So Many In The Media Are Failing Us

Yesterday, CBS Sunday Morning had a story about a man leading a movement to move the borders of Idaho to include roughly two-thirds of Oregon. It is led by a man named Mike McCarter.

In the piece, McCarter, an Oregonian from the eastern part of the state, is portrayed as a man frustrated by not being heard and feels “his way of life” is under attack. Like so, so many of these kinds of stories, what exactly that means is left unsaid. Compare that, for instance, to The Atlantic’s story about McCarter’s movement.

It included this passage:

McCarter sees himself as a peaceful guy proximate to violent movements. When he retired from working in plant nurseries and started running a gun club, members of the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters, and the Project Appleseed prepper group practiced at his shooting range. People’s Rights, the anti-government activist Ammon Bundy’s new far-right network, has asked him to speak at its events. “I know there’s some people that have talked about ‘If this continues on, people are going to pick up their guns,’” McCarter said. “Rural people—their values, the way they live, their faith, their freedom—are closely tied to what Idaho is, so why not adjust the border? Just let us go peacefully.”

That comes off as a threat in multiple ways. There’s also this from The Atlantic piece:

Plenty of rural Oregonians balk at the suggestion of becoming Idahoans. I spoke with many who see themselves as the less vocal majority, and some who’d never even heard of the measure. “We would only lose by becoming part of Idaho,” Isabelle Fleuraud, a yoga teacher who helped establish the Harney County Democrats during the Bundy standoff, told me. “It’s like a John Wayne movie, that imaginary ideal past of Harney County.” She told me she was exhausted by Greater Idaho supporters’ tendency to blame faraway Democratic overlords—Oregon Governor Kate Brown in Salem, and the federal government in D.C.—for all of the region’s ills.

In the CBS story, you did not hear anything from people opposed to the measure, which gave the idea that most people in that region are for it. There was also no mention of how that part of Oregon is home to violent radicals like Ammon Bundy.

Like in my post last week about John Fetterman’s use of close captions and the awful framing of that by some in the media, I gave examples of both the bad and good in media. I did this because a very mistaken notion that often comes up in these discussions is the idea that somehow there is this homogeneous entity called The Media and that is just not true. The media industry is made up of a variety of formats, outlets, and individuals, and that includes this very blog. So it is not monolithic.

But enough of those with the largest bullhorns do not seem to be interested in giving the full picture. I suppose that if you are trying to be “unbiased” it would be hard to be “unbiased” if one side is doing and saying clearly terrible things.

For example, what Mehdi Hasan is talking about here is indeed terrible on several levels. There is a clear rise in antisemitism coming from the right.

It takes a lot of forms. Here is a prominent conservative pundit “just asking questions.”

I somehow feel that if this was coming from the left, the discussion about it on the nightly news programs and cable news would be nonstop. And yet, Republicans and conservatives are continuing to push the envelope and move into some really terrible areas.

And yet, many Americans are not aware of this. I’ve had discussions with friends who do not seem to understand what Republicans are trying to do. After the initial shock of the Dobbs decision, they seem to be back to acting like this is 1998 and it makes sense to read the voting guide to determine who to vote for. Inflation is rightfully a major issue, but many in the media’s framing of that issue, as something that Democrats have dropped the ball on, is at best debatable (Bernie Sanders did a nice job retorting to one of the media’s greatest offenders, Chuck Todd, on this subject).

I will add that few in the media actually ask Republicans how they will solve inflation.

I won’t even get into how the media has seemed less interested in the January 6 hearings. You won’t see a breakdown as good as our First Draft leader’s breakdown of the final hearing on the evening news.

All of this has me worried, like my First Draft colleague Cassandra, about the growth of fascism around the world. I worry that more people are not worried. That didn’t work out for us back around this time in 2016, when people did not seem to get the Why behind Trump’s support, and that he was a very dangerous person. Some in the media were at fault there as well. We’ll see in about three weeks whether our worries were unfounded.

The last word goes to Steely Dan.