93 Comments

Another point to be made here is that sadly, the media hyping CRT for the GOP does more damage than simply putting the Democrats on the defensive. While CRT is not being taught in pre college grades, it should be. Apparently we can't have an adult conversation that leads to our children growing up knowing the real truth behind our nations dark history. What changes in American life would happen if children understand the real truth regarding slavery and white privilege? Will the shopping malls close? Will President's Day auto sales cease? Perhaps our country would grow as it did for the German people where the history of Nazi fascism is still taught so that it never happens again. It's a topic that the media should have taken seriously and should not have been weaponized for the purpose of helping the Republicans. The "liberal press", indeed.

Expand full comment

Ted Cruz, among other Republicans, insisted that if Joe Biden won the election on November 3rd, starting November 4th there would be no more news coverage of Covid. That proves the GOP's belief that media coverage is SUPPOSED to be dictated by political talking points, AND that even with hospitals and morgues being swamped, Cruz and his ilk still did not take Covid seriously.

Expand full comment
author

Ha! I forgot abt that Cruz prediction

Expand full comment

The only thing Ted Cruz believes in is his own reflection in the mirror.

Expand full comment

Ted Cruz does not have a reflection in a mirror.

Expand full comment

Of course! Perfect retort Kevin.

Expand full comment

Rafael Cruz believes in Ayn Rand. He's the living version of the psychopathic narcissists ol' Ayn AS IN MINE worshipped!

Expand full comment

Come on, Eric, Politico's Ryan Lizza told us what was wrong with the left's criticism of the media coverage—most notably when it involves the GOP threat to democracy (and extends to everything else):

"If Democratic candidates aren’t talking about America’s anti-democratic movement, and if President JOE BIDEN, Speaker NANCY PELOSI and Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER aren’t doing it every day in Washington, then the coverage will reflect that. That is not a defense of the political-media ecosystem but just a description of it."

So now I get it. If only Joe, Nancy, Chuck and the rest of the Dems would shut up about inflation, bad poll numbers, immigrant caravans, CRT, Afganistan withdrawal "disaster," Benghazi, etc etc etc the press would stop covering those topics. Gosh, it's all the Dems' fault!

I saw red while reading this bullshit several days ago. In this same short piece, he and his cowriter also reveal that the media didn't take Trump and the GOP's threat to try to overturn the the election seriously because it was the "Keystone Coup" and they then shamelessly added, the GOP just got "tired of correcting Trump's lies" and "others joined them." I guess meaning members of the press. (My brain still hurts over that line.)

Lizza also quotes the NYT's David Leonhardt, who downplays what's happening because some bills giving GOP partisan control of elections failed—ergo "the anti-democracy movement may not succeed." Also, because Dem Govs don't see the threat to democracy as a winning message (Gee, I wonder why?) the media won't talk about the threat either. Got it now?

What that short piece in Morning Playbook revealed is that our criticisms of the political press are dead on: they ARE the Beltway secretarial pool—stenographers who dutifully take down political messaging—NOT reporters. The one thing they left out is that these reporters actually ignore Dems' voices, regardless of what the message is about. We hear about all these nonissues because it's what the GOP are yammering about—and what the GOP say is all the Beltway press cares about. Kinda why the only voice on the 1/6 committee that seems to get consistent coverage is Liz Cheney.

This is journalistic malpractice. How do these people have jobs, including (and especially) Leonhardt?

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2021/12/14/what-the-left-doesnt-get-about-the-media-495453

Expand full comment
author

agreed all of Lizza's responses to left media criticism in the last week have been rather incoherent

Expand full comment

Not to mention a tad defensive.

Expand full comment

When it comes to the DC Press Corpse butt-kissing is the way to get ahead.

Expand full comment

They're doing what they are paid to do. Propagandize.

Expand full comment

No that isn’t true. They aren’t paid to propagandize. They choose to do it in the name of reporting. That’s the whole point of a column like this. If that were the case, the observations of Eric B, Froomkin, Fallows, etc wouldn’t matter at all.

Expand full comment

The beltway press has allowed, if not promoted a reality in this country where way less than half of republicans believe Joe Biden is actually president, three quarters of them believe Covid is no worse than the flu and too many won't get vaccinated, screamers disrupting school board meetings get more attention than the Jan 6 committee's work and a shocking number of 'adults' seem to think their right to ignore masking and distancing protocols is somehow protected in the Constitution. Never mind all the voter fraud lies. Yikes! Seems to me we need a new model for the press to aspire to.

