The Normalizing Olympics
I just canceled my NYT online subscription and signed up to be a paid Press Run subscriber.
The main reason I believe that this escapes more scrutiny and or front page stature is the fact that the right-wing led Sinclair Group is now in control of 90% of the news we are "allowed" to see in newspapers, on radio, and even on CNN, MSNBC to a certain extent (Fox being exempt for their known right-wing bias).
We need a new Fairness Doctrine written and made law and we also need to break up these conglomerations and virtual monopolies that control the content of information in the USA.
Until that is addressed there will be little, if any, change in the way our information is dispersed, while at the same time making sure that what gets the most attention is the unvarnished (certified) truth.
MSNBC'S Morning Joe just spent 20+ minutes in the first half of its 2nd hour (7am EST) talking all about Trump's martial law meeting with Sydney Powell and Michael Flynn and senior aides. They also talked about it for a bit in the first hour (the first 20 minutes of which is regularly repeated in the 3rd hour). Journalist panel included Yamiche Alcindor of PBS, Jonathan Lemire of AP and Peter Baker of The New York Times. They all agreed this is one of the most egregious ideas he's considered in his administration.
I don't know what unnerved me more over the weekend, the story itself or the fact I could not find it treated as important as it should have been by the media. As stories trickled in below the virtual fold online, the reporting was cursory and it's a story that demanded much more detail and attention. In the few buried articles to be found, where was the reporting on facts that the president doesn't have such extreme unilateral power or that the Army, that has since posted, is not in the business of rerunning elections? It simply wasn't there. Regardless of its lack of plausibility, the fact that a White House meeting was held discussing such an option with batshit crazy advisors including a pardoned seditionist requires the much redundant "BREAKING NEWS" banner on the chyron. I swear that the media has stock in the Pharma companies that produces anxiety medications.
Hey, it's the weekend before Christmas: do you really expect the WH press corp to work? They haven't worked for four years and they're getting awfully comfortable regurgitating the same old story lines, gossip and "analysis" day after day. A discussion of a military coup suggested by a sitting President can wait.
I confess, I forwarded this to Dean Baquet and said, "Please learn from history." But they're too busy apologizing over a podcast to apologize to the country for four years of normalizing treason, bigotry, and rape, and for screwing up coverage of politics for 30 years.
“rocket booster” for Colorado Democrats” and herein lies the biggest, most baffling mystery of them all: why in the world do GOP leaders and the press give Trump so much power? He’s poison for Republican candidates, on top of being toxic for America in general. So why do Republicans keep aligning with him?
These articles are REALLY good and really useful to those of us who read the NYT, WaPo and other favorites like the Atlantic, etc. I think we desperately need your perspective on things as I have also found the Times in particular, to look for 'disarray'-type stories just when optimism and solidarity are so desperately needed. It's almost like the press can't just let something be good for a little while.
I think they (and we to a degree) have become both addicted and numb to the real disarray this president has caused with his cast of deranged players. I'm always torn between thinking they deserve either sirens or zero attention.
I know Mr. Trump and he represents everything ignoble about our species. He is dangerous and reckless and sadly for him (and us) incapable of accountability. His enablers in government do not help and those who are in the business of saving souls are certainly not doing their best to get him back on 'the path'. Between unbridled self interest and normalizing outrageous behavior, I am very grateful to have voices like yours speaking to the real issues at hand.
Trump claims these reports are "fake news." Well alrighty then. (That makes the front page. Geesh!) Thanks for your reporting on reporting.
I thought I read that Dominion sent a cease and desist letter to Sydney Powell and Trump's campaign. It is a precursor to a defamation lawsuit. Trump's campaign has been told to preserve everything. Seems the Trump Sydney Powell story has taken the oxygen from . Dominion claimed that their employees have been harassed and threatened.
Thank you for this piece, Eric Boehlert. I think pieces like yours work generally as part of media accountability. Any serious and fair-minded follower of the news knows that the press has since 2015 helped in no small way to normalize some of Trump’s most outrageous behavior through its timid reporting and false equivalences. So, efforts like yours must be commended. We cannot be too careful.
However, I do not think that in this specific case, there is any dark agenda behind the way and manner the Times and the other news houses are reporting the martial law story. Indeed, there are a number of reasons why it should not be front-page news, but one I readily agree with is that we cannot be feeding Trump’s ego by making any of his impotent threats at this time big news. This particular one deserves to be reported in the downgraded way the Times reported it. The Times has done the most important thing by first making the report and the next most important thing is to treat it like a threat from a kindergarten monster. It sends a message that no one is taking that threat seriously and, truly, no one should. America is not a banana republic. Trump’s plan is to spread panic amongst Americans by proposing outrageous stuff as part of his plan to remain in office, but the democratic institutions are working seamlessly to ensure he’s out of there by January 20. So, who cares if he threatens to invite Russian soldiers to seize American streets, so he can remain in power? We should only be genuinely alarmed if this was not reported at all or if in reporting, the Times and the others justify it.
As for the reports on Biden and his cabinet-designates and the the discontentment in some quarters following all that, it’s not a big deal. It’s expected. Biden cannot please everybody. We are not fighting for Biden to be given a free pass. There is nothing in the reports so far that should get us worked up. In the eyes of discerning people who understand what America should be doing now, Biden has been making the right noises and taking the right actions. The press reporting on some disgruntlement in the camp won’t change that.
Please, with regard to Trump, no need for a circular firing squad; let’s focus on January 6 and January 20 and ensure that America returns to some normalcy. Trump and his antics are not worth the angst against the New York Times and the others we think aren’t reporting the martial law story with adequate alarm.
I am no apologist for the NYT. Is it possible the Times was not trying to hide the subject, but to avoid it to keep the crazies quiet for a day or two. The Military has already stated they would not follow an illegal command. Plus, I heard someone on MSNBC stating simply, elections are state issues. Trump would have no legal authority to do what he is speaking of. Also, that is a bug put in his ear by the most corrupt General Flynn. One of the retired Generals said last nigh, Flynn should be Court Martialed and have his ranking pulled and tossed. He is an Military Man. He should be stripped of everything because he is inciting civil unrest over something that cannot be done. He is delusional these days. Just like Rudy and his crazy female partner. They need to be sanctioned by ABA, then disbarred and face charges for what they are doing
I don't know if one size fits all -- some of them may think they're declining to feed the monster.
In the year 2020, is where a story appeared in the physical newspaper really the best measure of a news organization's judgment about the story's importance?