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Great piece, Eric. And lots of pushback on Twitter for Mr. Shear! My favorite:

"Clearly the people who are struggling to adjust to the post trump era are the national press corps.

I know it's not easy to transition from writing about gossip & palace intrigue to policy.

Perhaps someone should come up with a #BuildBackBetter strategy for the media."

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author

Ha! That is great response

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We do not often get to see the truth spoken about the media embrace of Trump because of his entertainment value in a competitive news environment, but it does happen from time to time. Remember Les Moonves: “(Trump) may not be good for America, but (he's) damn good for CBS” (February 2016). Of course, we never needed the direct evidence to know profit is a corporate news fundamental, but the occasional confession from the press is nice. As if that were not bad enough, we also have to deal with the reality that some people who write and speak the news would prefer writing and speaking about entertaining things just because they are more entertaining to write and speak about. But some others have actual journalistic values. Thanks again, Eric.

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agreed, the direct quotes from journalists missing Trump are quite revealing

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The AP recently ran a piece in the NYT that explored the meaning of Biden’s way of whispering in his speeches. AHHHH! Really? That’s supposed to be news? It’s the msm that has become boring in its search for gotchas at the expense of substance and/or any sense of political history. I read in another Politico piece that Biden was ‘naive’ to have put a July 4 deadline on his goal to achieve 70 million shots in arms. The writer is a personable, earnest YOUNG reporter with seemingly no idea that the senior Biden might know a bit more about that than he does. IMO it’s the msm that has become boring. It’s an unbelievable time in our history and all that many in the media spew is ignorant pablum with no news value. Were none of them reporting pre FG; he’s the anomaly, not Biden nor any of his other predecessors.

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whispering! oh the humanity….

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At the risk of 'ageism' (me being 73 and around the block more than once), I have to admit that when I click on these articles, fewer and fewer clicks all the time I might add, the balloon over my head reads 'millennials'.

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founding

Many in our generation — older baby boomers — had that attitude back in the day. I always thought it was ridiculous and likely the majority of us did too but the media ran with it. The media mostly ignores the issue of ageism which has been really devastating for many older Americans. My husband got fired when he was in his fifties along with many others in his company. It was blatantly about age. In fact his boss told him he was fired because his biggest account was unhappy with him. That account then got him an even better job at another company in that industry!

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Yes, totally ignores. A close friend, just 65, just lost one of her classes at a major Philadelphia area university because of ageism. And this, having worked there for at least five years, part-time, because they don't want to pay benefits. For those of us who know what it WAS like, it's all very depressing.

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founding

In 2009 our right wing Supreme Court made it harder for employees to prove age discrimination by making them prove age was the main factor in their firing. That is a different, higher standard than is required for race of sex bias under the Civil Rights Act. The liberal justices rightly pointed out that the rightwingers were making law, not interpreting it. The media has largely ignored this decision and the double standard it created.

During the crash I had several neighbors get let go. All were in their fifties and had a hard time with health insurance costs. What really blew my mind was that one couple still voted for Republicans, even Trump. Watching Fox News convinced them to vote for people who are a danger to their health.

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I remember so well; laid off from my job as a computer programmer in 2008 and I had a friend in employment law; he looked at the list of the people who were laid off and said 'they got rid of just enough younger ones so that you can't start a lawsuit'....meanwhile, my manager was so pissed off that he had me go to a consulting firm and hired me back that way. hahaha I know many were not so lucky.

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"IMO it’s the msm that has become boring." My opinion too.

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Months ago, I said that our Failed Political Press ™ loved TFG because he made them part of the story by screaming “FAKE NEWS” and “ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE” at them. Acosta figured it out early and his WHCA beat turned into a major storyline that he was shut out, and night after night reported on, well, himself.

Suddenly the press felt relevant. They reported on being attacked at rallies, shunned at briefings, disregarded as the 4th Branch of the Government. Their headlines screamed that journalism itself was under attack!

