The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Who Gets It Club

Ezra Klein has a two posts up about media bias and how we sometimes use that phrase a bit too much.

The first post, which is gargantuan, talks alot about the media's relationship with Gary Hart and Bill Clinton and how we tend to turn everything they did in either case into a ready made case as to how much journalists hate us Democrats. Like I said, there's a whole lotta words to read there, but if you've got the time, I very much recommend it.

The second post, delves more into why we- and by we, I mean progressives, liberals, Democrats, et al- wonders if Bush really is all that popular with the press, commenting that some brisket, some potato salad, and some beans does not a pawn make. Klein then states, real clear for even the most hard of hearing among us to understand, whose fault all this Dem loserdom really is:

What're we expecting from the press? They can't instigate impeachment proceedings. They try and report the news, often fail, but, in any case, seem to have given Americans a fairly good picture of what a bad job Bush is doing on the issues. And yet Bush still beat our guy. Even after Americans watched Kerry whup him in the debates. Even after the press codified Kerry's whupping. We still lost.

It's our job to elect Democrats, not the press's. It's our job to win campaigns. It's our job to run candidates who'll have the courage to call the President a failure and demand accountability. It's our job to organize against John Roberts. It's our job to talk to enough friends and make enough noise that skittish politicians realize it's time to withdraw. Paul's raging against the press, but they, so far as I can tell, haven't done anything wrong. Not anything they don't usually do, anyway. Our impotence is not their fault. It's our fault. It's our fault because we didn't see and stop Rove's evangelical mobilization. It's our fault because we've left the airwaves to them, ensuring that every rural resident outside FM's reach ends up listening to Limbaugh. It's our fault because we let the exurbs and suburbs get taken over by conservative megachurches, without even attempting to build a religious left. It's our fault because Kerry's Hispanic outreach blew, because there's no progressive Fox News, because the liberal media isn't liberal.

It's our fault. It really is. Not the press's. And when we cry that they're not doing enough, I honestly don't know what we think they should be doing. They reported Abu Ghraib, they've put out a number of other front-pagers on the most terrible torture stories I've heard (remember this one?), they report Iraq's death spiral, they report health care's collapse, they report gas prices, they do all of that. They don't lay out the blame as clearly as I'd like, but bottom line, that's our job to do. We should criticize them for it, but at a certain point, it's time to stop believing that the tooth fair will come and change them. The real problem isn't the long-time hackery of the press corps, but the fact that we've lost three elections in a row now, never put the time into building a progressive media movement, and have let Republicans kill Labor. We've got no base to strike back from.

We have to make one. That's what this is all about. All the blogging, the Air America's, the Phoenix Project, the magazines, the conference calls, the Center for American Progress, all of it. It's about getting to a place where we don't have to wish the press would do more, because we can take what they do and make it into more. But that's our job, as activists and partisans. We know the press sucks. They've been doing that for years now. That's what my whole last post was about; hell, that's what this whole blogging thing's about. But they're not sucking particularly bad right now. They're just being their general, bumbling selves. We have to stop wishing they'd rise up, shake off their shackles, and do our jobs for us. Because, in the end, there's no substitute for winning. Not even a strong press corps.