Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Your Liberal Media

I suppose there are two basic issues with the elite political press in DC (#notalljournalists). One is that the entire culture is wired for Republicans. It isn't precisely that they're pro-Republican and, yes, I imagine most are actually Democrats (though certainly not all!), it's that the Republicans are always the protagonists of the story. The story of politics in America is ultimately the story of Republican Man. Sometimes he's up, sometimes he's down, sometimes he gets arrested, sometimes a black guy from Kenya takes his job, but still it's all about him.

The second is that elite reporters suck up to the powerful. Access journalism, the lure of book contracts, the lure of administration jobs, just generally being starfuckers... who knows precisely.

During the Obama years these things were somewhat in tension and from some perspectives the press coverage of the Obama administration seemed... not insane? Really it was still bad and it was still about Republican Man. Or, in the early years, Republican woman, as the most important person in the America after the election of the first African-American president was... Sarah Palin. But Obama also got some "suck up to power" coverage which made it *seem* much more balanced than it had been in the Bush years, though "more balanced," even to the extent that it was true, doesn't mean "more good."

But coverage in the Trump years is, for those of us who remember the Bush years, actually "normal." It's what they're comfortable with, only made uncomfortable by the fact that Trump is such a freak that it makes it that much harder for them to pretend that he isn't. Bush was a freak, too. He really was. Dumb guy who said dumb things all the time, if not quite as much of a rageaholic. Covering Bush as noble President-King was quite ridiculous, but they did it anyway. The Bush era was completely bonkers! Most people just didn't pay that much attention.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make here is that this is just political coverage in the US. As applied to Trump it seems more absurd, but the basic model is what it has been for 20 years.