It was easy/lazy reporting. TFG called them himself, to give them scoops, as did everyone else in the White House.

Our Failed Political Press ™ was having a playdate with another narcissistic 2-year old. Our Failed Political Press ™ wants to have the notoriety back.

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Not for nothin', but I distinctly recall that during the same period you claim the media was reveling in narcissistic victimhood, there were constant, unrelenting complaints that they weren't making a *big enough* deal of the ruling regime attacking and demonizing the 4th estate, often demanding almost explicitly that any journalist worthy of the name should self-immolate in indignant protest.

One of the reasons I appreciate Eric Boehlert so much is that he occasionally overcomes this perpetual inability to ever be satisfied no matter what which masquerades as knowledgable concern among the postmodern cognoscenti.

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Who is TFG?

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TFG = The Former Guy, which is President Biden’s nickname for Trump.

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Yes, Acosta is no dummy.

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To me, Acosta is now irrelevant.

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But Kevin criticized him for "reporting on, well, himself" while suggesting that he craved the attention and it was "lazy reporting".

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Eric, just one more thing — in case you missed this terrific new tweet from the great Marc Elias:

Marc E. Elias @marceelias

Much of the national media's reporting on voting rights is terrible. It's lib. arts grads with a subscript. to SSRN doing "both sides."

@POTUS:"We're are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War."

Reporter: I took poli sci in college & don't agree.

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"Much of the national media's reporting on voting rights is terrible. It's lib. arts grads"

I agree with Marc Elias. Democrats are being dishonest in my opinion about some aspects of GOP voting legislation, specifically about voter ID and offering food and water. In what sane country is ID not required to vote? That's nonsensical, but the Democrats have hitched their wagon to it. Instead of lying, Democrats have to help those without ID to get ID.

How many liberals believe that Kamala Harris is telling the truth when she says, “If you are going to be standing in that line for all those hours, you can’t have any water or any food.” Such a bizarre lie, because voters can bring their own food and water, or (perhaps) a family member is allowed to supply food and water. Only a person walking up and down the line offering food and water is (sensibly) outlawed. (Harris was Biden’s first big mistake in my opinion, except that she has always lied like a carpet and millions of overwrought liberals probably believe that false statement, so maybe she’s a plus.)

The new voting laws say (my phrasing), that strangers cannot offer voters at polling stations what may be an inducement to vote one side or the other. Not allowing inducements is a bedrock of democracy. You may say that kind people offering water is not an inducement, it’s a kindness. And so it may be, but even in countries where there is not raging mistrust of voting, offering an inducement is illegal. If in Canada, for example, where voting is trusted, a stranger went up and down a line of voters offering water, most Canadians would think that was strange and some would complain that the person giving out water might be trying to influence voters.

But, as I said, the Democrats think they have a live one and are milking it for all it’s worth, even though to do so is dishonest. And they may be milking the wrong cow, because 80% Of Americans Support Voter ID Rules Poll Finds

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2021/06/21/80-of-americans-support-voter-id-rules-but-fewer-worried-about-fraud-poll-finds/?sh=25ac33ae1e0b

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Hey, pardner, you're better off peddling your bullshit on a site where people are actually stupid enough to believe that crap. The crowd here? We smell gaslighting a mile away.

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What these journalists are actually saying is that they miss Trump because he made their jobs incredibly easy. Big stories just dropped in their laps day after day after day. No digging or enterprise required. Tedious, protracted development of inside sources? No bother. The Trump people sang like canaries.

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Shades of Network.

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"mad as hell" etc. hahaha

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The GOP is all about “sound and fury, signifying nothing.” They are almost purely performative - they work at providing a spectacle for the press. The press has become addicted to it.

The other side of coin is the open contempt they have for the press, their attacks on it. The press responds with “Please sir, may I have another.” Afraid of being cut off from their pushers, they put up with it to get their next fix.

Trump could openly attack a reporter and the rest would just sit, instead of walking out en masse.

I would call this Stockholm Syndrome except it’s worse.

