You’ve come across it many times in the media: a journalist or interviewer full of admiration for the principled socialist and full of hostility for the socialist in government who has made compromises.
The objective of the conservative or liberal journalist is to help prevent left wing reforms. This journalist, faced with a compromised socialist – usually one in a position of power to make a reform or to withstand the pressure to impose market solutions – and working in a media climate of tender feeling towards the harmless idealist, sees a smart, attractive and ultimately dishonest approach: use the idealist to discredit the real threat.
The trick is to portray leftist reformers and reforms as at best lacking integrity and at worst a complete betrayal.
i) Make the harmless the ideal
This is done by presenting an uncompromising socialist as morally superior and absolutely incorruptible by virtue of being true to his or her principles.
ii) Get a leftist to do conservative and liberal dirty work
Set up the uncompromising (“principled”) socialist to attack reform-minded socialists as apostates who have sold out.
iii) Make left failure a virtue
Present years of fruitless, uncompromising talk as self-sacrificing success.
Looks like everyone is a winner … well, yes, apart from socialists and those who would benefit from their reforms. The right wing journalist and their privileged audience get to show how much they approve of socialist principles – if only they weren’t so impractical! The “principled” socialist gets to reassure everyone that revolution is out of the question and in return gets public recognition and appreciation, and encouragement to remain pure in their anti-establishment.