Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
From across the pond comes the news that Roger Scruton – one of the English speaking world’s most brilliant and accomplished Conservative philosophers, has been booted in disgrace from his unpaid advisory position to the British government as Chairman of the ‘Building Better Building Beautiful Commission.’
The proximate cause is that he gave an interview to a Left-Wing journalist for a Left-Wing publication (the New Statesman) that he used to write for as a wine critic, in which he supposedly made some bigoted comments. He says he was taken out of context … and given that his interviewer George Eaton was photographed swigging a bottle of champagne celebrating his sacking, it’s fairly obvious it was a deliberate hit job.
Which means that, for such a brilliant man, Roger Scruton was remarkably stupid.
The same applies to Victor Davis Hanson – VDH – who was recently left impotently demanding a transcription of his interview with another Left-Wing journalist, Isaac Chotiner, of the Left-Wing New Yorker. After the interview was published, VDH had this to say on his site;
For the record, I recently spoke with @NewYorker’s @IChotiner per his request for a discussion on my recent book. The published piece was “edited and condensed for clarity”; however, the editing was done … in a way that omits the chronological accuracy of our conversation and the vast majority of what was said, which I think is important for purposes of context, tone, and intent—both Mr. Chotiner’s and my own. There are also introductory false accusations of “a history of hostility to undocumented Mexican and Central American immigrants…and to African-Americans who speak about the persistence of racism.” Neither charge is remotely true. If Mr. Chotiner would release an accurate transcription of our “long conversation,” there will appear wide discrepancies in tone, intent, and content from the published interview.
At this point in time, who is surprised that Left-Wing journalists would hack, chop and distort words spoken by conservatives to make them look like bigoted monsters? We saw Charlie Gibson do this to Sarah Palin ten years ago. We saw Katie Couric hack and chop her interview with Second Amendment supporters.
Inspired by Palin’s complaints about what got left on the cutting room floor in 2008, Glenn Reynolds has been saying “Bring your own camera” for more than a decade.
Yet, Conservatives keep giving interviews with no backup plan, trusting journalists who loathe them to be honest and not to misrepresent them, and they keep getting burned. And still they persist, and I simply do not understand why.
How could Scruton possibly have thought any interview given to a Left-Wing journalist working for a Left-Wing publication without his own device recording every second of the interview would be anything but a hit job?
Sadly, today, less than 1 in 10 journalists are honest brokers, and when it comes to Left-Wing journalists, that number falls to about 3 in a 100. So what could have made Scruton think George Eaton was trustworthy?
What could possibly have led Dr. Hanson to think it a safe bet to assume that anyone who writes for the New Yorker is not a slanderer and liar like 99% of them from the editor on down?
I’m not saying one should not speak to liberal journalists – they have the largest microphones.
But if you are a conservative, you need to understand that the overwhelming majority are out to sandbag you and cause material harm to you and your family. They come to your home, smile, shake your hand, and exchange compliments, but in reality, most of them hope to see you ruined and in penury for the rest of your life.
At this point in time, there’s absolutely no reason any Conservative public figure, whether politician, author, academic, blogger or pundit, should agree to any interaction (live, phone, email, etc.) with a Left-Wing journalist without having his own device there to record the whole thing.
Every single smartphone can do this. Witness Avi Yemini capturing Comedy Central’s Jim Jeffries’ mendacity on camera – it’s that simple. So why is this so difficult for folks like Hanson and Scruton? Why would Hanson put himself in a position where he is begging for a transcript from someone who would deliberately slander him?
If the aim is to avoid giving offense, then my advice is to get over it. There’s no cost-benefit analysis that will come out in favor of taking such a huge risk to your reputation simply so as not to be thought rude. Besides, no honest journalist would mind you having your own recording of your conversation.
TLDR: Bring Your Own Damn Camera. Anything less and whatever happens to you is your own damn fault.