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Is Media Coverage of the 2020 Campaign Repeating the Old Mistakes?

Is Media Coverage of the 2020 Campaign Repeating the Old Mistakes?
Paul Waldman
February 10, 2019
Coverage of the 2016 election was an epic media failure. Will 2020 be any better?

The race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination is officially on. And it's already not going well.

I don't mean that as a knock on the candidates, who are an impressive (and large!) collection of officeholders. I'm talking about the way the media cover the race. And heaven help us, they seem to have learned nothing from what happened in 2016.

Or any year before that, for that matter. All this has me thinking back to the aftermath of the 1988 election, when news organizations decided that they had been manipulated into focusing the discussion on things like Willie Horton instead of more substantive issues. They held panel discussions and wrote essays about what had gone wrong in their coverage, and promised to do better. One of the results was the creation of the "ad watch," in which candidates' TV ads would be dissected to judge if they were accurate and fair. Reporters and editors promised that next time they'd focus less on the horse race and more on what the election would actually mean for Americans' lives.

Ad watches proliferated in 1992, but eventually became less common. Later on we saw the creation of projects like Politifact and factcheck.org, along with many fact-checkers employed by newspapers, in an attempt to not only correct the record when politicians lie but provide a disincentive to dishonesty. But as a whole, news coverage didn't change all that much: It was still poll-driven, centered on the horse race, and consumed with trivia. "What kind of president would this candidate be?" was a far less important question than "How will this latest gaffe play with voters?"

And it still is, despite what any sane person understands was a gigantic media failure in 2016. Faced with a candidate who was more blatantly dishonest than any politician in American history (he'd go on to make 8,158 false or misleading claims in his first two years in office), had zero relevant experience or understanding of government, had obvious disturbing ties to a foreign adversary, and was quite possibly the most corrupt major business figure in the country, they decided that the topic that required limitless journalist resources, column inches, and air time was the question of … whether Hillary Clinton used the wrong email account.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 11, 2019, 05:42 PM (9 replies)

Obama warned us about the Supreme Court we have right now

Obama warned us about the Supreme Court we have right now
Special rights for white Christian conservatives.
Ian Millhiser
Feb 11, 2019, 2:40 pm

Nearly fourteen years ago, a deeply conflicted young senator rose to announce his opposition to future Chief Justice John Roberts’ confirmation to the Supreme Court. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind Judge Roberts is qualified to sit on the highest court in the land,” the senator conceded. “Moreover, he seems to have the comportment and the temperament that makes for a good judge.”

Resume and temperament, however, were not enough. In the toughest cases, “adherence to precedent and rules of construction and interpretation will only get you through the 25th mile of the marathon.” How the judge covers the last mile “can only be determined on the basis of one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.”

The young senator who spoke these words was Barack Obama, and he spent much of his presidency getting dragged by Republicans who likened Obama’s call for judicial “empathy” to a promise to burn the Constitution and replace it with Das Kapital.
Former Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), then the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, described “empathy” as “a code word for an activist judge.” Several years later, when Obama nominated Chief Judge Merrick Garland to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, then-Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) attacked the nomination, claiming that “the so-called empathy standard is not an appropriate basis for selecting a Supreme Court nominee.”

Garland, of course, was not confirmed. And President Donald Trump since filled two Supreme Court vacancies with two judges who share Hatch and Grassley’s values. We now live under a high court majority that rejects Obama’s call for judicial empathy.

It shows.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 11, 2019, 05:12 PM (2 replies)

Kamala Harris on legalizing pot: 'Half my family is from Jamaica -- are you kidding me?'

Kamala Harris on legalizing pot: ‘Half my family is from Jamaica — are you kidding me?’
Sky Palma
By Sky Palma
Posted on February 11, 2019

In a stark contrast to Bill Clinton’s infamous “I didn’t inhale” response to questions about his alleged past use of marijuana, California senator and 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris proudly declared that she’s smoked before, and she did in fact inhale.

During an appearance on The Breakfast Club radio show this Monday morning, Harris was asked by host Charlamagne tha God about rumors that claim she’s opposed to the legalization of marijuana, to which Harris responded, “That’s not true.”

“And look, I joke about it — half joking — half my family is from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?” she said to an eruption of laughter in the studio.

Later in the segment, Charlamagne asked the question everyone wanted to know: “Have you ever smoked?”

“I have,” Harris responded matter of factly. “And I did inhale.”


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 11, 2019, 02:55 PM (6 replies)

Beto O'Rourke Will Join a Protest Against Donald Trump's Rally in Border Town of El Paso

Posted on Mon, Feb 11th, 2019 by Reuters
Beto O’Rourke Will Join a Protest Against Donald Trump’s Rally in Border Town of El Paso
By Tim Reid

EL PASO, Texas (Reuters) – Beto O’Rourke, the former Democratic Texas congressman who is considering a 2020 White House bid, will join a march Monday night to protest Republican President Donald Trump’s rally at the same time in the border town of El Paso.

O’Rourke, who became a Democratic star in 2018 during his unexpectedly close but unsuccessful bid for a U.S. Texas Senate seat, will make a speech lambasting Trump’s plans for a border wall as Trump promotes his long-promised barrier at an event nearby.

