McKay Coppins' Atlantic piece, "How the Left Lost its Mind" is making the viral rounds. It doesn't deserve to. It's a frightened and cowardly piece that repeatedly makes excuses for its own existence. And then offers very little.
Last month, Democratic Senator Ed Markey delivered what seemed like an explosive bit of news during an interview with CNN: A grand jury had been impaneled in New York, he said, to investigate the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia.
The only problem: It wasn’t true.
The precise origins of the rumor are difficult to pin down, but it had been ricocheting around social media for days before Markey’s interview. The story had no reliable sourcing, and not a single credible news outlet touched it—but it had been fervently championed by The Palmer Report, a liberal blog known for peddling conspiracy theories, and by anti-Trump Twitter crusaders like Louise Mensch. Soon enough, prominent people with blue checkmarks by their names were amplifying it with “Big if true”-type Tweets. And by May 11, the story had migrated from the bowels of the internet to the mouth of a United States senator...
Before we go on, let me try to quiet the cries of “False equivalence!” before they begin: No, these personalities and publications do not yet wield the same influence in the Democratic Party that their counterparts do in the GOP. But ignoring them would be a mistake. In recent months, some of the most irresponsible actors in this world have proven alarmingly adept at influencing venerated figures of the left—from public intellectuals, to world-famous celebrities, to elected officials.
Similar fake news stories have come out of the mainstream and respectable leftist New York Times and the Washington Post. Not to mention CNN. But Coppins takes care to condemn only utterly marginal figures. And then he insists that the Dems don't have a real problem. Not like the evil Republicans.
Before we go on, let me try to quiet the cries of “False equivalence!” before they begin: No, these personalities and publications do not yet wield the same influence in the Democratic Party that their counterparts do in the GOP.
Who are these personalities? Largely nobodies. Coppins goes out of his way to excuse and exonerate almost everyone who is anyone. Though he does take Laurence Tribe to task.
The article is largely underwhelming. Why denounce a handful of leftist "conspiracy theorists" when the same sort of material is being put out by the media on a regular basis. What really distinguishes a "wishful thinking" anonymously sourced story on a blog or on CNN.
And why are Tribe and other such figures distributing this material? Why is it so popular? Seriously answering those questions would require having a difficult conversation about the left. And that's not one of the left's stronger suits.