The Idiocy of Campaign Coverage

The Idiocy of Campaign Coverage

Please excuse this rant. Today’s offender is, once again, the best of the mainstream media, The New York Times. Two items, actually.

Exhibit A: Front page, Sunday piece on Kamala Harris. Print Headline: “Pragmatism, not Ideology, Defines Harris.”  

OK, for starters, this is a completely false framing. There is no such thing as a politician without an ideology, though there are plenty of politicians who try to duck or fudge where they stand. 

The Harris piece takes up more than a page in the Times. Near the bottom, writer Alexander Burns, finally notes that “Harris has proposed no major policies to constrain extreme wealth and corporate power”

Bulletin to the Times: That’s not called pragmatism. It’s called corporate Democrat. Which happens to be an ideology.

It gets worse. In Monday’s Times, another front-page lulu of false framing. This one, by Reid J. Epstein and Lisa Lerer, begins with the promising print headline: “A Clash of Democratic Priorities: Change Presidents or Change the Paradigm.”  

The piece includes this hum-dinger of a sentence right in what journalists call the “nut-graf,” the paragraph that signals the reader what the piece is about. I quote: “Is beating Trump enough? Or should Democrats, much like the man they hope to defeat, shake the political system like a snow globe and worry later about how things settle?”

Say what? There is so much wrong with that framing that you could build an entire journalism course around it. 

For starters, Democrats who want to alter the system are not proposing to shake it “like a snow globe.” They are proposing fundamental changes in the rules of the political economy that keep screwing regular people and leading to frustrations that elect people like Trump.

Nor do they propose to “worry later about how things settle.” On the contrary, changing the system’s rules to create specific, concrete and durable change is the whole point. But this idiotic piece would have the reader believe they are shaking things up for the sake of shaking things up, dropping bombs for the sake of dropping bombs.

Nor of course are Democrats like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders in any respect whatsoever “much like the man they hope to defeat.”

Jesus wept! Does the Times have editors? Are they as clueless as some of their political writers?  

Where do these people get their political educations? And this is the best of the mainstream papers. No wonder our political discourse is so screwed up that Donald Trump can pose as a populist.

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