Why Are NRO And Heritage Undermining Conservatism’s Future?

March 21, 2011

This is a fine point. I want to be careful so that people understand what I am actually saying and what I am not saying. It isn't about censorship of any kind. It's also not about intolerance for disagreement on issues, or stifling honest debate. It's about using prudent judgment to preserve and encourage smart, genuine conservative thought as would be stewards of it, while not aiding and abetting one's ideological enemies – especially when they are willing to indulge in pathetic gimmicks and practices disguised as debate.

Conn Carroll of the Heritage Foundation regularly appears with Conor Friedersdorf in this bloggingheads TV deal. NRO usually links, or features it as part of their front page. They could do this with a flaming progressive and I wouldn't care. The issue is, Andrew Sullivan's protege, Conor Friedersdorf, clearly mis-labels himself as a conservative, despite repeatedly and viciously attacking some of the best conservatives. I'll point that out.

The heart of the matter is, the New York Times, Kaiser Health News and many others pick it up and distribute it, with Friedersdorf appearing to be an honest spokesperson for some bizarre brand of conservatism, precisely because both Heritage and NRO, among others, lend him their credibility. Yet, the vast majority of the base knows precisely who and what Friedersdorf is. In fact, he often dishonestly attacks those very institutions and their allies disingenuously as a conservative in his other usual forums.

Perhaps they believe they are somehow exposing, or debating him. I would disagree. What they are doing is fostering some next generation of an unhinged and unethical David Brooks on steroids as a legitimate voice of conservativism. I can't for the life of me rationalize that as sound judgment coming from institutions that claim to be champions of conservatism, past, present and, most importantly, future. I'm not saying Friedersdorf shouldn't have a platform, but that, NRO and Heritage should be more responsible in what they do with their own conservative donor-supported platforms.

There are plenty of good, even young serious conservative voices in the blogosphere. I never see these institutions embrace any of them. So, why embrace and ultimately elevate one of the worst?

This (see below) is simply an extremely quick sampling of Friedersdorf's dishonest, mean-spirited ugliness in his own words. Heritage advertises on Rush Limbaugh's show. Why are they elevating someone who calls Rush a mendacious hack and worse, attacking him regularly? Why is NRO elevating someone who so often impugns Andrew McCarthy's character and Mark Steyn's intelligence? Those fellows write at NRO. It makes no sense. But given that Friedersdorf routinely attacks most all of the best, strongest, most popular and more genuine conservative voices, while perhaps leaving the most moderate of the bunch alone, I have to wonder what kind of future for conservativism NRO and Heritage predict, as they are complicit in elevating some next generation of punditry clearly dedicated to tearing some of the best of conservatism down.

Here are only a few of probably hundreds of attacks and slurs by now. These aren't debating points. They are smears, insults and unfounded attacks on some of NRO's and Heritage's best friends and colleagues. What the hell is going on here, is any adult even minding the store at said institutions, let alone the future of conservatism and conservative pundity? Do the research if not convinced. I don't even want to read more of the malevolent little boy at this point.

The Spurious Slurs of Andy McCarthy

Astonishingly, even that would underestimate the mendacious hackery of Rush Limbaugh.

Illustrating the depth of Mr. Steyn’s wildly inaccurate characterization has taken quite awhile…. It’s a good test. Perhaps Mr. Steyn was just woefully mistaken ….

Conor Friedersdorf is my minor internet hero. I found his recent twitter campaign to persuade fans of talk radio blowhard Mark Levin that Levin should not be trusted … the ballsiest tweet ever?

Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy, whose error prone book is titled “The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America,” ….

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  1. Ragspierre says:

    “Why are they elevating someone who calls Rush a mendacious hack and worse…”
    Please, Dan. That would take a spatula!
    You just did exactly what you are decrying!!! Conor with one “n” is a NOTHING.
    Everybody with two brain cells KNOWS this!!!

  2. Mad Monica says:

    Amen, Sir. Why this is allowed to continue, I have no idea. The scary thing is, this seems to be the trend with some “conservative” groups. I can’t figure it out. If they’re so against real conservatives, why claim to be part of the gang? Unless this is some effort to tear things down from the inside?
    But when you make claims like that, you’re accused of paranoia and stupidity. I don’t’ think so. After all, if you look at the nasty comments that come out against Sarah Palin, a good chunk of them come from groups that OUGHT to be thrilled to see a strong female candidate out there. Keep up the good work, sir. You’re spot on.

  3. jcp370 says:

    Ever read Conor with one N’s comments on Ricochet? He’s about as conservative as…well as you’d expect someone who fills in for Andrew Sullivan would be. And just as dishonest and nasty. It’s funny when I saw the video promoted, I just assumed Conor was the lefty.

  4. thirteen28 says:

    To say NRO is becoming a joke is an understatement. I hope conservatives out there remember this kind of thing the next time NRO come begging for donations so that they can stay in business.

