Unethical Quote Of The Month (And Most Revealing Unethical Quote Of 2021): Atlantic Senior Editor Ron Brownstein

“I don’t think it’s fundamentally about incivility. It’s about insurrection.”

—-Ron Brownstein, Senior Editor of “The Atlantic” magazine and political analyst for CNN, commenting on the “Let’s go, Brandon!” episode during President Biden’s Christmas Eve session with NORAD tracking Santa’s sleigh

[In case you were MIA over Christmas weekend–like most people—Ethics Alarms covered what Brownstein was commenting on here,  and here (Item #3)]

Brownstein went on to say,

[T]he whole Let’s Go Brandon kind of motif is a reflection of the view of two-thirds of the Republican base, driven by Trump’s claims, false claims, and the Big Lie, that Biden is an illegitimate president.

And it reflects the findings in multiple polls by the American Enterprise Institute, Vanderbilt University, and others, that a majority of Republican voters now say the American way of life is disappearing, so fast that traditional American way of life that we may have to use force to save it.

I think you’re seeing — this is a manifestation, not just of incivility but of the fundamental view of the illegitimacy, and the ominous shores we’re sailing toward very quickly in 2022 and especially 2024.

A digression is in order...Commenters critical of Ethics Alarms, both here and on my off-site email, often say that I am irrationally “angry” about situations and incidents that I rate as unethical. That’s an unfair tactic employed to misrepresent what are serious, analytical assessments as emotional ones. I write hard–always have; it’s my style— but I’m not an angry person. I’m essentially an optimistic and happy person. I don’t fume over politics or the culture: I’m aware of developments, but getting angry does no good at all, and I’m not wired that way.

But Brownstein’s statement does make me angry (that’s me above). Who charted that course to that shore, Ron, you flaming, dishonest asshole? Your magazine, along with the rest of the “resistance” that it helped fuel for the length of the entire Trump administration, from the moment he was elected in 2016.

In this article, for example, published on Nov. 21, 2016, The Atlantic called for the Electoral College to elect Hillary Clinton despite the popular vote giving Trump the necessary electoral votes to take office. That was appropriate, Peter Beinert explained,

Donald Trump was not elected on November 8. Under the Constitution, the real election will occur on December 19. That’s when the electors in each state cast their votes….As Michael Signer explains, the framers were particularly afraid of the people choosing a demagogue. The electors, Hamilton believed, would prevent someone with “talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity” from becoming president. And they would combat “the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.” They would prevent America’s adversaries from meddling in its elections. The founders created the Electoral College, in other words, in part to prevent the election of someone like Donald Trump….The prospect of a Trump presidency… is terrifying…in unprecedented ways. Which is why, for the first time in modern American history, there’s a plausible case for urging the electors to vote their consciences…It all depends on how dangerous you think President Trump would be…I think America needs electors who, in times of national emergency, can prevent demagogues from taking power.

That, of course, was just the beginning of “the resistance”/Democratic Party/ mainstream media alliance’s efforts to concoct some way to overthrow an elected President they regarded, and treated, as “illegitimate.” I’ve documented the other schemes, which included two outrageous impeachments, and frankly I’m sick of writing about them (and tolerating the dishonesty of partisans who deny they were what they were).

The insultingly hypocritical position of Brownstein is that when his “team” savaged a President and claimed he was illegitimate, it was fair and patriotic, because “Orange Man Bad.” When Republicans and conservatives insult Biden, it’s an “insurrection.” The double standard is flagrant and infuriating. Brownstein isn’t stupid, he’s just ruthless and despicable, and like so many in the leftist pundit class, he thinks we’re stupid. Well, “Let’s go Brandon” to you, Ron, and also to CNN’s anchor for not having the guts to confront you with your hypocrisy. But of course it’s CNN’s hypocrisy too.

Other observations in no coherent order because it’s early in the morning and I usually don’t write angry:

  • The reason Brownstein’s quote is revealing is that it shows how cynical and dishonest the whole “insurrection” narrative is, as well as how desperate the effort to wield it has become. The House’s partisan “investigation,” the show trials of the January 6 rioters, and the constant use of the word to describe what was unquestionably not an insurrection, since no one has been charged with that crime (nor could they) all point to a terrified party trying to gull the public into believing that it should be frightened of their rival party’s “undemocratic” tendencies, when all the evidence indicates that it is Democrats who want to kneecap our laws and institutions to gain and keep power.  The Atlantic’s 2016 article showed this vividly.
  • “Let’s impeach the motherfucker” was just incivility. The Speaker of the House tearing up the President’s State of the Union address literally behind his back on national TV was just incivility. But an anonymous caller resorting to the juvenile code for “Fuck Joe Biden” is “about insurrection.” Right.
  • Trump was wrong and irresponsible  and remains wrong and irresponsible to claim he received the necessary votes to be elected. Claiming that the election itself was unacceptably and dangerously robbed of integrity by the pandemic-rationalized mail-in voting is not wrong, and the fact that Democrats refuse to acknowledge that fact justifiably raises more suspicions about their motives and conduct.
  • The election was “rigged,” though Trump might have been defeated by the pandemic crash and his own big mouth and bad decisions anyway. It was rigged by biased and unethical news coverage stretching over his entire administration and climaxing in the embargo of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal.
  • I reject the whole “illegitimate President” smear against any POTUS, be it George W. Bush, Trump or Biden….even Rutherford B. Hayes and John Quincy Adams, who come closest to deserving it.

