Media criticism was not my beat until recently. I left it to Athenae because at times it feels as if one is smashing one’s head against the wall. It’s that frustrating. They *should* know better but they stick to their old bad habits of both-siderism and refusal to call a lie a lie.
I hoped that lessons would be learned from the insane Trump regime and its even crazier aftermath. Apparently, they have not been. In the immortal words of John Hiatt:
I’ve already devoted a series of posts to the MSM’s Afghanistan coverage, so I shan’t go there again in detail. I did, however, find it bizarre that after years of ignoring Afghanistan, it became the only story that mattered for a few weeks. It was a typical media feeding frenzy. They’ve moved on to the missing blonde chick. Ain’t nothing that drives traffic like someone dying young and leaving an attractive corpse. Cynical but true.
The MSM is now focusing its attention on congressional Democrats. They’re trying to wring as much drama out of the situation as possible. Unfortunately, they’re getting it wrong.
The post title is a play on the media’s “Democrats in disarray” fixation. It’s yet another example of lazy journalism as the “disarray” really involves a dozen house members and two senators. There’s broad agreement among both Senate and House Dems as to the content of the reconciliation bill. The debate, such as it is, is over numbers and our old buddy optics.
There’s always panic and drama leading up to a vote on a major bill. The current problem is that the difficult Democrats are focused on positioning and optics, not substance. The House progressive caucus is simply exercising the leverage it has to ensure that the reconciliation bill will be voted on. Speaker Pelosi gets this even the media does not. Make that prefers not to. They want drama and disarray and it’s all Manchin, Sinema, and their cohort in the House have to offer.
The media is fixated on numbers, which are admittedly unprecedented. We’re used to thinking in terms of billions, not trillions. But Team Biden’s motto seems to be go big or go home. The latter is what will happen if both infrastructure bills are not passed. Think 1994 after the failure of the Clinton health care plan. That’s why this needs to happen, especially with the GOP in the hands of the lunatic fringe. The current group makes the Gingrich gang look like moderates. They were not.
The best thing any Democratic Congresscritter has said about the current impasse comes from Jim Himes of the Nutmeg Sate:
“When Democrats allow a debate to be only about a number, it’s like talking about a Christmas party and only discussing the hangover.”
A reminder that it’s Republicans who have run up the deficit and the national debt with massive tax cuts under Reagan, W, and Trump. Democrats have been obliged to clean up the mess and focus on austerity. That’s why so many national priorities have been ignored since 1980.
The current Democratic leadership of Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer are refusing to play the austerity game. That’s also bugged the media. We’re supposed to be the responsible adults cleaning up the Republican mess. They get to gorge on cake and ice cream while we’re supposed to eat liver and cauliflower. Fuck that shit.
The rhetoric began to calm down somewhat yesterday as negotiations continued. I have a dream: that the Man of La Manchin and the Sinematic Senator will take a vow of silence. They have nothing to offer except for confusion. There’s plenty of that without their contributions.
The featured image comes from one of my favorite newspaper movies, His Girl Friday. The current MSM is neither as funny nor as charming as Walter Burns or Hildy Johnson. Walter, however, would thrive in the current media environment. Chaos was his middle name.
The last word goes to John Entwistle with a song featuring this chorus:
I’m gonna bring you down to my size
One of these days I’m gonna make you fall
I’m gonna bring you down to my size
Smash your head against the wall.
Pass the aspirin, I have a media-induced headache.
UPDATE: I spoke too soon about the rhetoric calming down. All hell broke loose several hours after this posted. Oh well, what the hell.