The Consolation of the Grift

Sean Hannity at Fox News Channel Studios on September 13, 2023, in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

In Wednesday’s G-File, Jonah Goldberg quoted an especially bleak take on the Taylor Swift kerfuffle that had been shared in the Dispatch Slack channel. He didn’t name the colleague who posted it.

But he didn’t need to, did he? The words “especially bleak” will be on my tombstone.

The quote had to do with the universal belief among sensible conservatives that hysteria about a “psy op” involving Swift and Travis Kelce is fundamentally a grift. Radio host Erick Erickson made the point forcefully:

Whenever populist influencers are behaving in an especially freaky way, “it’s a grift” is usually the correct explanation. Their hero, Donald Trump, is a grifter of rare talent and expertise, after all. And social media has democratized opportunities for political grifting such that even the lowest of lowbrow randos can build an enormous online following by being willing to say the stupidest things right-wing activists yearn to hear.

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