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Hi Eric....this....from the NYT pathetic show of 'journalism'..."an admission that highlights a tendency toward delivering minutiae-filled discourse over scaling oratorical heights.” Um, 'over' is the operative word...as in ... did TFG actually scale those heights? No, I don't think so. These journalists seriously have their heads up their arses and every sane person knows it...and most love PBS documentaries, btw. Yes, loving Julia Ioffe's newsletter, Tomorrow Will Be Worse, as well. Have a good day and thank you for what you are doing.

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author

especially amazing MUT commentary considering the mess that predated Biden

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I don't think Eric or commenters here should assume all readers know that the initials they use are known by every reader. MUT for example, and TFG.

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founding

This is the same tactic the mainstream media used to trash boring ol’ Al Gore and help elect the “more fun to have a beer with” Dubya. I am still appalled that the august “Dean of Washington Journalists”, David Broder, actually said this about Gore’s convention speech:

"But, my, how he went on about what he wants to do as president," wrote Broder. "I almost nodded off." How insane is it that a serious journalists would publicly complain that a candidate told the public what he planned to do if elected? I guess Broder would have preferred Gore do a song and dance to keep Broder’s attention.

I remember how journalists and pundits trashed a speech Bill Clinton gave to Congress as boring, a “laundry list”, too long, etc. They were convinced the public had hated it. Then the overnight polls came in showing that the public had liked the speech and that people had not tuned out as it went on. Journalists expressed surprise and embarrassment making me naively believe that they would change their attitude.

In addition to wanting more readers, the media, even younger ones, long for the imaginary glamor days of JFK’s Camelot. Their attitude is also evidence of their disdain for the public whom they assume to be as shallow and easily bored by substance as they are. I would bet that the majority of us are relieved to no longer have all that excitement driving us to distraction and like to hear some substantive proposals to fix the very real problems we deal with in our daily lives. Too bad so many journalists and pundits don’t.

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author

Good pt re: Gore—he was too smart!

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sad, yes, he was smart...he was talking vehemently about that hoax called climate change, in 2000.

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I agree with all you wrote Theodora, except that I believe the media must have the pulse of the people or be out of businesses. It knows that most people want to be entertained. That is why there is a billion-dollar entertainment industry and entertainers are revered. They saw that 62 million Americans voted for the lying, cheating, entertaining narcissist from the lowest of the low - reality TV.

"Journalists and pundits" should think as you do, but they have families to provide for and so they have to know what pays their salaries. High principles come at a stiff cost. Only the pundits and journalists who are so well established with a large following can afford your standards.

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I didn't think we'd ever have another semi-literate president like George W. Bush, who delivered a speech like a 5th grader reading a college thesis...proud of himself for pronouncing all the words without having a clue what those words meant. And then came Trump, who made W seem like Daniel Webster. But he was "dramatic." <sigh>

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I keep thinking about how much better off we would be today if Gore had been elected. I believe he lost in large part because of the way the media belittled him while praising Bush because he was “ an ordinary guy” and more fun to have a beer with”. This article about Frank Bruni’s fawning coverage of Bush and his utter disdain for Gore because Gore didn’t attend to the “little things” like giving journalists childish, demeaning nicknames. (Bruni’s was “Panchito” which delighted him.)

Bruni later became a harsh critic of Bush but has never acknowledged, let alone apologized for helping elect Bush in the first place.

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We are all so so so weary of the drama. Goes to show what four years of a circus in the WH can do to oneself.

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This piece alone is worth my monthly subscription.

My comment here is related to the subject of Biden and the media, though here I refer to the dishonesty and disinformation about Biden on some political sites.

PolitiFact rates politicians’ statements from True to Pants on Fire. I only had to read one of their facts checked to know that PolitiFact can't be trusted.

Specifically, this statement by Biden which PolitiFact rates half true: “We have now created over 3 million jobs since I took office, more jobs than have ever been created in the first five months of any presidency in modern history.”

