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Monday, October 17, 2011

Kudos to James Fallows

For this article about the media’s refusal to report accurately that the modern Republican Party is actively working to make the federal government as dysfunctional as possible.

Years ago, shortly after President Obama was sworn into office, I had a conversation with my old college roommate during which he told me that, “I just wish people on Capitol Hill would stop this bullshit arguing and work out a compromise.  Both sides are just dug in and so nothing is getting done.”

Now, my old college roommate is a good guy, and not a dumb guy, but unlike me he has a wife and three children so he isn’t the most up-to-date guy when it comes to news.  And I am, of course, a news and politics junkie.

“Dude, what the hell are you saying?”  I asked.  “Have you paid any attention at all to what Obama’s been trying to do with the stimulus bill?  He’s bending over backwards to work with the Republicans and they are mostly saying screw you to him.  I don’t think you can blame the impasse on ‘both parties.’”

(Oh for those naive days when early 2009 presented a political problem that we could call “an impasse.”)

But my college buddy would not be convinced.  He wasn’t sure what was happening on Capitol Hill, but he was sure that both sides were to blame.

And why wouldn’t he be?  In their zeal to prove that they don’t take sides, our media always have to report that both sides are to blame . . . even if that is not, in fact, the case.

Which really, really sucks if you believe in the idea of representative democracy – as I do.  Let’s not forget that this is still a relatively new experiment, this idea that we can govern ourselves, and so we should be on guard against any threat to our being able to do so.

It seems to me that one of the biggest threats we face is the idea that we might, as a people, make some really bad decisions because we have some really bad information.  That we might, just as a f’rinstance, keep electing Republicans who are committed to dismantling our government because nobody ever points out to us that dismantling our government is what these people are all about.  Instead we are told . . . everybody does it.

No, no they don’t.  Right now the Democrats are at least trying to do things to get the United States moving again, and the Republicans are committed to making sure that doesn’t happen.  Not if there’s a Democrat in the White House who might get credit for it. 

So kudos to Fallows for calling out the media enablers who perpetuate this lie of “equivalence,” and who thereby keep the American people from the information necessary to decide for ourselves in which direction we should steer the country.

I would dearly love to see more of the mediacracy stand up and take their fellow members to task for this.

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