There are 1 million dead Americans. What a national leader did the right project gravity In accepting it? Was admitting it a good political move? How will political opponents respond to this?
An interstate highway bridge collapses, causing fatalities. Which political party would be the best to capitalize on it? narrative Of broken infrastructure? What will the political opponents answer?
Now, a rapidly changing climate is creating massive new wildfires, drying up rivers around the world, threatening every coastal city in every coastal state, and the American South within our children’s lifetimes. will make certain parts of the facility operable without access to air conditioning. Will yield to a new lobbying effort by oil producers narrative In favor of ignoring the problem? How will this affect political spending by a handful of Americans who are single-handedly enough to create a new political narrative All on your own?
Flip through any “news” channel’s live programs and you’re unlikely, during any segment, to understand more about the lifetime of infrastructure or the economic impact of more than 1 million accidental American deaths. You wouldn’t know how many school kids today hid under their desks due to close range bullets. You won’t learn what specific neighborhoods in your city, from the perspective of insurance companies and government experts, are so at risk of flooding in the near future that properties will quickly become functionally useless.
You will see, however, stock footage of everything being discussed as political pundits and professional partisan narrative-builders discuss how the latest preventable deaths or brazen acts of corruption can change. narrative What do different US politicians want to promote? The problem with political theater criticism is that American journalism is addicted to it like it was opium. every A stroke of our lives that brushes against the government for possible solutions is addressed by battalions of “political” journalists who compulsively report what a battalion of “political” pundits believe are the political implications of high insulin prices. are, or lower insulin prices, or another grade school classroom full of bleeding children, or an act of sedition inciting violence.
An equally obvious problem with political theater criticism is the quantum one. Critics see each partisan’s preferred narratives as the essence of their “political” duties, and all insist that the battalions of resources demanded of them ice them as boldly as possible. gives Journalism is the audience For the narrative. That’s the whole point. No one at a Midwestern diner or at San Diego Comic-Con or in between would know a damn thing about it. narrative Unless it makes it to television or radio or the papers.
The very act of “analyzing” politics changes politics. It promotes whatever narrative columnists find most convincing. It is self-referential to the point of narcissistic, and originated as old European royalty. The majority of the nation’s national journalism is devoted to repeating politicians’ ideas about how we should do things. feel A very small fraction of national journalism bothers to explain the issues … taxation. At best.
Now comes the part where you wonder where I’m going with this, and here you go. Unfortunately. A thorough theater-critic analysis of Peter Baker in The New York Times Gives the paper another breath from reporting actual events to instead report how it all is looksA Washington, D.C., press corps that would respond to everything from a million dead Americans to an impending world-ending asteroid strike with equally clamorous questions about political enlightenment.
It’s titled “Even on Biden’s Big Day, He’s Still in Trump’s Long Shadow” and is based entirely on the projected optics of President Joe Biden signing the most important climate legislation ever. From journalists who care less, those who work for journalists. The New York Timesthan Donald Trump’s ongoing circus of crimes and mild treason since his coup.
I mean… yes. Yes, that’s how it works. A cure for cancer can be discovered tomorrow and holistically The New York Times or The Washington Post In the press rooms, there’s perhaps one in 10 reporters who would rush to that briefing if the timing made it a direct match for a House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy dismembers an orphan in the rotunda photo-op.
Passing legislation to address world-threatening problems can’t compete with Donald Trump Throws a Pie, in America’s newsrooms. It can’t doubly so if the pie contains multiple crimes and a strong whiff of outright nuclear treason.
And that, declares the assembled political press, is Biden’s problem.
Uuuuuughyou… you know… hmm. This is confusion. As a piece of theater criticism, Baker is absolutely right. Yes, it’s hard for Joe Biden to cope with the news that his predecessor, a corrupt con man who was impeached for an act of self-serving international coercion, was killed after assembling a violent, armed mob. Was suspended again for committing an assault. A joint session of Congress is now at the center of a criminal espionage investigation involving government nuclear weapons secrets, in the first attempt to overthrow the United States through a coup.
