Blood in the salons

The BBC's Justin Webb is right to wonder today what the fall-out would be like if Obama should lose:

Should the famously bad finisher finish famously badly next Tuesdaythere will be scenes of mayhem - not just on the streets but in the salons as well; in fact the latter will be bloodier.

Exactly. In spite of my utter distaste for the McCain-Palin ticket, I have to admit that a Republican victory next week would be ever-so-slightly amusing. The left have worked themselves into such a moral frenzy in this election that the blood will indeed flow in the salons if the unimaginable happens and Obama loses. The problem is that the American left exists now in such an intellectually isolated and holier-than-thou cultural environment that it has become the most combustible force in American politics. Indeed, even if Obama is elected (as he will be), there be scenes of bloody mayhem in the salons when he fails to bring the troops back from Iraq or hots up the war against the Taliban on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

My big concern is that the morally pure left and the right in the American media have become indistinguishable. As John Gapper explains in this morning's FT, the Drudge factor has reshaped the American liberal media so that the Huffington Post has become the liberal mirror-image of the Drudge Report (even Arianna confesses to have designed her site on Drudge principles), while MSNBC's Rachel Maddow is a highly paid stupid leftist version of Fox's highly paid stupid conservative Bill O'Reilly. As Gapper said, "the center is no longer holding" and all we have left is an echo chamber of ill-informed, limousine radicals whipping up more and more hysteria in both old and new media. Gapper is wrong, though, to compare what is happening in America media to developments in the Britain:

It looks familiar enough to a British journalist: this is Fleet Street. It is what happens when you get intense competition among different media outlets, all seeking to play on (and pander to) the audience’s sympathies and biases.

The difference between Fleet Street and the American left-liberal blogosphere is that in the UK most journalists know that all the ideological pandering is a game while in America it is viewed with the deadliest earnestness. In Britain, the salons are for drinking and sex (in that order); in America, in contrast, the salons are full of people who are so greedy for virtue that they think they are right about everything all of the time.