The Press’s Complicity in Escalation
If I could convey to my friends in the press one thing that I wish they’d accept, instead of denying culpability, it would be that for all the worries about Republicans escalating positions and actions, the press has a very large role in getting us to this point.
ABC News had on one of the legislators booted from the Tennessee House. As you would expect, it was, like so much of the coverage, sympathetic and cast as an issue of gun control and there were racial overtones to the matter.
Yes, I think we can all concede that the Tennessee House did not have to boot the members. In fact, a reasonable argument can be made that the Tennessee Republicans, by going straight to expulsion of the House members, have taken away all incentive to de-escalate. Had they gone with censure instead of expulsion, it would have been a measured tactic that set a standard for when the Democrats did a second disruption. Now, Democrats see martyrdom and fundraising so we can probably expect more disruptions.
I have several friends who are right-of-center and blasted the Tennessee Republicans for “playing to the base” instead of being leaders.
From the Tennessee Republicans’ perspective, they saw their state capitol swarmed with protestors, three state legislators stormed the well of the House with a bull horn, emboldened the rioters inside the capitol building, and they refused to yield when the Speaker called them out and refused to leave when the Sergeant-at-Arms ordered them to leave.
The national press corp, from CNN to ABC, CBS, NBC, and the printed press all cast this as a matter of gun control and gun protests and then added in racial overtones. The Tennessee Republicans see it as a breach of conduct and a failure to listen even to the Sergeant-at-Arms.
I’m sorry, but when the press immediately takes the position most favorable to the Democrats and barely even addresses the legitimacy of the Republicans’ view, it signals to the GOP that the only thing they can do is play to the base. The press has taken away all incentive to seem reasonable.
If the GOP were to censure, the press would still hail the Democrats as heroes and blast the GOP. So why do half-measures?
Likewise, the GOP is going to go for broke on the debt ceiling. The American press have given them no option. The press is so openly on the side of the Democrats at this point, if the GOP were to make reasonable offers, the press would herald it as a win for Biden and a capitulation from the GOP.
There is no reason for the GOP to be reasonable on the debt ceiling. They cannot win the prevailing media narrative. The only way for the GOP to win is to force Biden to concede. That requires a level of brinksmanship that might push us right off the edge.
But because the national press will, at this point, only ever make the GOP the bad guy, the Republicans might as well play to form and hold their base. The GOP, at this point, has accepted the American political press will only ever cast them as the bad guy. They might a well embrace it.
Around the country, a sizable number of Americans are pretty squeamish about advancing transgender rights. But the American press corps had gone all in for the trans agenda. There is no middle ground for the press on the issue. So you will not be surprised to learn the GOP has no interest in reasonable accommodations. They’ve already been labeled the culture warriors, despite it being the left that has advanced the issue into the culture.
It is notable that the press spent more time covering the trans community as victims after the Nashville shooting than they did the actual victims. It is notable the press covered Biden inviting the expelled Tennessee legislators to the White House and never bothered asking if the police who killed the shooter would be invited.
Predictably, the American political press keeps making the GOP out to be the villain in every current story. Hell, look at the rush to “Trump did it too” with the Chinese balloon story. Look at how Biden has rushed out to blame Trump for Biden’s Afghanistan failures.
Everyone is in on the joke now. Republicans are all extremists beholden to Trump. Democrats are the only thing standing between authoritarianism and democracy. Republicans might as well go for broke because they’ll never get the praise and they’ll never see the press embrace their side of the story.
The United States is headed to the debt limit now. If members of the press really are committed to fairness, they should probably start addressing exactly why the GOP wants spending cuts. But they won’t. Their coverage will make the GOP out to be hypocrites (and, to a degree, deservedly so) and will make Biden out to be a leader with no real concern for or coverage of his massive spending. So the GOP will go for broke yet again knowing its only play is to play for its base.
The American political press has become so reliably in the tank for the Democrats, the press has taken away all incentive for the GOP to do anything other than play to its base. But they’ll never accept that and will only double down for Democrats.
The press lacks the humility to correct is captivity by the left and our nation actually needs a free press, not a captive one.