How Beltway journalism is destroying our faith in government

Both Sides Olympics

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By purposely misreporting on Covid-19 relief that Democrats are trying to get passed over the year-long objections of Republicans, the press is deliberately undermining Americans' faith in government and its ability to respond to a national crisis. By pretending "Congress" is not able to function, and that "leaders" and "Washington" are failing the country, the press not only gives radical Republicans political cover, the news coverage has spread a dangerous lie during a national health crisis.

The long-term consequences of this colossal media failure could be dire, as reports pour in about anxious Americans furious with "Congress" for the lack of aid, even though the fault rests entirely with Republicans.

In a stunning act of contempt, Trump secluded himself in Mar-a-Lago refusing to sign a relief bill that would immediately send $600 checks to tens of millions of American households facing evictions and empty food cupboards. (Trump now says he’ll act on the bill.) Instead of telling the real story, the press constantly reported "Congress" was to blame. Americans in response, say their faith in government has been shattered:

•  “I’ve worked for 18 years at a diner under very hard conditions. I never called in sick except when my husband died. And now Congress is just leaving town. It makes me furious because they are leaving people hanging.” (A waitress quoted in Washington Post.)

• “I wish they would put themselves — the White House and Congress and everybody else making these decisions — in the shoes of us, the normal working people, who need help due to no fault of our own." (Substitute teacher quoted in the Post.)

• “Our livelihoods have been shattered. The government is showing no leadership. I am floored by what is currently happening in Congress.” (Fashion designer quoted in New York Times.)

This is exactly what Trump wants, for Americans to question their longtime institutions and to lose faith in the government. His chaotic, authoritarian strategy is to sow so much doubt that it's not possible to know what's true and what isn't. He wants Americans to lose faith in government — the U.S. Postal Service, for instance — and to only to have faith in his rule.



This collapse of faith isn't about the Trump administration, which millions of rightfully do not trust. It's about losing faith in the country's day-to-day functioning government, which affects all Americans, regardless of the party is in the White House. The press is undermining that faith via Both Sides journalism.

"For Christmas this year, Washington is giving the country more pain," CNN recently reported, stressing that "Americans can hardly be blamed for feeling outrage at yet another indignity at the hand of their leaders."

That's the crux of the journalism crisis right there — CNN blatantly misreports on the Covid relief crisis ("Washington" is to blame), and then agrees that Americans are right to be furious with their nameless "leaders."

What's happened with Covid relief this year has no precedent in American political history — none. It has featured heartless behavior as Republicans stood resolutely in opposition to helping millions of desperate Americans who face economic ruin without further government assistance during this uncharted pandemic. For ten months the Beltway press has misled the American people about that simple fact.

This was how a Congressional reporter for the Los Angeles Time explained the situation on Twitter this weekend [emphasis added]:

Dems passed a bill in May they knew had no chance w/ Republicans. The GOP didn't even consider it. Neither side spoke for months. It wasn't until millions of people were about to be harmed that they came back to the table. So yes, all of Congress waited until the last minute.

That truly is an astonishing lens through which to view scandalous Republican behavior. It's especially bewildering to blame Democrats in the House for passing a massive, $3.4 trillion Covid relief bill in May even though "they knew [it] had no chance w/ Republicans." Democrats were supposed to not pass a relief bill because they suspected Republicans in the Senate might not support it? That's now how the legislative process works. Worse, to then suggest "Congress" waited "until the last minute" to act, after just acknowledging that Democrats voted in May, makes no sense.

That's how committed journalists are to the Both Sides narrative —they're willing to twist themselves into pretzels to make sure "Washington" and "Congress" are to blame. And in the process they destroy faith in our government.

When Democrats recently tried to pass new relief that featured $2,000 checks to eligible Americans, a New York Times accused them of trying to "jam through" the bill, and referred to the move as "political theater."

There's nothing theatrical about trying to feed and shelter desperate Americans. It's what the government is supposed to do in times of crisis.

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The Beltway press loves its Dems in Disarray narrative, constantly portraying the party as being in a chaotic state and outmaneuvered by Republicans. But it’s long past time for that focus to be turned on the GOP, which is teetering on an internal implosion.

From Media Matters,’ “Lin Wood Ignites a Right-Wing Media Civil War Over Call to Boycott Senate Runoffs”:

Complaining that the Republican Party had failed to adequately address imaginary claims of fraud, [Trump lawyer] Wood suggested that Trump voters should not turn out in January to support Georgia Republican senatorial candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the runoffs. Realizing that their manufactured claims of a stolen election were now threatening GOP control of the Senate, many right-wing media figures quickly turned on Wood.

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Matt Berninger, “One More Second”

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