Perspective is sorely lacking, and this apparent disconnect with regular citizens has never been so glaring as it is right now during the media’s ACA website glitch hysteria.
The gang of beltway intelligentsia came down on Joan Walsh when she pointed out that tech glitches were not the be all end all of ObamaCare, which just goes to show you that you are only allowed to have one thought in the media and it’s the one that the boys agree is “accurate” – the fact that white men are the minority and can’t possibly speak for everyone is totally lost here.
So the reason you see this huge disconnect is we have a government run by mostly privileged white men, being reported on by mostly privileged white men. Their experience frames their views, and they are so privileged that they stamp these views as the “facts” without a moment of doubt that they are correct and right.
A tech glitch will never stop desperate people from signing up for health insurance. It won’t stop the tears of gratitude from the many (not few) who had a health scare without insurance. And by the way, those with insurance were also denied help from insurance companies before ObamaCare.
Not everyone has the kind of privilege that makes messing with them a bad bet.
So we come again to the meaning of “minority”. In social and political terms, “minority” refers to people who hold few positions of power. Groups of minorities are categorized by race, gender, disability, wealth, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and more. Maybe white men from privileged backgrounds (who hold the majority of positions of social power in our society) don’t really know anything about what a majority (together, minorities are a numerical majority) of this country faces when they try to access services. If they did, they wouldn’t dream of being obsessed with tech glitches and hold music fails.
If you disagree with the media narrative, you are called names because apparently that is how the “intelligentsia” fights battles — by avoiding the issues, ideas and other people’s experiences and frames, and just attacking the character of the dissenter as less than. Joan Walsh was called an “Obama cheerleader” and a “c*nt” for pointing out that maybe the tech glitches aren’t something to get hysterical over, which is code for I don’t have a real argument, so I’m going to call this woman a cheerleader and that will shut her up.
Then she was accused of agitprop, which is hysterical coming from people who are using insults to silence dissent from their Anointed Opinion, but whatever– irony died so long ago. Anyone who disagrees with the established narrative will get it in the heart, so beware.
It’s adorable that folks are living in the old days when our government was the problem, and not the corporate theft of our government and rights. Very cute. But when facing reality, you can see actual agitprop is the same old same old — the status quo protecting itself from the people, from liberalism, from social change and social justice. (See the IRS “scandal”.)
Privilege. It’ll make a fool of you if you let it.
And while those people offered average Americans zero respect, I will offer them the courtesy of saying that I am sure they do not mean to be obtuse and ridiculous in their hysteria. But that is the curse of privilege. You make a fool of yourself when you have no intention of doing so, and you don’t even know it because in your frame of reference, it is a super big deal if you can’t get what you want right now and it is not offered perfectly.
For the rest of the country — for the minorities of the country, for the poor, the working class, the underdogs of the country, they never expected perfection because they are not used to getting what they need, let alone what they want how they want it.
They just wanted a lifeline and they will wait on hold for it and suffer through glitches for it. Also, most of the country can’t afford to wallow in theoreticals. They must be practical. A practical person gets a website glitch and tries the phone number because they need insurance. They don’t ponder the impact of glitches on Obama’s legacy.
The under-reported truth is that actual Americans are dying from lack of health insurance and yet our corporate media can’t stop concern trolling over glitches. If you dare question the perspective or priority, you are called an Obama Cheerleader, which is just like calling the ACA “ObamaCare” (meant as an insult but derp, not so insulting upon inspection), and said by someone who does not respect the fact that this President’s policies speak for the underdogs of this country. It’s worth noting that Obama has been the best president for women in terms of policy ever. No one calls defenders of policies that benefit the privileged “cheerleaders” because they are the status quo and thus do not require cheering.
To speak from the perspective of a minority and suggest that access to affordable healthcare is not destroyed if we have to wait a few weeks even is to be an “Obama Cheerleader”. Or maybe it’s just being a cheerleader for justice.
And maybe Obama is on the right side on this issue. Note that there is no difference in these people’s eyes from the policy to the man, or it would be “ObamaCare cheerleader”. That’s important and telling, because what Walsh was actually doing was supporting the policy for good, logical reasons that she laid out but they reduced it to a woman cheering a man instead of being a (implied naturally, innately) superior intellect as the men are.
Cheering ObamaCare is actually cheering for all of the folks who aren’t privileged. Aren’t these the people the fourth estate is supposed to be serving?
No, tech glitches are not the Big Deal, and they are not going to kill liberalism forever!1!1! They will be fixed and all of this will look as silly as it does right now to some of us.
Who’s going to fix the condescension of the social majority, or at least point out that this attitude is indicative of a failure to embrace the tenets of actual liberalism, while pretending that all liberalism depends on this one moment and only the White Man can save us all from the inevitable failures of the black president and his cheerleaders.
Truly, the President does not require another Very Important Person to inform him that the website needs to be fixed. So thanks but no thanks to the backseat screeching that is only doing one thing — enabling the rabid right’s destruction of the biggest piece of liberal legislation in decades. And yes, I will proudly go down in history as someone who cheered for ObamaCare.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.