Listen now | Obsessed with cost
The press is hell bent on tanking Build Back Better.
Looking at the Post Online and seeing these headlines today--
"As Democrats dither, Biden bleeds out"
"More women are tuning out politics — a danger sign for Democrats in Virginia and beyond"
"The Black voters disappointed in Biden"
"3 stats showing how much the deck is stacked against Democrats"
This is what passes for "journalism" at the Post--Frank Luntz framed Republican talking points.
Meanwhile, buried way down past William Shatner getting a carnival ride, we have the WP headline, "House [agrees] to lift debt ceiling as Democrats [spar] on broader spending bill." (brackets are mine). Which of course is as close to an outright lie as we can imagine; in fact not a single republican voted in favor. Instead some republican congresspeople made motions to just go home without voting at all, a move that would by all reasonable accounts be akin to blowing up the monetary order of the entire country and potentially affecting the entire world. CNN was silent as well, and the NYT showcases a piece on the homepage wondering how to carve up the family policies in the BBB bill, as if diluting before it's voted on is a foregone conclusion. Nothing about republican obstruction on every possible front. Nothing about the 715,000 dead people from Covid19. Plenty about abbott of Texas and his idiotic orders re. mandates and abortions and vigilante enforcement...So much for any explanation of how the BBB will help get the next generation a fighting chance of survival.
Cost? What Cost? The media focus on Republicans’ complaining about the cost of the bill is beyond unforgivable. The bill has serious provisions that will pay for most of the costs; the growth from the improvement in our infrastructure — both physical and human — will very likely pay for the rest in increased economic growth. Those provisions include things like lowering prescription drug costs and increasing taxes and tax collection.
Time and again the media reports on these kinds of proposals as if they didn’t exist because they assume Republicans won’t let them pass anyway. Maybe if they would put as much focus on those (very popular) proposals as they do Republicans’ pretense of caring about debt Democrats would be able to pass them! In fact every time a Republican brings up concerns about the debt the media should immediately ask why he or she supported Trump’s budget-busting tax cuts for the rich — something that was very unpopular.
My basic question is: What is Jaime Harrison, head of the DNC, going to do about it? I mean, Rs do all this stupid CPAC stuff...can't the Dems come up with a similar 'convention? Rich white men own this country, own the media. They don't want to pay their fair share of taxes, slavery is our original sin that we will never recover from, I'm 74 and I just downloaded my passport application. Some of my senior friends are doing the same. We've been thru Vietnam, we've been thru Watergate, we've been thru ONE TERM of that moron and we can't take anymore.
Part of the problem is the congressional habit of bundling legislation so that the price of voting for a popular item includes having to vote for something that is not so popular, and vice versa. In 1999 or early 2000, John McCain's vote against a bill that he perceived as a defense spending cut was characterized (probably by Karl Rove) as a vote against breast cancer research....an item that had been tucked into the same package. Congress would function better, and its members would be far more accountable, if legislation was limited to a single subject. Then again, single subject legislating would be a full time job rather than the 3 days a week, 3 weeks a month for 6 months that is now the norm.
Even when specifics are explained to the public in a way they can understand (i.e. Free two-years of college), you still run up against the predominant religion in the US: Selfishness. I guarantee that you'll find plenty of people who hear these things and their first thought is, "But what's in it for me?" Affordable childcare is important for the future and the economic health of the nation. However, someone who doesn't have kids doesn't see past the fact that someone is getting something that they aren't getting. It's like the kid at his brother's b'day party who needs to be given something as well because he's a little jerk.
Please, can we refrain from blaming the Ds for everything that’s wrong with their messaging, their ineptitude. For sure, Ds can do better, and I like Jude’s idea of daily and or regular pressers w/Biden explaining BBB to the public, but I agree w/Eric’s main points. If the msm is forever slanting their reporting in the Rs favor and missing the forest for the trees, that’s on them, not Ds/us. The headlines cited in Eric’s post reveal a lot about the quality, accuracy, total lack of context in their reporting; never a ‘big picture’ accounting that should be a part of every piece of reporting about BBB. They love, are addicted to the fight, not the facts. I live in MA and see daily ads touting/explaining BBB, but, as I’ve said in prior posts, the Ds are fighting w/one hand behind their backs. Press, craven Rs, the evil FG. That creep Jim Jordan is calling for all vaccinations be outlawed in Ohio for goodness sake. The msm is addicted to profits, controversy, clicks. The great days of the esteemed Gray Lady are gone; she has devolved into reporting the same kind of crap that reality tv brought in.
Wow. So much pessimism and blaming the Dems from the responses here. The fact that you know the bill IS Build Back Better is because of messaging. Biden has talked about it since the campaign. As for Twitter, who do some of you follow? Because there is information about BBB there, from the various cabinet members to Congressional folk in the House and Senate who use social media to promote its benefits. My Congressman sends a newsletter every week and talks about what he and the Dems are doing. Dems have also run ads about the bill emphasizing its positive impact on people's lives. The president is making stops across the country to sell the bill as well. They are out there talking about it. So then why are we only hearing about "Dems in disarray" and costs—with never a critical eye on the GOP who refuse to participate? Because of how the media chooses to cover it.