Expand full comment

Well thought out, cross-referenced and gave dignity to the subjects…

Expand full comment

Nonetheless, they reasoned their way out of the b*llsh*t. Their ‘journey’ is a sliver of light, showing a pathway *out* for others maybe? One can dream🙏

Expand full comment

Undeserved dignity. They're a pair of scumbags. Glad they're singing like canaries, though.

Expand full comment

Always boils down to this--Who Owns The Press.

Expand full comment
founding

That doesn’t explain the Sally Quinn Villager syndrome. That comes from a high school mentality of being desperate to be part of the Kool Kids Klub and it has been very corrosive to Democrats. Just ask Hillary.

Expand full comment

It's typical of Republicans to always create a deception. Throw out outrageous talking points and that hides the real truth from the voters. Sadly, the MSM is complicit in such an obvious con.

Expand full comment

Keep the camera on those ‘outrageous performances’ on the House Floor, too :/ Works!

Expand full comment

One thing I've come to recognize is that the press see Republican talking points as worthy of covering while those coming from Democrats are seen as laughable or to be ignored.

Expand full comment
author

100%. Dems get hit a lot for bad messaging, and I get that, but press is always enthralled by GOP messaging

Expand full comment

It's a game. It's the entertainment for the DC Cocktail Party Press. Republicans are fun to quote because they're the insult comic pal everyone knows. Democrats are the scolds. They're the Poindexter nerd that the press are too cool to hang out with.

Expand full comment
founding

There is a third approach — pick apart the Democrats’ talking points — for example briefly acknowledging the spending that pulled our economy back from the brink then harp on debt and/inflation. Then when the debt starts coming down, put the spotlight on another “crisis”. When Democrats passed the ACA there was a lot more attention given to the temporary, messy roll out of the online enrollment program than there was the benefits of the bill. Most people have no clue that the debt from Obama’s stimulus spending was coming down quickly as the economy recovered.

The media seem to automatically discount what Democrats propose because they assume Republicans will never let it pass. Then they blame Democrats for not getting things done. They have the option to put the focus on the benefits of Democrats’ proposals and the Republicans’ opposition.

Expand full comment

I have a hard time buying in on the Dems Don’t Message Well when in fact the Democrats have won the popular vote since Bill Clinton was in office (with the strange exception of Dubya in 2004). That seems like effective messaging.

Now off-year elections are a different cat because there is no single message, and this is when all politics becomes local.

Expand full comment

Blame lazy or "disgruntled" left voters for not showing up for nearly every non-presidential election. Left voters never took SCOTUS as a serious issue, always believing "oh, overturning Roe v. Wade? Political suicide. Will never happen." And here we are, yet so many on this side are still SHOCKED, SHOCKED it has come to this. Duh.

The one thing the right knows is that voting MATTERS. Sure, the GOP motivates them with fear and loathing. But we're supposed to be the smart ones, the educated ones, the elitists. And yet too many fail to connect the dots between staying home out of laziness or churlishness and/or not voting down ballot, and 1) regressive legislation and a reactionary GOP and judiciary and 2) a lack of big progress combatting a host of essential issues.

Every damn election matters at every level. Lefties, get out and vote even when you're mad and even when you just don't feel like it. It's that simple.

Expand full comment

What MAP said.

Expand full comment

Are you referring to women who did not vote with their va-jay-jay and the “Bernie woulda won crowd?”

Expand full comment

Yes among others. And the young college women who said gender didn’t matter when it came to their votes in 16. Oy.

Expand full comment

It’s as tho they think of d’s as the ‘loser’ party, or the mommy party. Either way, they are spewing condescension and putting the blame where it doesn’t exist.

Expand full comment
founding

I think you are right about the media condescension coming in part from their unconscious bias in favor of manly men, and therefore Republicans who represent those macho values. Democrats are seen as too soft, squishy, weak, childish — i.e. too girly.

