Thursday, May 30, 2019

Both Sides

I often think people miss the point of the "both sides" joke which is not actually that the press always feels the need to bring the universe into harmony by finding a way to match up the sins of one party with supposedly equal and opposite sins of the other. They only both side. As in, Democratic sins stand on their own, while Republican sins inspire lines like "Republican Congressman John Smith's conviction on 37 counts of child rape are a stark reminder of the time Democratic Congressman Jay Smith was arrested for whistling too loudly at a woman in public in 1926."*

*A made up sentence, of course.

And how it plays out with important things:

New York Times reporter Peter Baker’s analysis is a key example of journalists reporting on Mueller’s statement as a good faith disagreement between Democrats and the president. The story appeared online on Wednesday under the headline “Mueller Delivered a Message. Washington Couldn’t Agree on What It Was,” and it was splashed across the paper’s front page the next day. “At long last, the sphinx of Washington spoke on Wednesday,” Baker wrote, “and here is what President Trump heard: ‘Case closed.’ Here is what the president’s adversaries heard: ‘Time to impeach.’”

These are statements that can be assessed for their accuracy, with the reporter concluding that one party’s interpretation is correct. Instead, Baker chose to examine the remarks from both sides and then all but throw up his hands in dismay, framing his story as a case of Washington partisans simply failing to agree on the facts. But the Times scribe’s own reporting in the piece showed that Trump is not credible when he discusses Mueller’s probe. As Baker noted, Mueller’s statement “effectively refuted Mr. Trump’s no-collusion, no-obstruction mantra,” demonstrating the president’s mendacity. He also wrote that the special counsel “implied that Congress could pursue impeachment without directly recommending it,” thus supporting the opinion he ascribed to “the president’s adversaries.”

Needless to say this is not how the Mueller investigation of President Clinton would have been reported. The other rule is that "both sides" must be investigated by Republicans, though of course it would've been some nutter like Kris Kobach heading up the Clinton investigation.