On the formation of a pipeline that drives leftists toward the authoritarian right.
A more interesting, less tired topic would be "how new tendencies of the populist left *are driving* people toward the reactionary right's attention economy." Then, people like Zeeshan might be able to engage in more self-reflection on their contribution to the issue.
I am the textbook reliable but self-hating Democrat who has moved more toward the right since 2016 as I've felt increasingly uncomfortable as the left's development of luxury beliefs, acceptance of fringe academic ideas, and obsession with language and categories. Thinkers like Taibbi and his peers that normally wind up in these grievance takes haven't been the pull strategy - it's the left's transformation that's acted as the push strategy. Taibbi and co. help me better understand and articulate the abstract issues I have that the corporate-partisan media will not, but I wouldn't call that an issue of accepting the warm embrace of ideologues that think as I do.
Telling that Zeeshan drops Matt's critique quickly as ad-hominem. I took it as a quick and bitchy reaction to a lack of self-reflection in the original piece. What am I to make of all the former spooks and warmongers who contribute to the same organization that's trying to convince me people like Glenn Greenwald are the problem? Not one lick addressed in this response; I'm surprised he even posted a link to it.
Finally, I'm calling for a 50:1 ratio engagement to Matt's posting compared to this one. I'm sure the wide difference in length contributes to it, but as someone who works in corporate news marketing, it's definitely an imbalance that causes me concern.
Physician, heal thyself.
This might be the worst piece of writing I've seen from you. You stumble out of the gate and then somehow keep tripping over and over again. Your thesis says this "pipeline" is funneling people from the populist left to the populist right, but there are no surveys, polls, even anecdotes to back up the claim. Eventually your claim feebly fades to "even if it doesn't convert anyone from left to right, it could still do damage by generating cynicism."
Somewhere in the middle of that muddled opening, you refer to Elon Musk, who voted Republican for the first time last year, as right-wing. Calling the trend "anti-lib" populism is another bad choice, since "anti-neolib" would have captured the idea much better.
In the free speech section, you muse about these anti-libs casting liberal media as the biggest threat to free speech, before describing a long list of their bugbears that are *completely* unrelated to liberal media. There are entire paragraphs in this piece that are almost too incomprehensible to respond to. At one point you attempt to smear Taibbi by referencing his "once you start getting handed things, then you've lost" quote, which was about government agents trying to use journalists for their own aims -- not quite the same as a company's new owner blowing the whistle on the company's opaque behaviors. What an odd attempt to connect those things.
Things get even more perplexing when you get into the anti-war section. To claim that the MAGA wing isn't anti-war, you cite border security and militarized police? Don't pull a muscle performing that stretch. Trump showed "appetite" for war by "torpedoing" the Iran deal? You're turning into Stretch Armstrong before our eyes.
Overall, you present this idea that if leftists aren't marching in lockstep, there's a problem. Self-critique is a good thing! There's not enough of it on the political right, but that doesn't mean we should abandon it on the left. The political left is my home, and I'm sick of other people who live here trashing it!
You also have this running theme of guilt by association. If someone dares interview a Bad Person or contribute to a Bad Network or use a platform owned by a Bad Guy, they're embracing the ideas they stand for. This is not how the world works.
It's not that you don't have good points mixed in there. They're just hard to notice buried in such an enormous pile of BS