I was shocked that so many mainstream journalists were clearly impressed by the macho posturing of those two chickenhawks Bush and Cheney even when they treated journalists with thinly vailed contempt. In contrast the media treated Gore and Kerry, men who both served in Vietnam, with disdain. I think that explains why journalists and pundits don’t ignore Republicans’ messaging but do ignore what Democrats are saying. There is solid evidence that “having an idea ignored only to be repeated by a male colleague five minutes later to interest and applause” is a common experience women have in business meetings. My daughter has had that experience and said it was as if the men didn’t really even hear what she said in meetings.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/womens-blog/2014/jul/30/10-sexist-scenarios-women-deal-work-ignored-maternity-risk-everyday-sexism

Expand full comment

But the crisis at the border…..

Expand full comment
author

So many caravans…

Expand full comment

I keep asking over and over... What the hell is wrong with these people and organizations? If they are complicit in a neo-fascist takeover of this country, which is looking more and more likely, don't they realize they will be among the first in the gulags? Fools! Utter fools!

Expand full comment
author

They think they’re immune. they live in a bubble

Expand full comment

Well, as I've mentioned before some of them are probably too focused on their paychecks, and forgot to add, VIP invitations.

Expand full comment

They have nothing to fear. They're already sycophantic courtesans for Rethuglicans.

Expand full comment

They loved it when Trump attacked them. Notice how they played that for all it was worth to drive up the ratings and ad $$$!

Expand full comment

I agree with you that some people in the media probably enjoyed the combative relationship with Trump.

Some of them enjoyed playing "face" to Douche Bigalow's "heel" in the WWE-style environment of the previous administration.

Somehow, the "boring" Biden administration wasn't fun & exciting enough for them that instead of focusing on policy, they decided to create more drama.

Expand full comment

C'mon, the leopards aren't going to eat THEIR faces.

Expand full comment

The GOP pushes voters' buttons, even the racist ones. They find the so-called social issues are effective in winning elections because they are a party devoid of truly useful ideas and policies. I remember my first experience as a voter was when they told us not to vote for the Equal Rights Amendment because it meant public restrooms would be shared by both sexes. When I was a little girl I was forced to pray in school because heck, it was the south, and not coincidentally, the schools were segregated and when that was ruled unconstitutional, my parents and all my friends' parents enrolled us in a different school where there no black kids. I knew the word "segregated" when I was 6 years old. It's probably the biggest reason why I loathe the GOP. They save the bad parts of human nature for use in winning elections, then drop them afterwards. Now their thing is abortion rights, and the anticipated SC ruling that will kill Rowe v Wade will be decided this summer, just in time for the midterms. And I'm sure the media will play along.

Expand full comment

When Roe is overturned the GOP will become the car chasing dog that caught the car and thinks to itself, "Now what?"

Expand full comment

They don't care. They came within a vote of overturning the ACA and gave the Dems a massive talking point for the 2018 midterms. And they will do it again if the regain control of the House and Senate.

They aren't going to stop with abortion. Birth control and marriage equality are also in their crosshairs, as is "patriotic" curricula, book banning, getting rid of native born citizenship, etc, etc—look to Texas as the model for regressive legislation. Some of it may fail on the federal level, but GOP will keep putting up Trumpy candidates and they will eventually win more of their elections, especially because of the all the whining on the left about staying home yet again to "teach the Dems" a lesson.

If I were Mitch McConnell, I would be giggling with glee at these leftie voters' ignorance and stupidity. No matter how disappointed the far right has been in its candidates, the Evangelicals have consistently come out to vote—and voted for their party. The change they wanted took longer than they hoped, but they are finally reaping the rewards—5 bona fide "conservative" (call them radical) judges on SCOTUS.

Life is only going to get worse for the rest of us if the GOP wins back Congress and gets more statehouses in 22.

Expand full comment

Radical Republicans have already said if they get the House back they will impeach Joe and Kamala because they "stole" the election from Trump. And just imagine Radical Republicans putting Trump in the Speaker's chair...

Expand full comment

Yes Trump won't take the Speaker's chair. He'd actually have to show up in Congress and raise his arm to strike the gavel. Too much work for him. Yep, the 1/6 Commission will be disbanded immediately and they will start all kind of hearings into every dept, including the military and Gen. Milley. Not to mention censuring and trying to kick out every Dem on the judiciary committee, the 1/6 committee, the Banking committee (they dared to sue to get Trump's taxes) and Nancy Pelosi. The House will be a shit show, and the media will eat it up with wall to wall coverage of their grandstanding. Even sympathetic critics of the Dems will say, "see, this is how you get it done"—regardless that these hearings would all be for show, just smoke and mirrors, But the media does love a circus.

