After months of suspense, it’s official: Pat Buchanan is finally off the air at MSNBC. The network simply released a statement on Thursday, February 16 that “after 10 years, we have decided to part ways with Pat Buchanan. We wish him well” It did not elaborate on the reason for his leaving.
But this come after a long, relentless campaign waged by the Anti-Defamation League, Media Matters, Color of Change, the Southern Poverty Law Center ($PLC to VDARE.com), the Human Rights Campaign and assortment of other left wing and minority interest groups. These groups have long kvetched about Buchanan, going into full shriek after the release of his book .
Buchanan’s major transgressions? The left wing Talking Points Memo helpfully compiled “Twelve Pretty Racist Or Just Crazy Quotes From Pat Buchanan’s New Book”
(VDARE.com links added).
You get the idea. These quotes do not even involve “Hatefacts”— things that are true but Politically Incorrect, like blacks’ disproportionate involvement in crime. Instead, these are facts that are mentioned quite happily, indeed gloatingly, by leftists themselves in other contexts—for example, as Buchanan himself recently noted, in Hua Hsu’s 2009 Atlantic Magazine cover story , The End of White America? Talking Points Memo is simply engaged in Steve Sailer has called “Point-and-Splutter” argumentation.
Moreover, Buchanan has been saying this sort of thing for years. Indeed, as I noted in my review of Suicide of a Superpower, one of the biggest criticisms I heard of the book was that he had made most of the controversial points before. MSNBC knew of these views when it hired him, and it tolerated them for a decade. Buchanan did not go off the deep end—MSNBC did.
Buchanan is certainly one of the most eloquent and brave writers to address what VDARE.com calls the National Question—whether the U.S. can survive as a nation-state, the political expression of a particular people. However, there are many others here and at other publications who make similar points.
Nevertheless, despite (or perhaps because of) their internet presence, they have become more and more marginalized in the Main Stream Media. Less than a decade ago, American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor was a frequent guest on MSNBC and CNN. Thus when his book White Identity came out last fall, no television and no major radio host—save the recently-deceased and much-missed Ron Smith—even had him on the air.
Needless to say, Buchanan does not go anywhere like as far as Jared Taylor on racial issues. Even so, I think it is a safe bet that Buchanan would have been similarly silenced long before his last book came out—had he not built up so much personal credibility within the MSM Establishment over the last forty years.
And being on television makes a big difference. When the ADL screams Buchanan an anti-Semite and the SPLC screams he is a “white nationalist”—whites, alone among all groups must be prevented from organizing in their own interests—most ordinary Americans think “I’ve heard Pat for decades, and while I may not agree with him, he seems like an honest and intelligent man.” As Buchanan puts it, he’s been a guest in their living rooms.
In contrast, a print journalist like Sam Francis, despite his significant career, not only had no friends in the MSM Establishment who would defend him when he was smeared, but was not a personal presence in the lives of the broader American public.
Taking out Buchanan from MSNBC is unquestionably a huge victory for the totalitarian Left. But will their victory prove a coup de grace— or pyrrhic?
If Pat is not given another platform, then the organized enemies of open discussion will certainly feel free go after weaker members of the un-PC pack. After all, they’ve already got Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck. And they don’t care about Rich Lowry or Ramesh Ponnuru.
However, I am cautiously optimistic that this will not be the case. Pat himself has made it clear that he is blacklisted, but not beaten.
And there has been a large backlash against his firing. Many liberals and moderates, including his MSNBC colleagues Joe Scarborough, Peter Fenn, and Chris Matthews, and even Andrew Sullivan, have defended him. There has been near universal outrage from conservatives. [VDARE.com note: This does not include National Review, where there seems to have been complete silence.]
Much of the complaints against MSNBC have revolved around the increased partisanship of news channels. Thus Timothy Stanley, whose new biography of Buchanan, The Crusader, is just out, denies that Buchanan has been “blacklisted”—he argues that Pat’s firing is merely the product of cable news
“moving in a new, worrying direction. As viewers abandon the networks in droves, they are realigning themselves away from balanced news-making and towards becoming propaganda arms for either Left or Right.”
This could, of course, be true, as evidenced by MSNBC’s earlier firing of Tucker Carlson, who ended up at Fox. If Pat ends up on Fox—or CNN, which likes to see itself as the moderate force between Fox and MSNBC—that could be still more evidence.
Needless to say, Fox, despite often toeing the neoconservative foreign policy line, would be a much better fit for Buchanan. In addition to having a much larger audience, that audience will be much more receptive to his views. Sean Hannity had Buchanan on his show yesterday to discuss his firing, and Bill O’Reilly recently told Bay Buchanan he would like to have Buchanan join Fox.
But, ominously, Fox News host Chris Wallace has complained that Pat Buchanan had said " some very incendiary things about Israel, about Jews, about blacks, about other minorities."
Pat has been very coy about his future media prospects, merely stating that he is a “free agent.”
Let’s hope that Fox is smart enough to pick him up.
Otherwise, we must conclude that the problem is not cable network partisanship, but that the leftist Flash mobs are winning—that they have been able to impose their view that, in the words of MSNBC’s appalling president Phil Griffin (email him):
“The ideas [Buchanan] put forth aren’t really appropriate for national dialogue, much less the dialogue on MSNBC.”
Alexander Hart (email him) is a conservative journalist.