  5. Ricky says:

    These are the people that end up “representing” conservatives in the mainstream media. Like David Brooks, what a joke.
    Mr Riehl, thank you.

  6. itsMike2Cents says:

    “It’s also not about intolerance for disagreement on issues, or stifling honest debate.”
    Well, it is actually about intolerance for disagreement on issues.
    But I’ll give you that you’re not stifling any debate here…or really participating in any.

  7. Jamie says:

    You’re not asking for censorship per se, but do seem to be advocating that certain members of the conservative media are beyond criticism. Given that National Review and Heritage are cornerstones of the conservative movement in America isn’t it advantageous for their readers/members to hear points of view counter to their own? Wouldn’t it force Rush or Levin to be sharper and their ideas better if they have to constantly defend them? Are Rush and Levin such delicate flowers that they can’t take this kind of abuse without resorting to petty name calling? (http://www.marklevinshow.com/sectional.asp?id=33180)
    Are you advocating for an echo chamber? Also – when did you become the arbiter for what “conservative” means? Are you really so myopic to believe that “conservative” is only your very narrow definition?

  8. Tom Meyer says:

    Shorter version of Dan’s post:
    Heritage linked to a diavlog between their blogger and Conor Friedersdorf, whom Dan doesn’t like. NRO posted the same video on their site. Therefore, NRO and Heritage are traitors to conservativism.
    Wow. Who seems desperate here?

  9. Jamie says:

    Here is another link to a podcast between Conor Friedersdorf and a conservative blogger:
    Dear god, why does Riehlworldview promote this kind of thing? Don’t the people over there care about the future of conservatism? What if some young impressionable conservative were to come across such a blatant example of civil discourse? Dear god they would be totally mislead as to what Riehl’s brand of conservatism (See: Riehl ConservatismTM) is!

  10. jakee308 says:

    I don’t know about Heritage but NRO hasn’t been really conservative since before Buckley died.

  11. Joe says:

    Meanwhile over at Stacy’s place, the Patterico Pigmies are on the war path. Below is daleyrocks, one of Pat’s flunkies going at it.
    McGehee 3 hours ago in reply to daleyrocks
    And it’s too bad whoever flagged Serr8d’s comment would rather censor Levin than rebut him.
    daleyrocks 2 hours ago in reply to McGehee
    Levin was soundly rebutted by Patterico at the time and made himself look even more foolish by deleting comments critical of his position from his Facebook page. Gee, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it McGehee?
    Joe 1 hour ago
    Levin being “soundly rebuked” by Patterico is like me being savagely attacked by my neighbor’s Chihuahua. In his own little pea brain mind, I am sure that Chihuahua thinks he is soundly rebuking me. I suspect the same is true for Patterico soundly rebuking Mark Levin.

  12. BCHasHerpes says:

    He is an Ivy leaguer and NRO’s commitment to “high brow” conservatism demands they give voice to Ivy leaguers. It’
    It’s a food question but it reminds me of Taranto’s criticism of the NYT, who cares what they think or write?

  13. BriantheRight says:

    I hate the question, why not allow debate of these other conservative voices. The simple answer is because they are not conservative voices. Anyone who has read Conor Fuchnut knows he is not a conservative and therefore, the why is irrelevant. In order for someone to be a conservative commentator they must first be a conservative and Conor is anything but conservative. When people ask the question, “why stifle debate,” what they are really saying, is I do not know who Conor Fuchnut is, or I am a liberal also posing as a conservative and think I belong in the conservative body politic. While I encourage all people to vote conservatively as that is the only way to free America from its titanic bonds of oppression caused by mounting debt that appears to have no end; the commentary by such individuals is dishonest if it is considered to be conservative.
    On a similar note, I agree with the majority in saying that NRO has been going down a slippery slope from conservative bastion to moderate soup and the decent has only plummeted further since the beloved W.F. Buckley departed this world of stone and clay. His son is a complete disgrace and NRO is among the saddest testimonies of allowing the poisoned ranks of moderate commentary into the fold. I am truly shocked that Heritage would acknowledge this mouth breather in any way as he has done nothing but bring shame and regret to the conservative movement. There is no question that Conor Fuchnut is a clone of his master the twisted Andrew Sullivan. My only feeling is utter disgust with this situation.

  14. A Balrog of Morgoth says:

    And speaking of hacks, there is always the latest Dave Weigel tweet at the top of the box they use for all their incoming feeds. Weird.

  15. Jamie says:

    “Conor Fuchnut”
    The depths of your insight and intelligence astound me.
    I weep for the future of conservatism.

  16. gary gulrud says:

    Aw crap, we were just celebrating my niece having landed a job at Heritage.

  17. gary gulrud says:

    Posted by: Joe | Monday, March 21, 2011 at 06:51 PM
    And Rico has a couple dozen similarly bewitched fans who banter on and on over hypothetical intrigues, like hoping for the best in North Africa. Vapid, banal, effete, emesis.