When read carefully, one sees that not one "fact" that PolitiFact uses to prove why it rates that statement “half true” contradicts Biden's statement. All their proofs that Biden is not being honest are non-sequiturs.

For example, PolitiFact writes:

"Biden glosses over the reality that the U.S. economy remains almost 6.8 million jobs under its pre-pandemic peak."

That statement is not related to Biden's statement. It does not disprove Biden’s statement. It is an entirely new subject.

The "fact" check on Biden’s statement is full of non-sequiturs like that one, which profess to prove that Biden is playing fast and loose with the truth.

Which is it: that PolitiFact deliberately misleads, or that the writer lacks critical logic skills?

What I do know is that it’s not worth my time to read PolitiFact.

https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2021/jul/09/joe-biden/joe-biden-target-early-job-gains-figure-leaves-out/

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Love to hear your thoughts , Eric. Always look forward to seeing you on Stephanie Miller's show.

Thanks for your adept commentary on what poses as journalism these days...

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“ Carl Perkins Cadillac “ knocked some of the edge off my anger with the so called MSM pundits/ journalists. No matter whether you are left or right, these people don’t have a F ing clue as to what we are thinking about, and don’t give two shits if the USA is on the brink of losing democracy. I can’t stand them.

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Stories, like this one, are why I despise the Liberally Biased Mainstream Media™ with all my being. They're not watchdogs for the public. They're lapdogs for Republicans who want to inject as much cruelty and misery as inhumanly possible while being praised as real leaders.

Democracy will die in the dark because of this collection of Chuck Todd wannabe hacks!

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You are absolutely right. They are loathsome.

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If I were in charge of any news operation, I would demand to know who said these things, and see to it that they were fired. On the spot.

I almost called them reporters. That is an insult to people who actually practice journalism.

I'm also reminded of Allen Drury, who devolved into a right-wing mouthpiece but, after working at The Times and writing Advise and Consent, talked about how important it was to "stand tall in Georgetown." That's what mattered. Not actually being good. Now, to be fair, those were in the days when he had been part of the brilliant Washington bureau of The Times that James Reston built, and they were too often too cozy, but they also could actually report. Unlike today's denizens of the DC political media brothel.

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There is still so much stupidity around for the press to glom onto. Why aren't they doing it? Look at Texas this very day. The senile governor is trying to out-Trump Trump! He's going to arrest the Democrats for trying to stop voter suppression laws from being passed in Texas. Where is the outrage? What about deSantis trying to prevent people from being vaccinated by his inane political moves! Every red state in this country is trying to or has enacted voter suppression laws. Has every member of the press lost their sense of morality and ethics along with the Republicans? What is going on in this country is so disheartening and frightening.

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Sadly there is no journalism as far as the mainstream goes. As your article points out, it's all about theatre. Today's mainstream media reporting is the equivalent of Nero fiddling while Rome burned. It would almost be funny if it was not for the fact that the Republicans' continue to assault our democracy in the form of the Big Lie. The Rs are preparing for the next election, sewing doubt of its results when it doesn't go their way. Meanwhile the Democrats are showing how bad they are at combating the Republicans. We keep waiting day after day for Garland's DOJ to do something and it never comes. Let's face it, America is broken and it likely will become a fascist state before it ever gets fixed. Yep, I know I'm a downer but the fourth estate, the mainstream media, that was designed to keep our democracy free, has clearly teamed up with the bad guys. I find it very difficult to feel optimistic. How sad that is considering the Democrats won the presidency and both houses.

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I'm hoping that with all of the years in Congress, etc, Joe Biden has a few more cards to play. He's no dummy. Hopeful yes, but dumb, no.

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The problem is the Dems are honest brokers and represent our common democratic values. They’re fighting w/one hand behind their backs as Rs like to break all the rules and play dirty w/abandon and glee. How can you fight that JOE MANCHIN???? Did someone say ‘filibuster’ ?

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You're right. I recall what Leo Durocher said about nice guys however :)

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