Dems in disarray, part MCMXII

I took this screenshot last Saturday before it disappeared — a “moment’s monument,” to quote Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who knew about masochism and hurling himself into graves but not the potency of the Washington political press. As for the news itself, well, I wanted the infrastructure and social spending bills passed together. Progressives are pessimistic,Continue reading “Dems in disarray, part MCMXII”

The buncombe of ‘bipartisanship’

For certain bluebloods in the Beltway commentariat, a government should be as coherent, organized, and commonsensical as a Sunday column. Hence the appeal of bipartisanship. W.H. Auden, as we say, had their number. “A society which was really like a good poem, embodying the aesthetic virtues of beauty, order, economy and subordination of detail toContinue reading “The buncombe of ‘bipartisanship’”

On the perils of aspirationalism

The trouble with political aspirationalism: if you are, say, Joe Biden, you’ve spent decades climbing ever closer to the center of power. You have little incentive to question much less dismantle this ladder. You accept the assumptions because without those assumptions your ascension wouldn’t have happened. This phenomenon works doubly so for minorities.

How to fix political journalism

The invaluable Dam Froomkin, the best unofficial public editor in the biz, admonishes colleagues for #bothsides reporting, a plague crippling the Beltway for at least four decades but reached a new peak during the Obama years and 2016 election. We allow solons to frame stories around two parties. “Two-party framing limits us to covering whatContinue reading “How to fix political journalism”

Objectivity and reporting: The naiveté of Chuck Todd

I hope what remains of journalism programs will issue autopsies on the skills they’ve taught their graduates. “Objectivity,” confused with fairness, still shines like the North Star. Fairness requires a reporter covering a city hall scandal, for example, to interview the state attorney’s office, whoever represents the department in question, and the accused, among others;Continue reading “Objectivity and reporting: The naiveté of Chuck Todd”

From the annals of Beltway journalism

With coronavirus cases up eleven thousand in twenty-four hours and climate change accelerating, it remains a comfort to know Maggie Haberman’s stenographic skills sharpen publication after publication: In the meantime, Mr. Trump has spent his days toggling between his White House residence and the Oval Office, watching television coverage about the final weeks of hisContinue reading “From the annals of Beltway journalism”

Watch this space in two months….

Marc Caputo and Ryan Lizza’s nightly POLITICO newsletter includes a bit so obvious that it’s a wonder they understand its implications. Should Joe Biden win the presidency, he will, like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, inherit an economy in flames. What will the GOP do? We know what happens to the Republican opposition in WashingtonContinue reading “Watch this space in two months….”

Chris Matthews — RIP

Not really. But! “His main motivation has always been ensuring that Chris Matthews is on television and taken seriously. He represents, perhaps, in some small way, the intersection of the elite media and the progressive media — his debate freak-out combined the Beltway obsession with the ephemeral and stylistic with a sort of progressive tendencyContinue reading “Chris Matthews — RIP”