Listen now (8 mins) | If you’d prefer to hear today’s newsletter, click play. Note to longtime PRESS RUN readers: Please consider subscribing for $6 a month. Thanks! Stay healthy. Be kind. So many election lies were told at the far-right CPAC conference last weekend that at one point a conservative media outlet, Right Side Broadcasting, had
I don't know what to think anymore because the GOP as it exists today seems to be a confluence of multiple strains of rightwingery. Con artists, racists, wealthy elites and their fascist bedfellows. Underlying it all is what I call (to paraphrase Richard Hofstadter) "the troll style in American politics." Simply put, the fulcrum on which all of the factions of the GOP balance upon is the very fact that what seems to collectively drive them is that it's fun to be a bully. It's fun to put people down. It's fun to watch people get angry when you tweak them. They may all have individual desires or wanted outcomes of Republican rule, but the one thing that unites them is that they're behaving like drunken frat boys on a binge of hazing the whole world.
The most charitable explanation for the timid reporting is that some were afraid of making the lie stronger by repeating it. It is clear that even when the intent is to refute the lie, repetition too often actually reinforces it. However if the media are going to report on the lie they need to make sure they don’t inadvertently reinforce by repeating it. This article has a good discussion about how to handle calling out lies without strengthening them.
What drives me crazy is statements like “while there was some voter fraud found”, “dead people were found to have voted” which are technically true but not put in context. For example the only dead people voting I read about were relatives of a man who cast their votes for Trump yet I bet most people assume the fraud was by Democrats since it is Republicans who usually make a point of saying there was fraud. The media should put the number of known fraudulent votes in context by spelling out the numbers of proven fraud cases, i.e., 15 out of 159,000,000 votes cast; one in a million; even better use a visual to show how minuscule the number of false votes really was. Just making vague statements that say, yes there was voter fraud but...... only reinforces the lie that voter fraud is a problem.
I’m reading this and thinking that the Democrat focused activist groups like ActBlue, etc need to start fighting the mainstream press in addition to fighting independent legislation to suppress the vote. I’m going to work on that.
How did it come to this? Why the resistance to call out lies? I honestly don’t understand. It’s not like Fox News people are viewers who might get offended.
“So many election lies were told at the far-right CPAC conference last weekend that at one point a conservative media outlet, Right Side Broadcasting, had to interrupt its live coverage in order to air a disclaimer so that it wouldn't get sued for spreading election lies”
Wow. This just says it all. Other countries have laws in place that make it illegal for news media to spread propaganda. We used to have The Fairness Doctrine. It is time for America to reinstate safeguards that put a stop to this. Because being at constant war with the truth is exhausting and unsustainable, and these sociopaths will never stop willingly.
Well said Eric. Though I am still on the fence about Bigfoot.....
Ratings results for January 2021 seem hopeful, as CNN and MSNBC passed Fox in the cable news arena. Rachel Maddow reported last name that February results are similar. Good.
But these cable outlets, will 2.7 million, 2.6 million and 2.5 million viewers respectfully, are but a fraction of the population. And the 100,000 difference seems inconsequential. That's not to mention how many are "tuned out" to politics. (“Cobra Kai” topped the 1 billion minutes mark, with viewers watching 1.005 billion minutes of the 30 episodes of Netflix’s sequel to the 1984 film The Karate Kid. And there are kittens on YouTube).
All that said, Press Run is needed now more than ever. Thank you so much.
Sadly, a new lie is starting... Biden is just on Trump's coattails. Biden deserves no credit for Vaccines, Trump does.
The American press has absolutely no idea how to deal with covering a fascist regime or they choose not to or both. Either way, It's the end of factual, brave truth-telling in American journalism. It will lead nowhere. Nowhere good. It's as if no one has ever picked up a history book to study how Mussolini was able to manipulate the press before his rise as a fascist dictator. Hitler was not as good, but he did it as well along with Pinochet. Look only to Modi in India and the way he is manipulating the press. The difference is they were either in office at the time or still are. Trump is not. The media is under no obligation to placate or softball this, quite the opposite. When history books are written this will indeed go under how American democracy ate itself.
I resent public outcries from some media figures about how hard their jobs have become in these recent years. I fear they have grown way too big for their britches, patting themselves on the back for all the navel gazing they do in order to improve their reporting, but all that introspection produces nothing approaching self awareness, ie how cozy they’ve become with their ‘guests and how that coziness impacts and taints their reporting. There are conflicts aplenty to report about. Calling a lie a lie and confronting these big liars about all the garbage they spew is the job. Intervention anybody? Ugh.
Just as everyone who works on Wall Street should have to take an ethics course, everyone who works in media should have to take a logic course. The GOP created an almost perfect tautology: claim the media cannot be believed; claim the election was rigged; claim reform is needed because "people believe the election was rigged." The only way the circle can be broken is by Trump himself stating the election was NOT rigged, and he won't do that because it greases his slide into irrelevance and because his mental illness won't allow him to do so. The Trump enablers won't stop because voter suppression is what they have desired all along, and the media won't stop because...it doesn't recognize a tautology.
Trump is the gift that keeps on giving. By Republicans not saying the election was legitimate, they can continue to erode voting laws. It's the only way a minority can remain in power. If everyone is relaxing after Trump was removed from the White House, we've already lost the next elections. The Supreme Court is likely to support diminished voting rights legislation, again thanks to Trump getting to pick 3 justices. The mainstream media, as you point out, is already back to refusing to use the "lie" word when discussing election integrity and Fox News is becoming more like OAN an NewsMax every day. We are not out of scary times folks, not by far.
Grifters, cheats, Murphy artists and corporations large and small know that false advertising ropes in more profit than it costs to produce. Republican operatives know that lies told over and over again somehow grow legs. Laws that limit fraud perpetrated upon consumers are scorned by big business.(pp) The Founders knew that power corrupts, so they incorporated safeguards into their design for our Democracy. The free press was supposed to be one of them. We The People can support this notion if we support Press Run and everyone else who has the guts to hold the press' feet in the fire. Loudly, please!
For The Times and CBS and others to call them what they are--traitors, mass murderers, bigots, misogynists, xenophobes--might go a little too far. But more importantly, it would show that they had been completely wrong for the past four years in trying to "understand" these voters. It's like Nick Kristof entering Tom Friedman Embarrassment Territory with his columns about the super special just plain folks in his hometown of Yamhill, Oregon, who voted republican only out of their economic anxiety. Then he discovered that they were doing fine and still voting republican. Ahem.
The Corporate Controlled Conservative Press is just one set of cogs in the GOP 24/7 BS Machine which includes Hate Radio, Right wing newspapers, Right wing websites and the Religious Right. All of them churn out the same GOP talking points.
We need to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine and Equal Time provisions for broadcast media. Also we need to tighten libel laws so liars like Jim Hoft's Gateway Pundit are held liable for their lies.
Thank you! I enjoy your articles and it's AWESOME that you have an audio version! Thank you so much.
Does it matter to many of them that we're putting 'press' in air quotes?