Donald Trump and the Republican Party are laying the groundwork to steal future elections.
It’s a helluva story.
But instead of reporting on it nonstop and sounding the alarm for democracy, our corporate media political reporters are treating it like it’s just more partisan politics as usual.
Radical Republican gerrymandering and attempts to limit voting may not be new – but they are getting worse, and they are hugely threatening to the central democratic principle of majority rule.
What is new is that the GOP under Trump has gone so much further, trying to overthrow the 2020 election, actively undermining confidence in the election system, and putting Trump loyalists in a position to overturn election results that don’t go their way in the future.
Normalizing this kind of behavior is bad enough. (And way too common.)
But an NBC News story over the weekend actually tried to make it sound innocuous.
After the article was tweeted by Meet the Press, Twitter’s left went wild.
Laser-focused on 2020, Trump seeks a Michigan Legislature that could help him in 2024https://t.co/6F9SY1CpvU pic.twitter.com/wV5g4RpPGC
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) November 27, 2021
Jason Sattler (@LOLGOP) tweeted: “We know that the Republican Party has given up on democracy. But it sucks that the media has too.”
“Something I didn’t anticipate was Very Savvy political media becoming even more fash enabling after Trump lost,” tweeted The Week’s Ryan Cooper.
Dartmouth political science professor Brendan Nyhan wrote: “Wildly irresponsible journalism. ‘[C]ould help him’ suggests this is normal politics, but there is nothing normal about what Trump is doing. He sought to overturn the 2020 election and is seeking to install allies who would help him do the same in 2024.”
Press critic Eric Boehlert tweeted: “this is how you normalize treason.”
I take media criticism from partisans with a big grain of salt, but congressional Democrats roused themselves to justifiable fury:
Senator from Hawaii Brian Schatz tweeted: “You had sufficient space in this tweet to add ‘by overturning a free and fair election, ending democracy as we know it.’ Please stop describing fascism like it’s just some kind of policy preference.
Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego tweeted: “You mean overthrow an election. If Trump is ever successful at ending Democracy the press will be remembered as his naive partner.”
And New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. tweeted: “Treason, election rigging, and ending democracy isn’t just another election horserace angle for God’s sakes what is this garbage?”
The NBC story, by political reporters Allan Smith and Henry J. Gomez, was headlined: “Laser-focused on 2020, Trump seeks a Michigan Legislature that could help him in 2024.”
After an anecdotal lead, the authors got to their point, such as it was:
It’s unusual for a former president to endorse in races so deep down the ballot, especially nearly nine months before the Republican primary. But Trump has backed seven candidates for state House or Senate seats in Michigan, an electoral battleground that he lost narrowly to Joe Biden last year — more than anywhere else. Most of the endorsements, including Rocha’s, were announced in recent weeks. All of the candidates have one thing in common: They’ve made election administration and investigating last year’s vote central to their platforms.
Trump’s focus on the state illuminates just how driven he is to exact revenge on those who haven’t supported his baseless claim that the last election was stolen from him. It’s also a play to install allies who could be helpful should he run for president again in 2024 and find himself locked in another close race.
Great political reporting provides clarity. This was a timid, muddy mess.
So let me rewrite that for you.
We’ll start with the headline. I’d do something like “Cause for alarm: Trump trying to install state-level officials who favor overturning legitimate election results”.
In the latest sign that Donald Trump is laying possible groundwork to steal the 2024 presidential election, the defeated former president is endorsing a slate of Michigan legislative candidates who support his fabulist contention that he won in 2020 but was denied victory because of massive voter fraud.
Although his motive may also include a desire to exact revenge on Michigan Republican leaders who brushed of his false claims, his move to install loyalists in a position to overturn election results that don’t go his way should set off alarms for supporters of democracy.
And then I would get a quote from a non-partisan democracy expert to explain how incredibly dangerous and unprecedented this is.
Broadcast journalists Soledad O’Brien dinged the New York Times over the weekend for its breathtaking understatement in a story about Jared Kushner trying to raise money from Middle Eastern leaders.
The article by Kate Kelly, David D. Kirkpatrick and Alan Rappeport said the move “has raised eyebrows among diplomats, investors and ethics watchdogs.”
That phrase sure raised my eyebrows. Here’s the context:
As a White House adviser in the Trump administration, Jared Kushner took a special interest in the petroleum-rich monarchies of the Persian Gulf….
Now, in a move that has raised eyebrows among diplomats, investors and ethics watchdogs, Mr. Kushner is trying to raise money from the Persian Gulf states for a new investment firm he has founded. So far, he is having only mixed success.
Let me rewrite that for you!
Jared Kushner, the hapless Trump son-in-law who, sent to the Middle East to bring peace, instead cozied up to the murderous de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia among other regional tyrants, is now trying to get them to give him billions of dollars for a new investment fund.
This would appear to be a massive ethical violation – the kind that if it happened close to any other presidency would have members of both parties up in arms.
Have you seen an article I should rewrite? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
This is the same media that wasn’t too fussed when Republicans under Newt not only accused Bill and Hillary Clinton of murdering their close friend Vince Foster, but also held multiple investigations of that insane, vicious, cruel slander. When Special Prosecutor Robert Fiske investigated that bonkers accusation (as well as Whitewater, Filegate, Travelgate) and found nothing, Republicans and some in the media (the NY Times if my memory is correct) refused to accept his findings, declaring that we needed an Independent Counsel because the public wouldn’t trust the findings of a Special Prosecutor appointed by the Clinton Administration. Most of the media just ignored Fiske’s findings or buried that important story on the back pages.
Republicans held a Senate Banking Committee (!) investigation of Foster’s suicide. The House had their own investigation, complete with Rep Dan Burton providing forensic evidence that Foster was murdered which Burton obtained by shooting pumpkins in his back yard. Then Brett Kavanaugh convinced Ken Starr to let him lead yet another investigation of Foster’s death. (Kavanaugh’s contemporaneous memos show he reassured his colleagues that he didn’t really believe Foster was murdered.)
I don’t understand why anyone is surprised at how willing our mainstream “liberal” media is to ignore or downplay the horrifying anti-democracy extremism of the Republican Party given this is the same media who wasn’t shocked when they tried to destroy the Clintons with a blatantly false accusation of being murderers. I strongly believe that had the media reacted back then with appropriate outrage and censure Republicans would not be the full blown fascists they are now. Back then the public was strongly opposed to the right wing slime machine’s attacks and Fox News was just starting to be a factor.
2022 is the 100th anniversary of Fascism as 1922 was the year Mussolini’s fascists took power in Italy. Fascism had a giant setback when Hitler’s Nazis went too far and gave fascism a bad name. So bad that even today most fascists deny they are fascists and the NY Times has had their back for the entire century. On the other hand anti fascists are the most reviled people in America.
No public figure that I am aware of has declared that they are antifascist. Luckily for them the NY Times never asks anyone if they are antifascist. Well nobody who is employed in ‘journalism’ ever asks that either.