To quote Shakespeare: "It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." pretty much sums up every utterance of today's GOP.

Expand full comment

OR

Trump will get his stooges to do most of the Speakers work.

AND

Trump loves to get even. Nothing would give him more pleasure than sitting in the Speaker's chair when the House votes to impeach Joe and Kamala. He wants that.

Expand full comment

& loves the headlines.

Expand full comment

Supposedly the 1/6 Commission plans on being wrapped up by Spring. Schiff statement/ Preet interview (NYC)

Expand full comment

Yes they are well aware of the time constraints. And excellent timing ahead of the midterms.

Expand full comment

Great… let’s waste time on that while the rest of the world moves on and repositions itself… and we’re still trying to faux impeach and upgrade lead pipes.

Expand full comment

Sorry but upgrading infrastructure matters and means something to people. I don’t understand why you don’t think this is important too. There is so much on Biden’s shoulders and he doesn’t really have a Senate majority. Governing is hard when everything is going right; there are so many forces aligned success it’s amazing anything has been achieved and that the Dems are pushing on.

Expand full comment

Also: In all of the WH lists of Biden-year-one accomplishments, I notice they leave OFF the Afghanistan withdrawal - which was pretty miraculous, IMO. But they couldn’t let him have the ‘W’… Joe is doing GREAT - I have NO idea if he can keep up this pace - he’s also ALREADY visited 27 states w/messaging.. ! Dang

Expand full comment

What I meant was we are BEHIND on upgrading lead pipes (and finally getting to it!) And Biden’s nominees are being delayed, very obviously - in broad daylight! Hard to ‘lead’ when *something* keeps dragging you backwards:/ Did not mean to slight infrastructure at all. 😖

Expand full comment

file:///var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments/ce/14/751273E6-4115-4BA1-95E4-9CE8F089774F/IMG_0085.jpg

Expand full comment

I’m so old that I remember the exact same scenario in 2014: Ebola was an existential health crisis (it wasn’t) and Obama was failing in his response (he didn’t); next week was an election and the next day the story died. Just crickets.

Which is why I keep banging the drum on mainstream media complicity. The harm to the nation from cannot be underestimated. More: without that complicity, the GOO would be far weaker and less dominant than it is.

As for the Murdoch piece, I have to disagree with Eric. Nothing good there, just >1%er with a project that will lead nowhere. What she’s opposing is what those in power want and are implementing. Like way too much from liberals and Democrats, it’s just talk that will lead to absolutely nothing. Better she should put the money into a scammy NFT, say, than in producing dishonest false hopes.

Expand full comment

She’s Shiv as far as I am concerned.

Expand full comment

Don’t get the reference but I suspect I agree ;)

Expand full comment

Shiv is a character on “Succession” who is allegedly the sensible daughter of a Rupert Murdoch-like character. It’s on HBO Max and it mirrors a deplorable family that controls the media.

Expand full comment

I am enlightened.

Expand full comment

Don't worry, folks! CRT will soon be back.

Back at my home town the Republicans got control of the school board and what was the first thing on their agenda? Yep, banning CRT. Second, Teachers must take loyalty oaths...

Expand full comment
author

it’s going to get ugly again

Expand full comment

What is the teachers union's position on these "loyalty oaths"? I wonder if they're even legal.

Expand full comment

50 years ago I was in high school and the only thing both the Teachers Union and the School Board cared about were winning football and basketball teams.

Expand full comment

I was in first grade and living in Florida in 1963. But not too young to notice the racism. My point was partly to point out that a lot of political turmoil is greater in certain areas of the country, like CRT. It's tailor made for southern red state bigots.

Expand full comment

Oh, I remember American history in my Western PA high school which taught Critical RACIST Theory defending Andrew Johnson, slamming Grant. Ignoring the KKK. And boy did they slime Earl Warren!

Expand full comment

I'm wondering how many of you saw George Will's horrifically racist op-ed in the WashPost this morning where he trashes the 1619 project as "feeding radicalism." I was so angered by it that I fired off a letter to their useless editor. I still can't get that piece out of my mind.

Expand full comment

Another old WASP who cannot believe that his entire charmed existence could have been predicated on the original “big lie.”

