If you follow the rising tide of extremism in the US you’ve no doubt come across Ben Collins, who, in his own words, follows the dystopia beat for NBC News. He’s done a lot of good work that is becoming more visible, unfortunately, as the number and rate of extremist attacks rise.
On Tuesday Collins was on Morning Joe, where he made this extraordinary request of his fellow journalists:
I talked this morning about an inflection point in this country right now, specifically for reporters:
What are you more afraid of? Being on Breitbart for saying that trans people deserve to be alive?
Or are you more afraid of waking up to the news of more dead people? pic.twitter.com/1B4FqNrZSQ
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) November 22, 2022
What’s worse is that the Colorado murders have now energized the extremist right who happily made appearances on extremist right wing media outlets:
There’s a significant percentage of Americans that believe the brutal murder of their fellow Americans is at best collateral damage or at worst justifiable homicide.
Let’s be crystal fucking clear about what we are watching: the use of genocidal rhetoric on national television. https://t.co/4mgM70Jvxl
— Teddy Wilson (@reportbywilson) November 23, 2022
I called the Collins request “extraordinary” because it’s increasingly clear that political journalism is broken. Reporters should not have to begged to report on serious dangers to our nation. But political journalism is about clout—clout in the halls of power and clout in the newsroom outside the editor’s door. The more clout you have, the closer you are to power, and power attracts power. Political journalists, especially those in DC, live in this world, and its main currency is your distance from the Oval Office.
On the morning that 5 people were murdered for either being LGBTQ people or for supporting LGBTQ people, President Biden’s granddaughter Naomi got married on the South Lawn. I thought it was kind of sweet and it seemed natural to hold it where her beloved grandfather lived. I loved my grandparents and I grew up in a house connected to the house where my maternal grandparents lived. My dad’s parents were just up the hill, 2 blocks away.
The White House Press Association asked Biden if a few of its members, that he would approve, could attend the event. The president declined the offer. Case closed, right? Nope. It only started the whining:
The bride and groom could have chosen a private space to hold a private wedding. Using the White House which belongs to the American people gives this event a public component and thus the WH press should have been approved to cover a portion of the event for historical record. https://t.co/xtFDYWhy6O
— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) November 19, 2022
Freezing our butts off and defogging the binoculars for you, reader. For you. https://t.co/pc0UN4mAbV
— Hank Stuever (@hankstuever) November 19, 2022
And then the wedding was over, and so the topic was closed, right? Nope.
Still fuming that they weren’t invited to the private wedding of a stranger so they could yell rude question to Dark Brandon and show their editors their journalism skills, they started up again on Tuesday.
See, a while back Naomi Biden had done a photo shoot for Vogue and the digital story was up over the weekend. It included a few photos clearly taken by the wedding photographer (and were clearly attributed to him) during the event. The wailing was deafening…because none of these highly paid and highly regarded reporters…bothered to read the Vogue article:
I spent four years covering the Trump WH and two years covering the Biden WH. What’s fascinating is that they both lie, albeit in v different ways. Trump team was shameless, whereas Biden team is too cute by half. https://t.co/AphB967gHE
— Ashley Parker (@AshleyRParker) November 22, 2022
Remember we’re talking about reporters at major news outlets here.
I can’t. I just can’t.
Five people happy that other people were happy were murdered by a hater on the night of a sweet wedding celebration. Out here in our real world, where our currency is dollars and cents, one political party keeps drawing from the poisoned well of hate and using that hate to kill happy people. And the White House reporters are mad at Biden because he didn’t invite them to the family party. It’s a broken system and very few people inside it want to fix it.
The whole thing reminds me of The Plastics in “Mean Girls”: