanning all the way from Robert Reich on the right to Robert Kuttner on the left. But journalists–actual ones, that is, not left-wing hacks like Ezra Klein–are not beholden to parties, ideologies or individual politicians. The only ones worth reading are those who stand for themselves and their principles, not those of some Popular Front. Anyone else is just a propagandist.

 

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