23 thoughts on “Unethical Quote Of The Month (And Most Revealing Unethical Quote Of 2021): Atlantic Senior Editor Ron Brownstein

  1. This appears to be more of the same “narrative” advancement that we’ve seen from Leftist and left-leaning journalists (so called) since last January. It’s the tried and true technique of defining a historical event not based on fact, but on a perception that serves a political purpose — finding a way to prevent Donald J. Trump from being elected as president again. Presumably, they also plot to find a way to use it to throw out some House members as well.

    The aforesaid journalists are never going to advance any other narrative other than that of an “insurrection,” no matter how implausible, facially ridiculous, or debunked by law enforcement that depiction of the events is. Like the Russia narrative, the Left and those in their orbit are clinging to this like the proverbial snapping turtle, only they won’t let go no matter how much it thunders. Everything must be an existential threat to our “democracy,” or it must be massaged to serve that narrative.

    I can’t get mad about it. These people have shown themselves to be untrustworthy, dishonest and totally political, and I have written them off as a total loss. The United States is just going to have to find a way to get by with a completely biased press that has become little more than a propaganda organ for the Democrats, socialists, and communists. How do we do that? I really don’t know, but we have to find a way, because there is simply no getting it back. The Fourth Estate is dead, and is busily trying to immolate itself for good measure.

  2. If you repeat a lie over and over again, people will eventually accept it as truth. It doesn’t matter to the narrative that none of these show trial defendants have been charged with insurrection. The news media doesn’t bother to support that fact because it doesn’t fit the approved narrative. Omitting information is how the public is manipulated by the media. Just use the word “Insurrection” repeatedly. The followers who have drank the Kool-Aid will accept it without question and use their loud voices to shut down anyone who questions the narrative.

    • I wonder if the media understands that their propagandizing and demonizing behaviors toward those who disagree and what happens when you continually beat an animal. Ultimately that animal will viciously fight back. I doubt seriously if half the public will go gently into that good night. When this happens, it will be a direct result of the false narratives created by the media to manipulate the dullards and the fearful in our society. It is just a matter of time.

      • I left out some words. First sentence should read:

        I wonder if the media understands that the results of their propagandizing and demonizing behaviors toward those with whom they disagree will be similar to what happens when you continually beat an animal.

        • It’s not a bad analogy, but I think a more apt one is that of an abusive relationship where the abused person is finally ready to stand up to their abuser.

          We see it in the fact that conservatives are trying to develop their own social media – with Trump’s media and technology group being the most likely to take off and reach the big time (they already reached a deal with Rumble).

          This is probably the most dangerous part, because once the abused tried to leave the abuser, that is when things can turn really bad. We’re there now.

          In, “A Christmas Story,” Ralphie eventually had enough of Scut Farkus’s bullying. Red America’s had enough of the bullying from people like Brownstein.

          • Agreed and the Ralphie reference is apropos (my favorite scene btw). We have begun to see the abuse being ratcheted up by Merrick Garland and the DOJ. His behavior will be tolerated by the masses until they are the ones in his crosshairs. At that point, we will have a massive vote to turnout the authoritarians or it will get very ugly because abused otherwise law-abiding citizens will take matters into their own hands

            • The thing is, it didn’t start with Garland calling parents angry about critical race theory “domestic terrorists.”

              If you really want to see when I think it really began to change, it was when John Lewis smeared Republicans trying to reform a broken welfare system as Nazis back in 1995. That was two decades before Trump went down the escalator to announce his 2016 campaign.

              It was starting when the government did nothing when donors to Prop 8 were targeted. It got rolling when photographers had their talents hijacked at the point of a government gun in the name of same-sex marriage. The list is a lot longer than many want to admit. Lois Lerner is just the most blatant.

              In many cases, those events were celebated in the name of “tolerance” and those who complained were bullied and verbally abused. And people wonder now why Ralphie is ready to snap and let Scut Farkus have it.

              • If you really want to see when I think it really began to change, it was when John Lewis smeared Republicans trying to reform a broken welfare system as Nazis back in 1995. That was two decades before Trump went down the escalator to announce his 2016 campaign

                President Clinton signed welfare reform.