Expand full comment

And I still can hardly believe they published it, except that they also publish that outrageous asshole Marc Thiessen, who lies outright and is unchallenged for it.

Expand full comment

😳

Expand full comment

As non-American on this forum, it's been both a revelation & disappointment to find out how horribly bad the mainstream media cover politics in your country.

For years, I thought the mainstream media in my country, specifically the early evening newscasts, print tabloids, and radio shows were bad at covering political news because they preferred sensationalism & catering to the lowest common denominator over clear, concise, fact-based & sober reporting of the issues.

I didn't expect the American mainstream media to be just as bad, or even worse than what I've seen in my country. It's worse in the sense that they've got a double standard when covering Democrats & Republicans.

It's particularly more noticeable in the Biden administration than in previous Democratic administrations that there's too much focus on negative coverage while either downplaying or ignoring the GOP's far-right shift towards authoritarianism.

Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with those people? Have they somehow lost their conscience because they're too focused on their paychecks over holding the rich & powerful accountable?

Expand full comment

On what tablet is it written that the press must turn x amount of return on investment for owners?

Expand full comment

Recall that for years the FCC demanded that broadcasters devote a fixed percentage of their air time to "public service." Offering accurate and reliable news was a source of prestige rather than income. Deregulation by Reagan and then Clinton turned broadcast properties into something to buy and sell rather than an investment in the local community. Radio and TV stations and newspapers became (and are) commodities from which rich a**holes squeeze profits.

Expand full comment

I haven't watched local news in Los Angeles for years since they are obsessed with celebrities.

Expand full comment

“Everything is so stupid”.

- Molly Jong-Fast

Expand full comment

CRT truth is stranger than fiction. While the media continue to be frustrating, I can’t help but notice that Republicans are flipping out over the information the Jan. 6th Committee has released so far. It’s not even drip, drip, drip - someone left the faucet on. The media can continue to downplay it but House Republicans seem to get it: people are going to jail. Did anyone see Neal Katyal on MSNBC yesterday? He basically said that Louis Gohmert is an “insane kook” who makes Mark Meadows look like a statesman. Fun stuff. (We were a “Christmas With Coniff” and any Frank Sinatra holiday album kind of family.)

Expand full comment

And the media chided Nancy for kicking Jim Jordan off the committee.

Expand full comment

Great Bing Crosby song, tho I’m still a White Christmas gal myself 🎶.

Expand full comment
author

both are great;)

Expand full comment

The press are nothing but glorified stenographers for the GOP. Eric Alterman pegged it well in his terrific book "What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias And The News." The media are about as liberal as the John Birch Society.

The main problem as I see it is that the GOP fights asymmetrically, and we have never figured out how to respond or do that ourselves, because we are always so concerned with hurting people's feelings or strictly adhering to processes.

In essence, the GOP are like Mike Tyson in the Tyson Holyfield bout where Tyson was eventually disqualified for biting Holyfield's ears. Disqualification for ear biting is not listed in the Marquess of Queensberry rules which serve as the basis for boxing, so it didn't occur to the referee to disqualify him the first time he did it. But then when he bit the second ear, he was left with no choice. The media are supposed to be the referee, only they're really not interested in anything other than the continuation of the fight.

That is why there will be no disqualification of the GOP for peddling bullshit about CRT (or anything else). The Democrats need to learn that there is only way to address asymmetric behavior in a boxing match where there is no referee and your opponent bites off a piece of your ear, and that is to get asymmetric ourselves.

It's time for us to pack our gloves with brass knuckles and punch our opponents in the nuts. And when they claim that you're not fighting fair (as the po' wittel snowflakes will inevitably do), show the media the piece of your ear on the floor and punch them in the nuts again.

Expand full comment

First, I couldn't resist emailing The Times reporter who did a good job on the Delaware judge upholding Dominion's ability to sue Fux Noise and saying a great story would be why reporters don't treat those at Fux Noise on the same beat as the propagandists they are. The other great Eric of press criticism has some thoughts on this today, too.

Second, the video is a reminder of what I call the Crosby Christmas Rule: If he was the first to record the Christmas song, it should not be re-rerecorded. I apply this to "White Christmas" and "Do You Hear What I Hear," which isn't really a Christmas song but has come to be associated with the holiday.

Expand full comment