Here's a reminder. Both Dem Andrew Cuomo and GOP Rep Madison Cawthorn were accused of sexual harassment at the same time, yet the media focused exclusively on one of these politicians. That one is gone from office, the other is still there and getting worse by the day. And why didn't we hear more about Jim Jordan's involvement with the Ohio State wrestling case?
Because of media choices, which shapes what is covered AND how it is covered.
You think the message is weak? Then help reshape it yourself, whether it's on twitter or in conversations with friends and family. Some examples: "Hey, if Biden's BBB bill passes, Grandma will finally get better internet service out on the farm." "Hey, if Biden's BBB bill passes, that scary bridge you always avoid on the way to the grocery store is gonna get fixed." "Hey, if Biden's BBB bill passes, Mary will be able to go back to work because she'll have childcare that won't cost her whole paycheck. " "Hey, if Biden's BBB passes, they're gonna fix the old, dangerous water pipes and we'll be able to drink water from the faucet again." Etc, etc, etc. Watch what your own Dem reps on both the fed and state level are doing. If you like what they are saying, amplify the message.
We can't control the media. But every one of us has power. We each have a voice. Use it for good as well as criticism.
I hate to be critical of the entire DC political media brothel, because at least five of them are not streetwalkers. But even a couple whom I like still think Barack Obama could have gotten republikkkans in Congress to vote with him more often.
Which reminds me. Does anybody remember when the House republikkkan caucus invited Obama to speak to them early in his administration, and agreed never to do that again because he wiped the floor with them? One of the things he said was that when you go home and call me a Muslim communist, how do you then explain it to your constituents when you do vote with me on something? Of course, they solved that problem: They committed treason under Article III, Section 3 of the US Constitution, and he failed to have them prosecuted for it. But so did every Democratic president since FDR.
Our Failed Political Press ™ loves process stories. They think it makes them look smart that they understand how sausage is made.
The thing is, it is not news, it is punditry. The readers for these stories are each other, not us.
“Any jerk can make a list of what is inside BBB, but only a super-genius like me can explain ..."
This is a one of the reasons the Democrats end up losing the midterms. Their messaging is not good. They are not out there pounding these key points over and over to the media, letting the voters know how the bill will help them. In fairness, the Dems are always fending off gotcha questions by a media hell bent on subverting the message. The Dems need to take a page out of the Reps playbook. No matter the question, change the subject to what they need to say about the bill. When Republicans use this tactic, the media never follows up. It would be interesting to see what the interviewers would do if Democrats were to follow suit. Likely, the press, the likes of Chuck Todd and others, would suddenly grow a backbone. It's so frustrating.
There's more drama (and more clicks, etc.) when everything is focused on the cost and the politics.
I contend that much of what's seen as the media conspiring against Biden and the Democrats is actually laziness, or taking the easiest path, and over-hyping real or contrived controversy. (Remember, Trump made their jobs easy, dropping into their laps the most outrageous of news nearly every day.)
Democrat leadership, including Biden, deserves blame too. Biden for not using his bully pulpit and hammering home the benefits every single day around the country. Congressional Dems for continuing decades of pure crap messaging and, in the present morass, for not seeing the damage they're doing with protracted infighting.
“… where Republicans want the public attention to be…”
“…the press continues to do Republicans a favor…”
As always, that there is Job 1 for the mainstream media.
And props for reference to Allsop. His column is always a joy.
Democrat Party: Here’s our plan, we’re going to tell you exactly what’s in the plan. We’re going to travel around the country to sell the plan (Biden was recently in Michigan, and plans for other locations). It’s going to help a large segment of the population, it will help children, college age students, parents, older people. It can be paid for without taxing the poor and middle class. The President will be on TV multiple times on why it’s needed, other members of the party will be trying to sell the plan. And though it helps all regions of the US, we’re not going to get any support from the other party. We’re also going to work on legislation for climate change, protection of minorities, try to be decent and help folks.
Press and the Public: Democrats can’t get anything done, I don’t understand what it’s about or what it is for. We’ll never be able to pay for it. Since the other party is not supporting it, it must be no good. Democrats will be destroyed in the next election.
Republican Party: We’ve got a tax cut, that’s it. Should help a very small group of people, but here’s some nonsense on why it will help poor and middle class even though the theories in support of that have been disproven time and time again. We’ll send out some tweets and make sure our propaganda networks talk about how wonderful a tax cut plan is. That’s it for our legislation plan, though we will put a lot of effort to prevent middle school trans girls from playing sports.
Press and the Public: Republicans will be hard to beat in the next election.
At this point, we deserve the government we get.
Eric, you have described the media landscape writ large. Americans have stopped seeking out information and instead rely on feeds which rely on algorithms which proves the concept of garbage in garbage out.