This isn’t a defense of politicians, it’s an indictment of the media

So, there’s an article up on Raw Story about how House Republicans are likely to impeach VP Harris and/or President Biden should they gain a majority in 2022. In discussing this fact, some people claim that elected Republicans don’t necessarily want to engage in a corrupt tit-for-well justified tat. Rather, according to retired House member Tom Rooney:

“It might not necessarily be what some of those guys want to do, but it might be what the base expects. People want Armageddon.”

The article continues:

Rooney wasn’t saying that he thinks that impeaching Biden would be a good idea should Republicans retake the House in 2022 — only that parts of his party are feeling incredibly vindictive. And that type of severe partisanship is why Rooney decided not to seek reelection in 2018.

Brendan Buck, a Republican media strategist who worked for two former GOP House speakers — Paul Ryan and John Boehner — told the Times, “We’re in an era where you need to make loud noises and break things in order to get attention. It doesn’t matter what you’re breaking — as long as you’re creating conflict and appeasing your party, anything goes.” [emphasis mine]

As the title of this post says, the fact that they’re willing to go along with a raging mob in violating the spirit of the constitution in order to preserve the privileges of their elected position and further their own power says nothing positive about House Republicans. But it certainly does say something negative about the US media landscape that “breaking things” results in the media attention that generates political power.




  1. Tethys says

    Their base is leaving the party in droves. Catering to the violent gun and body armor faction that wants ‘Armageddon” is a great losing strategy.

    The orange clown never won the popular vote. His base is and always has been a minority of the voting public.

  2. says

    Well, this (your blog) is media.

    Yep, I mean media writ large. As I was writing it, I was thinking about whether I reward pugilistic politicians more than quietly productive ones, even when they both endorse the same policies. That might very well be true, but only in the sense that the larger media ecosystem might bring the pugilistic ones more to my attention than others. For instance, I was completely unfamiliar with Sherrod Brown before the last presidential primary.

    I’ll continue to think about this. I should be accountable in the same manner and using the same criteria as other contributors to the media ecosystem, even if it’s obvious my little blog can’t possibly merit the same level of responsibility.

  3. says

    General case: “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.”

    Media specific case: “If it bleeds, it leads.”

    When people got their news from the broadsheets; media could drill down into the substance, rather than the form. Now we have so many things fighting for our attention. So I think there’s something valid in that study that people only think about politics for a few minutes a week (I find the principle compelling if not the numbers). So if you want to stand out you need to provide a spectacle and an outrageous soundbite.

    These days you only get 15 seconds of fame in a news clip.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    Would you really rather have the news not report about all the things getting broken?

    We just don’t, and won’t, have any options for things not getting broken.

  5. says

    @Pierce R. Butler:

    You can report on things getting broken without reporting on the people who broke them deliberately for attention. Also, please, I said:

    But it certainly does say something negative about the US media landscape that “breaking things” results in the media attention that generates political power.

    There’s lots of media attention that doesn’t generate political power. For instance, the attention paid to Jeffrey Epstein’s ill-begotten wealth after his criminal sex trafficking came to light. Sure they were writing about his wealth, but they weren’t doing it in a way that increased his political influence.

    It’s possible to write about broken things, it’s even possible to write about the people who broke the things, without giving power to the people who cause problems instead of solving them. “Attention” and “influence” don’t have to go together. I know, because I was bullied a lot at school as a child: I got attention, but that doesn’t mean I had influence. This is not, of course, to endorse bullying, but rather to show as proof-of-concept that attention to your behaviors doesn’t have to work out well for a person.

    If what you do is break things to gain personal power, no one needs you. And the system that rewards you with power in return for your destruction is a bad system.

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    Crip Dyke… @ # 6: And the system that rewards you with power in return for your destruction is a bad system.

    And that, mostly, is the one we live in.

    The problem lies in part with the media, but much more so with those parts of the populace and the power elite who reward the breakage (viz, the party named in your OP).

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