The following is a PoliticusUSA editorial by Editor in Chief Sarah Jones.
President-elect Joe Biden received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history, but Democrats didn’t expand the House as predicted or take back the Senate (pending Georgia run offs). This has led to endless “Democrats in disarray” hot takes. Yes, we have just narrowly escaped the sweaty clutches of a wannabe autocrat and already the press is concerned about Democrats.
Greg Sargent pointed out on Twitter, “Democrats are about to oust an incumbent president by the largest popular vote margin since Obama 2008 and they rebuilt the Blue Wall that had pundits predicting their demise while hastening the Sun Belt expansion and they’re consumed in infighting.”
How did we get here?
The Columbia Journalism Review report found that the push of far right-wing narratives in mainstream news began before Trump took office.
Evidence proves that mainstream news has “revolved around the agenda that the right-wing media sphere set.” That has not worked out well for democracy.Fox News is refusing to accept Joe Biden as the President-Elect, and Donald Trump is falsely claiming the election was stolen from him as well as sowing distrust in the democratic process for which this country has been so admired for two centuries. Trump‘s supporters, indeed his own son, have smiled as his surrogates suggest shooting Democrats.
“Our own study of over 1.25 million stories published online between April 1, 2015 and Election Day shows that a right-wing media network anchored around Breitbart developed as a distinct and insulated media system, using social media as a backbone to transmit a hyper-partisan perspective to the world. This pro-Trump media sphere appears to have not only successfully set the agenda for the conservative media sphere, but also strongly influenced the broader media agenda, in particular coverage of Hillary Clinton.”
And I’d argue this paved the way for exactly this president – knowing, as they did, that they had already assisted his predecessor in grotesque abuses of Bible humping and flag-waving combined with a level of aggression only seen in the truly unimaginative and willfully ignorant — Sarah Palin.
So they were warned. We were all warned.
Has there been a mainstream media post mortem, other than to muse over the Dems in disarray narrative they love to spin in times of Republican trouble? Of course not, Donald Trump made them wealthy. Money makes the world go around. Greed is what got us here. Corruption and greed and a corporate media that is wedded to shareholders instead of the people.
The job of a journalist is supposed to be to ask the questions with an eye to serving the people, to holding the powerful accountable. That is not what we have going on in this country and it will continue into a Joe Biden presidency.
We have an access culture, a D.C. insiders club, and politics as sport, when politics is actually life and death for the people, especially right now.
People have to be primed to accept a cult leader, and they have been by our media’s uplifting of far-right, nihilistic ideology.
There is a lot of work to do to save this democracy and it can’t be done by Democrats alone.
It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen just because Joe Biden was elected. The people need to see the fight they are up against and accept that no president can save them or this country and no party alone can change what’s broken.
The fight for democracy never ends, because evil always finds ways to grab power and abuse it, most often behind a falsely pious religious mask with both hands in the taxpayer till.
The good news is that Joe Biden is not only one of the first politicians to ever to submit climate change legislation and one of two people behind the original Violence Against Women Act, but he is at his core a man of decency and a man of the people. If it can be done legally from the office of the presidency, Joe Biden will do whatever he can to help the people of this country.
The Democratic Party has been advancing agendas for the people for years, only to be conflated in the corporate media in he said/she said battles with the Republican Party, which in case anyone missed it, is currently at war with the very system of democracy that makes this country so admired around the world.
The media is built around the horse race drama model of eyeballs, clicks, and money – and democracy cannot sustain like this, because the truth is rarely served. This isn’t to infer that journalists within this structure aren’t doing excellent work – they are, and it’s being funded by corporate outlets, which is important. But the way it’s often served to the public is bland subservient tea to the corporate interests with the deep pockets.
This battle is almost over, but the war goes on and Donald Trump will be inciting the ugliest parts of it for years to come and our media will bite, bite, bite because he drives clicks clicks clicks.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden will be in the White House trying to get things passed that help the people who most need it, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be leading the House Democrats (after the infighting dies down, and no, you can’t win a race like the esteemed Rep. Katie Porter wins her race in a reddish area all over the country) to pass important help for the people that Senator Mitch McConnell will gleefully shove to the bottom of his list – he has already promised to obstruct a President Biden.
Democrats aren’t in disarray because the 2020 Democratic House losses are easily explained. In 2018, Democrats ousted Republicans in Republican-leaning districts due to a turnout advantage. The Republicans in those red-leaning districts showed up to vote for Trump in 2020, and the first term House Democrats lost.
Democrats must stop trying to get the press to like them. They’ve just seen a press corp contort itself to appease the mercurial whims of a madman. Learn something from this.
We haven’t even waded through Trump‘s endless legal challenges as a cover to suck his cult dry and of course, the foaming ignorance of his true believers falling over from his Covid lies and still gulping down his Kool-aid.
Four long years of the p*ssy grabber-in-chief and the widespread elevation of his inhumane, sick, incompetence later, and many of us see the country very differently than we did before.
But in no way is this a failure of Democratic policies, platforms, or agendas. This was a battle for the soul of this nation, and those are hard-fought. If it had been easy, it wouldn’t have been so terrifying.
Democrats just made history, which is the opposite of being in disarray. The real story here isn’t that Democrats are fighting about why they lost House and Senate races, but rather why exactly the public doesn’t know exactly who is trying to help them.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ 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.