But this is also a the hell One thing to see is the focus of a criminal espionage investigation for moving a notoriously crooked and greedy former president to a government nuclear weapons secrets club that he uses to host foreign officials and agents with a keen interest in US nuclear secrets and On reflection, once again focus your attention on asking how political figures should be feel About this. Is it making them sad? Is it disturbing their own narrative?
Look, friends, I don’t know what to tell you here, but the current news cycle includes a bunch of very smart national security experts who are panicking. very much Circumstantial evidence suggests that future trade deals with a notoriously crooked former president, non-necessarily accommodating foreign governments, and the U.S.—no, the world—do not want to do business under any circumstances. was collecting top secret government documents to use as chips. With any new issue or crisis that comes to the fore that On a given news day.
This is the holy grail of news stories. Former president follows up coup attempt with potential nuclear spying, headlines a past The New York Times It would fuss over font sizes normally reserved for declarations of war, when it didn’t tie itself in knots with trying to make sure it was balancing treason and treason in equal proportions so that no loud do not speak in how the hell Are you even above that?
And how the hell Do you see it happening, the brave battalion of the nation’s top political reporters, and compulsively wondering to each other whether a possible foreign agent supporting treason is stealing Biden’s news thunder, his new What’s with being caught in layer after layer? crime
If any politician of the country wants to follow this, he should make a story big With the former president in the spotlight as a potential foreign spy, his aides should tie him to a chair and not let him do something like this to America. No orphan dissection today, thanks. There is no secret plan to nuke California until the San Andreas Fault gives way. No revelation that you’ve been cramming fifty squirrels inside a human-sized sack this entire time.
“Ex-president suspected of stealing nuclear secrets for personal gain” is a story that deserves to steal the headlines for a while. Is anyone seriously going to argue this no?
The point is that it is … a wonderful theater piece. I mean it. Here we see American journalism wondering in a windy report how an obscure criminal act, a big story, a potential national betrayal will cast the shadow of yet another politician. narrative.
There is no condemnation of a deeply corrupt practice. No judgment has been made on whether a man who caused deaths in the U.S. Capitol, rather than accept his election defeat, can finally prove, with these new affronts to our laws, that is bad. Heavens no, we are not here to make editorial judgments about acts of (violent!) political corruption in journalism. We are here to determine what narrative That results in inciting a violent mob to retaliate against a Vice President or being locked up with classified documents because your supposed private, salable property is for a criminal, or to law enforcement, or looking for “capitalization.” Looks better for a new political face. On the feelings of the public after hearing about all this.
Imagine if top national reporters for top national news outlets found themselves unable to muster an opinion on whether the repeated commission of crimes against the United States by a prominent elected official could be a bad thing. is, and instead falls upon themselves to bring you news about it. Supporters of treason feel About the crimes, or what the strategists of the criminal’s top party believe narrative should be crimes. Imagine if they maintained a studious air of neutrality on the whole disaster-US-government thing, instead turning their attention to the question of whether the architect’s endless stream of new crimes might not equal the non-criminal. Annoyed at meeting? Media attention.
And there we are. We’re right there, because every last person you meet in Washington, DC. In the seats you see, at press conferences you have to tell what a politician said, whether what they said will affect the narrative of the day, what other politicians might say. To try to engage journalists in other narratives, and Which even the flying hells care about Whatever the actual issue it was addressing – if it can even be remembered.
Something about climate change, was it? Or the cost of a new drug? This is something for the previous pages. That’s something for cheap reporters to cover, not expensive ones with anonymous sources who know the story before anyone else does. Front page news: Will the coup attempt fraudsters leading a group of violent rebel thugs be effective in establishing a new press before quickly moving on to the next crime? narrative Which facilitates his political comeback. Oh, we can’t wait. It is very exciting. Imagine all narrative which may have arisen in fascism stemming from a widespread public aversion to holding the powerful accountable. Imagine the political analysis that would result. Truly, a golden age for political journalism.