Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein wrote an op-ed that FINALLY says something constructive called: Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem. Here’s a snip:
We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.
When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.
[…] What happened? Of course, there were larger forces at work beyond the realignment of the South. They included the mobilization of social conservatives after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the anti-tax movement launched in 1978 by California’s Proposition 13, the rise of conservative talk radio after a congressional pay raise in 1989, and the emergence of Fox News and right-wing blogs. But the real move to the bedrock right starts with two names: Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist.
[…] This attitude filters down far deeper than the party leadership. Rank-and-file GOP voters endorse the strategy that the party’s elites have adopted, eschewing compromise to solve problems and insisting on principle, even if it leads to gridlock. Democratic voters, by contrast, along with self-identified independents, are more likely to favor deal-making over deadlock.
Read all: Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem
Paul Waldman remarks,
Mann and Ornstein end with a plea to the media to start reporting more honestly on what’s going on in Washington in general and in Congress in particular—to dispense with the false equivalence that treats both parties as equally guilty of whatever bad behavior anyone is demonstrating, to stop treating the abuse of filibusters an anonymous holds in the Senate as if that’s just how the system works, and so on.Good advice, without question. And I’m quite sure that many if not most journalists in Washington have understood all the points Mann and Ornstein make for some time. Maybe they’ll start to feel like they have permission to say it, and let their reporting better reflect reality.
I don’t know. I’m afraid it’s overly optimistic to think that most journalists were just waiting for permission to report “reality” as it stands, or that they were caught in some net of false equivalency from which they were unable to extract themselves individually. There is no liberal media, as the rightwing suggests. There is only corporate-owned media with profit as the bottom line: annual profits for shareholders, large bonuses for the CEOs, and reporting that doesn’t potentially enrage the loudest and least-informed (or the wealthiest) members of its audience — or cause any Malkin-type boycotts of its advertisers.
The ‘both sides do it’ meme of journalism is a marketing tool and is probably a requirement, a feature not a bug. It’s the only way to soften one side’s insanity (GOP) against the other side. Without the daily exercise of creating false equivalency in the news between those who are mental and those who aren’t, straight reporting would automatically enrage and alienate about 20-25% of any given audience. Because the fact of the matter is: some people can’t handle the truth.
It seems there’s no way a media corp would give up that much potential profit for something as unmarketable as straight reality. Look what they did with the build up to the Iraq War.