Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Cable News Brain

I don't know what it's like now, but related to this, back in the aughts when I would go to DC a bit and visit congressional offices, and when I was on some rapid response type email lists, (some) offices were absolutely transfixed by the cable news cycle. Especially, but not just, if the office boss (the member of Congress) was getting any kind of bad coverage, it was absolute panic mode. Generally if "Democrats" were "getting slammed" on some issue, no matter how much bullshit it was, they'd go into panic mode and feel the need to respond.

Responding generally meant abject apologies (exaggeration, but flight usually beat fight).

Not everybody was news cycle addicted, but the point is even the most advanced brains can't tune it out completely. Even if they can tune out CNN, they can't tune out THE NEW YORK TIMES which has the most serious most objective most perfect political coverage in the history of the multiverse.

When pack reporting (encouraged by well-funded PR interests, and the Republican "operatives" that are the sources journalists love most) tells everybody that inflation is killing Joe and Eileen Bailey, they listen.

On the inflation issue specifically, I see people who should know better thinking it's real. A few months of high measured inflation data, especially relative to pandemic depths, is not really hitting people where it hurts. They're responding to news coverage. Cost of living increase issues might be real, but not because the new CPI number hits CNBC. 

All the coverage is driven by the data release and the inflation-is-killing-us PR industry, not by the actual lived experience of people at the 35th percentile of the income distribution, because nobody  in elite political journalism gives a shit about these people or even pretends to most of the time.