Liberal media is not always friend of liberals
So Joe Biden is in. He’s not millennial, not female, not a member of a racial minority. That’s a problem for him, sayeth much of the so-called liberal media. The problem, however, may be the media.
Biden’s foothold in the Democratic Party wasn’t a problem right after the election of Donald Trump, when Stephen Colbert put Biden on the show to comfort a heartbroken constituency. Colbert’s young audience went wild for him as the embodiment of a decent brand of politics.
We all know that Biden long ago held positions not deemed racially woke by more modern standards. However, they did not deter America’s first African American president from making Biden his running mate. Biden’s traditional views of women may be dated on some counts, but they also include nice things, such as being faithful to one’s wife. Meanwhile, he’s campaigned for scores of female candidates.
One of the most absurd assumptions — pushed by news outlets that should know better — is that Biden isn’t a liberal. “His challenge this time,” The Washington Post reports, “will be to wrestle control of a party that has been energized by many demographics to which Biden does not belong.” First on the list was “liberals.”
Advocating for a stronger Obamacare or plans for expanding Medicare are all liberal positions. Some are more radical than others, but liberal is not synonymous with radical. Importantly, politicians who can make their liberal ideas sound mainstream are the ones who win general elections.
The villain here is conformism more than bias. Always hovering over reporters is The Story that keeps the herd running along the same track.
In a mostly friendly “60 Minutes” interview, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about the conflicts within the House Democratic Caucus.
“It looks as if it — you’re — it’s fractured,” Lesley Stahl said in reference to The Story. She talked of conflicts “between the moderates and the progressives” and “wings” in the Party, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on one side.
“That’s like five people,” Pelosi responded.
“No,” Stahl came back, “the progressive group is more than five.”
A frustrated Pelosi felt obliged to note, “I’m a progressive.”
For decades, “San Francisco liberal” was practically Pelosi’s first name. Now all of a sudden, she has to defend herself and other Democrats as liberals — all because a handful of new reps elected in super safe Democratic districts have redefined them for a docile media.
Suppose AOC were to lead even 10 radicals. Ten out of 235 House Democrats is hardly a schism. Some 43 of the new Democratic members won in Republican districts.
Not long ago, the Affordable Care Act was considered radical. A preference to merely strengthen it should not be cause for eviction from the progressive home. A liberal media obsessed with social media lends skewed importance to those who are good at it.
How many democratic socialists are there in the caucus? Two.
The Republican-biased media is, of course, happy to pass on The Story that the far left — the cliche is “energized base” — now runs the Democratic Party. Nearly every poll shows Democrats are most energized about nominating whoever could most easily defeat Donald Trump.
Face it. Conflict draws readers, which is why reporters of all political bents like to put strife at the center of their stories. Sometimes they accurately portray reality. But very often, they blatantly exploit emotions.
Braver members of the “liberal media” should loudly question the received wisdom, starting with who qualifies as a liberal. As for the others, perhaps it’s time to retire some of the stories they keep repeating to themselves.
Editor’s note: Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.