Friday, May 19, 2017

Daniel Ziblatt

Daniel Ziblatt is the author of Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy. From his Q&A with Matt O'Brien at the Washington Post:

What about the rise of cable news—especially the influence Fox News seems to exert on the Republican Party? There were a lot of uncomfortable parallels for me between that and the story you tell about Germany's big media mogul of the 1920s, Alfred Hugenberg, taking their Conservative Party over and pushing it far to the right.

Absolutely. We tend to think that the media technological revolutions we're living through now are the first ones ever, but similar kinds of revolutions took place in the past. And the guys who were at the forefront of those could deploy them for political purposes. So in Weimar Germany, the equivalent kind of media revolution was the emergence of the news wire. That let Hugenberg create a common message across a bunch of newspapers throughout the country, and integrate this right-wing radical message into one. He owned these, and then also took over the party.

The Republican media-industrial complex is a similar thing. I think it's an indicator of the degree to which the party is weak, that you have these outside forces shaping the message of the party and putting real pressure on it. And, again, I can imagine people saying, “Oh, that's so elitist to say that the party should have control over the message,” and I think in some sense that maybe it is. But I'm just trying to point out that there's a cost to this fragmentation.

What about the other big piece of this puzzle: campaign finance?

Well, as the party has lost its monopoly over money, this means that ...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue