Media Watchdog Jay Rosen, an NYU professor, has been one of the Eyes on the Fails regarding how our American media is largely, well, failing to properly cover our march into autocracy. His writing is a must-read. Yesterday, he actually saw a glimmer of hope in the form of a CNN appearance by Juicy Trump Book Author Jon Karl, who is also a Well-Respected White House Correspondent with ABC News.
Rosen is a realist and not one to get snookered easily into false hope. So if he sees some good news here, that’s pretty huge. Karl is talking about “conversations” beginning to happen in large newsrooms about how to cover a potential 2024 Trump run. Karl openly calls him an “anti-democratic” candidate, progress for a guy who thought those of us who were alarmed by Trump winning as hysterical.
This is great and all, but I’m still skeptical. “Conversations” are not actual actions and the word “conversations” implies there very well could be push-back against covering Trump any differently than they did from 2015-2020. This might not even happen, this hoped for change in approach.
Also, as Rosen ends his Twitter thread with, there are a lot of concerns that these same media outlets/figures will not apply the same approach to the Republican Party. Because the Republican Party is also interested in wrecking democracy, and covering Trump as some sort of fringe outlier would not be much of an improvement.
As a friend pointed out, the source should be considered here. Karl sat on news that Trump was all for hanging his vice president and didn’t report it so he could include it in his book. Those ethics are not great.
In any event, let’s hope Karl is right and this shift in focus actually happens. But I’m not holding my breath.
Kyle Rittenhouse is actually not impersonating the Gilbert Gottfried-era AFLAC Duck here but instead having a curiously tear-free sobbing breakdown on the courtroom stand yesterday.
The Kyle Rittenhouse trial is, unfortunately, going exactly as some of us expected. It features a suspiciously sympathetic judge who has the Conservative National Anthem as his ringtone. Yesterday, it also featured the greatest bad crying performance by a right-winger since Beer Guy Brett Kavanaugh demonstrated his fitness for the Supreme Court bench by fake wailing during his confirmation hearing. Based on a few of the images, like the one above, Rittenhouse appears to be less crying and more offering a Gilbert Gottfried impression.
The judge has done some eyebrow-raising things that seem suspiciously sympathetic to the defendant. Rittenhouse has received a tremendous amount of support from the right, such as a Twitter thread vomited out by Meemaw’s Favorite Ohio Senate Candidate, Alleged Author J.D. Vance. Oh, well-meaning libs who were brow-beating me into reading his book back in 2016…do you see now why some of us were telling you he is a grifter playing on well-do-to people’s deep hatred of low-income people? He’s really reasonable, huh? Suckers.
Anyway, Rittenhouse is not the only one who just may get away with a political crime. Grotesque Marvel Supervillain Steve Bannon got contempt dropped on him by Congress for defying a Congressional subpoena. On Monday, after a D.C. district judge shot down Rape and Fast Food Enthusiast Donald Trump’s attempt to stop the National Archives from sending records to the January 6 committee, the committee issued some new subpoenas, including ones to Second-Rate Mob Attorney John Eastman (who, you know, actually wrote a SIX POINT PLAN TO COMMIT A COUP), Character Straight Out of Dr. Strangelove Michael Flynn, and That Other Guy Jason Miller.
At this point, the ball’s in Oddly Cautious Guy Merrick Garland’s court, and it seems like there is not much happening, as Garland has all the urgency of a three-toed sloth on valium. There is a lot of back and forth about what Garland is exactly doing, ranging from a plea for patience from MSNBC’s Go-To Calm-Down-Everyone Pundit, Joyce Vance, to Lefty Word Slinger Eric Lutz’s pondering in Vanity Fair about what’s taking so damn long.
Really, I have no idea what Garland is up to, but chop-chop, Mr. AG. And if he’s one of those The System Is Fine We Must Trust the Institution types like Out of Touch Old Man Stephen Breyer, which I think he might be, we are in a lot of trouble as the right-wing eats those types like they’re a KFC four-piece meal on Trump’s jet. To all you institutionalists: The Mueller Report is nothing more than greasy bones on the tip-top plush carpeting now.
That’s not all as far as dangerous right-wingers seemingly getting away with it. Reuters dropped a remarkable piece of journalism, that frankly was scary as hell, about the Trump supporters who routinely terrorized election officials with death threats. The scary-as-hell part was how law enforcement’s response can be basically summarized in three letters: “meh.” And these guys have no regrets, so it is not too much of a leap to imagine where they might take this next.
It’s odd and maddening why our society is giving such a pass to the far right. You’d see none of the above if this defiance was coming from the left. People would be dead or in jail. Keep in mind, the January 6 insurrection attempt happened largely because law enforcement did not take the threat seriously specifically because it was coming from the right, and not those crazy Antifa types. So, for some reason, despite these people showing up over and over again at rallies armed to the teeth, the threat wasn’t taken seriously enough.
This is sending a really frightening message to not only the elites in the Trumpism circle, but to the rank and file. You can do whatever, and suffer no consequences. You can threaten to kill people, no one will care. You can actually kill people, and not only likely will get away with it, but it also would be a smart career move (does anyone out there really doubt that the world is Kyle Rittenhouse’s oyster now? He’s going to make millions off this via the right-wing fever swamp). You can attempt to completely destroy our elections including supporting and planning an insurrection in the White House itself, and really not much will go on. It’s certainly not hurting Republicans politically.
There’s still time to reverse this. But we need swift and fair justice, something at the moment it feels like our system is incapable of providing and our society is sort of shrugging about at the moment. This likely will not end well.
Last word goes to Joni Mitchell, who sang about how cops treat “derelicts or ladies of the night” as weeds to be pulled while the rich get away with murder.
Many Americans need the equivalent of a dead bad guy landing on their cop car.
He won’t get the nomination, this is a joke campaign.
He won’t win the nomination.
America would never elect someone like Trump.
He’ll have to change, the office of the presidency will change him.
Tonight he became president.
He’s pivoting (at least a dozen times over four years).
He’ll just disappear once he loses.
His supporters are all talk, there won’t be any violence.
And so on.
A lot of people, from the elite-iest of the DC media elite to your neighbor, were constantly and consistently wrong about everything Trump-related. David Brock, former conservative critter and now Democratic strategist, was one of them. Today, he wrote a mea culpa in the New York Times.
“Democrats now face an opposition that is not a normal political party, but rather a party that is willing to sacrifice democratic institutions and norms to take power.”
To quote John McClain in the movie Die Hard, “Welcome to the party, pal.”
Brock does more than sound an alarm many of us have heard for five years, he offers some potential solutions. These are good action steps, but I wonder how much we will do. There’s a lot of solutions that would fix our current democracy crisis, such as increasing the number of Supreme Court justices and scrapping the filibuster, but those are dismissed as “too radical.” Meanwhile, not doing anything is enabling the radical dismantling of American democracy.
I also worry that not enough people see what is happening. I still hear people wringing their hands about “divisiveness” and I fear that this is something that holds us back from facing certain realities about where conservatives are right now. And while it’s good to see people like Brock aboard with reality and demonstrating a clarity of the current, I worry there are still people who are not, who believe since Trump is no longer president, so there’s no longer any threat. I also am concerned we are going to live up to the old 1/3-1/3-1/3 cliche; one-third of Americans want an end to democracy, one-third are going to fight to save it, and one-third won’t care.
I hope not. There’s a lot of work to do, and whatever you did to fight back against Trump, you need to keep doing it.
The last word goes to a group of guys who want us to wake up.