In retrospect, one has to wonder why they felt it was necessary.
In a single week, a few days really, journalists, the mainstream media and a key Democratic leader all demonstrated with virtual fireworks, neon signs and giant billboards what the President, Republicans, and principled observers (and Ethics Alarms) have been insisting all along. The news media and social media, among others, are attempting to manipulate the Presidential election to defeat the President, just as they have been collectively attempting to facilitate removing him from office or making it impossible for him to do his job for four years. If the polls and the repeated assertions of pundits and reporters have been correct, Joe Biden already has the election wrapped up. Why not play it straight from here to November 3? Why risk waking complacent Americans who might object to having an election, in the president’s clumsy phasing, not only “rigged,” but openly, arrogantly, shamelessly and smugly rigged?
Well, never mind. I suppose they can’t help it now; it’s a habit, and an addiction. But denials of the conspiracy to mislead Americans and corrupt our political processes have now unquestionably reached the Jumbo stage, and Ethics Alarms is making it official. Like Jimmy Durante (in the musical “Jumbo”) trying to steal the world’s largest elephant, getting caught with the beast on the end of a rope, and responding to the question, “Where are you going with that elephant?” with the immortal reply, “Elephant? What elephant?”, the defenders of the attempted theft of democracy look like the villains or fools that they are.
“Bias? What bias?”
Here is what we have witnessed this week, in no particular order because the significance is cumulative:
- After a Democratic Senator reprimanded President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy for using “sexual preference,” a phrase previously used by Joe Biden, the sainted Justice Ginsburg and at least two Democrats on the Senate judiciary committee, the party’s allies actually changed the dictionary definition of the phrase to retroactivly label it “offensive,” the online equivalent of tampering with evidence. This Orwellian move escaped mention by the mainstream media whose agenda it bolstered.
- The week began with Speaker Nancy Pelosi being so shocked when the usually somnolent Wolf Blitzer asked a mildly critical question regarding Democratic gamesmanship in the negotiations over additional pandemic relief that she snapped, “I don’t know why you’re always an apologist — and many of your colleagues [are] apologists for the Republican position.” That’s right: CNN is a habitual apologist for the Republicans. This is the complaint of a spoiled child so used to getting her way that she views the momentary absence of bias as an offense. The translation of Pelosi’s indignation is: “Hey! You’re supposed to be on our side!”
- When the New York Post published a “bombshell” report of discovered emails that indicated that Joe Biden’s denials of any knowledge or involvement with his son Hunter’s well-compensated influence peddling in the Ukraine, both Facebook and Twitter attempted to suppress it by suspending the accounts of anyone who attempted to share it. Twitter blocked the Post, one of its editors, the White House press secretary, the House Judiciary Committee, the Trump campaign and others. Both platforms cited standards for “unsubstantiated” reports that they had ignored when such reports implicated the President.
- The Washington Post “factchecker” cited as justification for his paper ignoring the New York Post’s scoop the printed policies that WaPo had violated in its reporting of the Mueller investigation and the Kavanaugh hearings, to cite two of many examples.
- The C-Span host, Steve Scully, selected by the Presidential Debate Commission to moderate the second scheduled debate, and already criticized as an unobjective choice because of his background as a former Biden intern, was caught contacting Trump critic Anthony Scaramucci. Not only did he initially deny this, claiming that the tweet in question was the result of a hack, both C-Span and the debate commission vouched for his denial. Scully was suspended by C-Span.
- In the 90 minute ABC “town hall” featuring Joe Biden, moderator George Stephanopoulos did not ask the candidate about the issue that was at that moment dominating the news: the New York Post story. Meanwhile, the Democratic operative-turned anchor lobbed friendly, soft-ball questions at the doddering Biden, who was also gifted with copious commercial breaks, particularly in the last 30 minutes when he was obviously laboring.
- In stark contrast (even noted by the New York Times), President Trump was subjected to an outright hostile moderator in Today’s Savannah Guthrie during NBC’s “town hall.” If that’s going to be the norm, so be it, but both candidates should be treated equally. At one point, criticizing the President’s controversial tweeting style, Guthrie said, “You’re the President! You’re not someone’s crazy uncle who can retweet whatever!” The Times termed this kind of treatment by Guthrie ‘respectful but relentless.” In fact, no President of the United States has ever been treated with such open disrespect by an interviewer.
I assume that the past week tells us that both the gloves and masks are off. Just as the Times at this state in 2016 announced that it would no longer even pretend to be unbiased, and was going to cover the campaign to ensure a Clinton victory, the protestations that the news media and social media aren’t doing all they can to carry the Democrats to victory, always unconvincing, are now transparently ridiculous.
A democracy cannot survive with the media actively engaged in steering public opinion and elections to support journalists’ own policy preferences and political agendas. The only way to stop this abuse of power is for American to expressly reject it, and to vote against the media as well as the candidates and party it unethically supports.