                Did Lewis call him a Nazi?

  3. Brownstein lacks some very basic self-awareness, to put it mildly.

    The defenders of “norms and standards” tore down a lot of norms and standards to beat Trump in 2020, and are tearing down even more to ensure that they can make sure those uppity deporables know their place.

    These same people, by the way, claimed (falsely) that Sarah Palin was responsible for the 2011 shooting in Tucson that left Gabby Giffords with severe brain damage with evidence so thin it makes an anorexic look like Lizzo. That was four years before Donald Trump rode down that escalator to announce his 2016 bid for the White House.

    So, really, does Brownstein, or anyone really have room to lecture to Republican activists who have been verbally abuse and who have suffered various forms of abouse of power going years and decades before Trump even ran, have any room to lecture us at all?

    Not at all, if you ask me. I’m with Kurt Schlichter in terms of the attitude. I wish it could be nicer, but it’s going to take inflicting a lot of pain to make it stop and to deter future destruction of norms.

    As an aside, “Let’s go Brandon,” if you ask me, doesn’t just say “F— Joe Biden,” it also comments on the way many media outlets have been gaslighting us for the last six and a half years. Just look at that intial interview at the NASCAR race. The reporter knew what was really being chanted. The people watching TV knew what was being chanted. They knew the reporter knew what was being chanted. And she tried to BS everyone.

  4. “Let’s impeach the motherfucker” was just incivility. The Speaker of the House tearing up the President’s State of the Union address literally behind his back on national TV was just incivility. But an anonymous caller resorting to the juvenile code for “Fuck Joe Biden” is “about insurrection.” Right.

    In the meantime, the riots in Kenosha were just “fiery but mostly peaceful protests”.

    “Trump was wrong and irresponsible and remains wrong and irresponsible to claim he received the necessary votes to be elected.”

    You get to credibly say that. Those who started and pushed the Russian collusion narrative are ethically estopped from saying that.

    • In some ways, though, I think Jack is trying to close the barn door after the animals have been long gone, and while I get and commend his consistency on the issue, it essentially boils down to calling on Red America to unilaterally disarm against abusers who wish us dead.

      We can’t undo the past abuse, whether it was abuse of power (like Lois Lerner targeting the Tea Party, the use of the FBI to spy on Trump, or the acts of the “Resistance”) or the verbal abuse. The best we can do is to put up new safeguards to prevent future abuse and to exact a price for the past abuse.

      The worlds and actions of the “Resistance”/the Left have consequences, and shielding them from those consequences will not be good for them. those they have abused, or the country as a whole.

      It’s going to involve inflicitng pain on the Left. It’s not going to be nice or pretty. But it has to happen.

  5. Ron Brownstein is the worst of the worst of paid political hacks. His statement could be boiled down to read, “Holy Shit! We’re likely to lose the House and the Senate in 2022, and the White House in 2024 if we don’t come up with some sort of nasty strategy to prevent it! If the Republicans are bringing knives to the fight, we’ll bring guns.”

  6. It’s completely obvious to me that any protesting actions of any kind from the political right is now going to be considered evil and any action, including acts of domestic terrorism and open violence, from the political left is going to be considered protected free speech.

    When the hammer is dropped on this double standard it’s not going to be pretty.

  7. I’m not sure why Trump said it, I think it was the first impeachment, but he said it was a “witch hunt”. I thought that was silly. It wasn’t, apparently since 1/2 the country has had a mass psychotic break akin to what happened during the witch hunts. Idk what will happen if the media keeps pushing this. It really does seem to be a witch hunt. It’s not going to be good. We can’t even agree on facts right now and that is a big problem.

  8. “I wonder if the media understands that the results of their propagandizing and demonizing behaviors toward those with whom they disagree will be similar to what happens when you continually beat an animal.”
    Some abused animals will attack their abuser at the first opportunity. Others will become permanently cowed, fearful and obedient to avoid abuse, but some few will seem to be cowed, fearful and obedient while waiting for the opportune time to strike back. My grandfather was a horse and mule trainer who never beat or even swore at the animals he trained. He used to say (although I have heard others say it as well) that a beaten mule would never forget a man who beat him and would wait a long time for an opportunity to kick the man when he least expected it.
    I think some of us are like those beaten mules. We will comply, but only so far. They’re already calling us “domestic terrorists,” just because we are conservatives who won’t play their games. It’s just a matter of time before they try to cancel all of us, make us “unemployable” and therefore unable to earn a living. We will find all our social media accounts and perhaps even our phone service terminated, ending our ability to communicate with each other and the world at large. They’re already working to take away our right as well as the means to defend ourselves.
    If they demonize us enough, they might find we are capable of rather demonic behavior.

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