Documentation. Witnesses. Facts. Truth. That's what they're afraid of.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sepia-Tinted Glasses

From Scott Lemieux:

Scott says,

This really should be the death of glib, sublimely confident arguments that changes in MESSAGING could have easily put Clinton over the top. Trump completely dominated press coverage. Some of this was negative, but especially on tv a lot of this was just stuff like unedited coverage of his rallies. Clinton was not, to put it mildly, given the same kind of opportunity to get her message out. Clinton didn’t get significantly more coverage than Trump during the Democratic National Convention. There’s no effective way of getting a message out in that kind of environment; the net effects of advertising just aren’t that powerful. And there were two cases in which Trump didn’t dominate coverage: EMAILS! and HILLARY CLINTON IS ON HER DEATHBED! If you want an explanation for why Trump, an unprecedentedly dishonest and corrupt candidate, was viewed by the public is being more honest than Hillary Clinton (who, if anything, is more honest than the typical politician), there you go. The idea that the media deserves a pass for putting an elephant on the scale because Hillary Clinton is a FLAWED CANDIDATE is beyond absurd.
That's basically what I've been trying to argue ever since it became evident that Hillary's results were going to come very close to eclipsing Obama's 2012 final tally. There's more to it, and I plan to get into that in my post-mortem in a few weeks, but the media behaving remotely responsibly would've easily bridged a sub-80K three-state gap. Instead, it was complicit in putting a fascist in the White House and empowering others who are sharpening the knives they're planning to begin using to tear apart the safety net and protections for anyone who isn't white, male, and conservative in about seven weeks.

Atrios has more (sorry for posting it in full, Atrios, but it's short):

As we shift our gears back from "the way the press treats Democratic administrations" to "the way the press treats Republican administrations," remember that the former involves treating every fake scandal that percolates up through the fever swamps as "news" while for the latter they mock Dems for pointing out scandals that are in plain sight.
Gonna be fun!
Assholes had one job.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The Republicans have spent nearly five decades cowing the media into looking at politics through, well, sepia-tinted glasses, and it's going to be an uphill climb forever if we can't at least get them to switch them out for some technicolor lenses.

There's pretty much no discussion on the rise of conservatism and how the media has aided and abetted it that Rick Perlstein can't add to, so we're all lucky he published an article in In These Times this week:
The week before, a reporter from USA Today called to ask for historical examples that could inform our quest to heal and unite the country after a divisive campaign. When I responded that adults understand that true healing only happens when a problem is forthrightly acknowledged, that working through our divisions means we should confront our trauma before coming out the other side. His response suggested a sci-fi robot: That does not compute! He asked me to re-explain my answer, as if he had never heard such a strange thing.
For this is not how mainstream media professionals are trained to think. They think like those museologists in Oklahoma City. Americans “come together.” Consensus is in our DNA. Here, ugly things, racist things, violent things, sexist things, are epiphenomenal.
We’ve always been this way: Even in 1836, when America’s crisis over slavery was bringing the country closer and closer to civil war, Congress’s response was to outlaw any debate over slavery in Congress. Southern slaveholders pushed it, but I bet respectable Whigs welcomed it. So much less unpleasantness if you pretend a crisis doesn’t exist.
I'm still working on my own suggestions, but Perlstein cites Russ Feingold as an example of how to frame things:

What about our Democratic politicians? Some get it. Russ Feingold, conceding his loss to Wisconsin incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson, began routinely, apologizing for not getting the job done, thanking his wife, his supporters, his staff—and then: “But obviously something is happening in this country tonight. I don’t understand it completely. I don’t think anyone does.”
This was exactly the right tone. If you are not acknowledging a feeling of being at sea following Nov. 8, 2016, you’re simply not being authentic.


Now comes the test of our institutions: the bulwarks that outlast elections, meant to stand between strongmen, mobs and their awful instincts. How will they fare? Once more, indications are not encouraging. The FBI, for example, put its thumb on the scales for the victor. Police unions chose to endorse a proud and open lawbreaker. And from the evidence of Clinton’s concession speech, those atop the commanding heights of the Democratic Party clearly lack the will for the heroic fight ahead to resist the lawless madman who commands the executive branch.
Who will lead the resistance? More fundamentally: Can a nation that cannot acknowledge genuine trauma even resist?  

"Acknowledge genuine trauma." Sounds like a mantra to me.