One of many things I miss about Athenae’s writing is her acute media analysis. I usually avoided the subject because, like James Bond, nobody does it better than A.
Athenae has an insider’s perspective whereas I’m a rank outsider. I’m going to give it a shot today because the MSM is busy creating drama where little or none exists. One could even call it a low drama trauma. (For the uninitiated, MSM = Mainstream Media.)
After mainlining absurdist drama from the Trump regime for 4 years, the MSM is having withdrawal symptoms. There’s still plenty of leftover drama from those dark days, but they can’t kick the habit.
The first thing I read this morning was Eric Boehlert’s Press Run newsletter:
President Joe Biden is getting trashed by Democrats over the Middle East!
Vice President Kamala Harris isn’t acknowledging her Asian heritage!
Those were two breathless dispatches Politico posted this week, as the Beltway insider outlet did its best to gin up drama surrounding the Democratic administration. Apparently still longing for the non-stop news cycle of the Trump era and the relentless controversies and scandals that came with it, Politico has decided that during the No Drama Biden era the best strategy is to just make stuff up and post it as news.
In both gotcha articles it became abundantly clear that Biden is not being trashed by Democrats regarding the Middle East. And Harris is not being widely criticized for downplaying her Indian roots. Both premises are fabrications. How do we know? Because neither article contained evidence to back up the click-bait headlines.
This is indefensible journalism, as Politico eagerly does the GOP’s bidding by trying to create controversies where none exist. The daily is hardly alone in this regard. The New York Times recently promoted a long article about Biden’s “short fuse” and “quick temper” in a piece that included no quotes or evidence of Biden’s “short fuse” and “quick temper.” But Politico does seem to be particularly aggressive in concocting unsupported storylines during the Biden era. And Politico is doing it with weighty topics that should not be used as ways to manufacture news.
That’s why Charlie Pierce calls it Tiger Beat On The Potomac.
Politico and the Gray Lady are not alone in having delirium tremens over the lack of daily scandals. One could call it the DT DTs.
Last night Rachel Maddow opened her show on the same overwrought note of Democratic disarray and Congressional fecklessness. The fecklessness was indeed there but the final vote count on the proposed 1/6 commission was 35 GOPers in support. Earlier in the day I saw former Politico guy and current Punchbowl News honcho Jake Sherman on MSNBC and he predicted only 15 to 20 aye votes. 35 votes indicates the weakness of KMac’s position as leader. Sounds dramatic to me.
On the subject of the Middle East, Boehlert had to this say:
The news outlet [Politico] could not find a single Democrat to “trash” Biden. The only quotes even remotely critical came from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) who said he was “troubled” by earlier U.S. votes at the United Nation against the call for a ceasefire. (Biden has since said he supports a ceasefire.) And a quote from Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who claimed Biden could stop the carnage “with one phone call,” which seems highly unlikely.
Instead, what the Politico article featured was a collection of thoughtful quotes from Democrats who are grappling with a complicated, long-running, and deadly foreign policy dilemma.
Even when relations between Israeli prime ministers and American president have been close, the US has never been able to stop Israeli actions with one phone call. Plus, relations between Biden and Bibi are strained to say the least and the world is not that simple.
Back to Rachel who I think of as a friend or relative who occasionally goes off the rails because she loves drama. She went on and on about the negotiations between the White House and Senate Republicans. As crazy as it sounds, it’s all being done for the benefit of the Mr. Kite of the Senate, Joe Manchin.
Cue musical interlude:
Proof positive that it’s still Beatles month at First Draft. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Back to the Man of La Manchin. He’s as much of a drama queen as Rachel. He loves being in the spotlight of the negotiations. There’s every indication that the White House will soon pull the plug on negotiations and either emerge with 2 infrastructure bills (one with GOP support for traditional infrastructure) or push the American Jobs Plan through via reconciliation. A bipartisan bill would be a coup for the White House and if GOP “moderates” cannot deliver Team Biden can say they tried. Manchin is not the only one who wants bipartisan co-operation, the voters do too. Besides, the damn bill hasn’t even passed the House yet.
This is not the first time the MSM has experienced withdrawal symptoms. It happened after Watergate too. The media spent the Ford and Carter years in search of the next big scandal, which resulted in blowing up minor affairs such as Lancegate or Koreagate by affixing a gate to things that, in the big picture, were no big whoop. Anyone else remember Tongsun Park?
I used a still of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell as the featured image because His Girl Friday is one of the best movies ever made about the media. They’re always chasing a story. That’s their job. It’s not their job to gin up drama where none exists.
It’s time for the MSM to get the Trump monkey off their back even if they have to do it Cold Turkey. That’s why John Lennon gets the last word.