The dueling rallies come after Trump claimed in his State of the Union speech last week that a border fence separating El Paso from Mexico reduced the city’s high crime rate.

The remarks angered local politicians, including O’Rourke and the city’s Republican mayor, because El Paso’s crime rate was far below the national U.S. average before its border fence was expanded in 2005.

O’Rourke has denounced Trump on Twitter for stoking “false fear” about immigrants and said the city must use the president’s visit to “tell the true story about the border.”

“We will meet lies and hate with the truth and a vision for the future,” he said in a video over the weekend touting the counter rally.

O’Rourke is due to take part in the “March for Truth: Stop the Wall, Stop the Lies” event that will pass close to Trump’s venue at the El Paso County Coliseum. The former congressman is scheduled to deliver his speech at around the same time Trump takes the stage.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 11, 2019, 02:32 PM (0 replies)

Moulton Says He May Run for President


Moulton Says He May Run for President
February 11, 2019 at 7:01 am EST By Taegan Goddard

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) told BuzzFeed News that he is thinking about running for president.

Said Moulton: “I’m not definitely running, but I’m going to take a very hard look at it. A very serious look at it. Because I believe it’s time for a new generation of leadership, and we gotta send Donald Trump packing.”
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Feb 11, 2019, 08:24 AM (9 replies)

Trump Considering Declaring Wall Emergency To 'Protect' Troops That He Sent To The Border

Violating posse comitatus?


Posted on Sun, Feb 10th, 2019 by Jason Easley
Trump Considering Declaring Wall Emergency To ‘Protect’ Troops That He Sent To The Border

It is being reported that Trump is considering declaring an emergency to build his wall to protect the troops that he sent to the border.

The New York Times reported, “To stave off a court challenge, one proposal circulating among some White House officials, including those close to Stephen Miller, the president’s top domestic policy adviser, is to claim that the wall would be built to protect the more than 5,000 active-duty troops now operating near the southwestern border or deploying there soon.”

Here’s The Real Reason Why Troops Were Sent To The Border

Five thousand troops were not sent to the border because there is any real crisis. The troops were sent there as a pretext for declaring a national emergency. The endgame has always been that Trump would get his wall by declaring a national emergency. The troops are standing around with nothing to do because Donald Trump needs to make it look like there is a crisis on the border.

The reason why there is a stalemate in the conference committee is that Democrats want to make sure that ICE is locking up violent criminals instead of kids.

Trump is going to his fake border crisis to declare an emergency in an effort to get his wall.

No court is going to buy what Trump is considering trying to sell as the reason for his emergency.

Trump is likely going to get laughed out of court, as any judge can see that the national emergency is just another poorly executed Trump con.
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Feb 10, 2019, 07:00 PM (38 replies)

Pete Buttigieg's Quiet Rebellion


The Political Scene
Pete Buttigieg’s Quiet Rebellion
By Benjamin Wallace-Wells
February 9, 2019


Buttigieg, who attended Harvard, studied philosophy, politics, and economics (P.P.E.) at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, and did a tour in Afghanistan as a naval reservist, can seem like an “old person’s idea of a young person,” as Michael Kinsley once said of Al Gore. Certainly, against the image of the millennial left, and of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Buttigieg appears to be a more prosaic political character—he has a habit of giving answers in numbered sequence, and he uses phrases like “pathway to peace.” But, in his own understated way, he is suggesting a sharp break with the past. If you thought in terms of the effects of public policy on millennials, he said, you began to see generational imbalances everywhere. The victims of school shootings suffered because of the gun liberties given to older Americans. Cutting taxes for the richest Americans meant that young people, inevitably, would have to pay the bill. Climate policy, he said, was the deepest example of the imbalance, but the Iraq War was perhaps the most tangible. “There’s this romantic idea that’s built up around war,” he said. “But the pragmatic view is there are tons of people of my generation who have lost their lives, lost their marriages, or lost their health as a consequence of being sent to wars which could have been avoided.” Then he quoted, happily, from “Lawrence of Arabia”: “The virtues of war are the virtues of young men—courage and hope for the future. The vices of peace are the vices of old men—mistrust and caution.”

For much of his life, Buttigieg has been giving those around him the impression of extreme promise. Both of his parents were professors at Notre Dame, and he grew up in South Bend, near the campus. His father, Joe, was a translator of the Italian Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci and a scholar of James Joyce. His mother, Anne Montgomery, is a linguist. At Harvard, Buttigieg was the student president of the Institute of Politics, a role sought by the most ambitious of the exceptionally ambitious, but he could also suggest a more inquisitive nature. His close friend Nathaniel Myers recalled that Buttigieg had become entranced by the Norwegian novel “Naïve. Super,” by Erlend Loe, taught himself the language to translate another work by the author, and then started periodically attending a Norwegian church in Chicago to keep up. He plays piano, and has sat in with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra and Ben Folds. He was elected mayor of South Bend, in 2011, when he was twenty-nine, and only came out in advance of his reëlection campaign, when he was thirty-three. His wedding, to Chasten Glezman, who was a Montessori middle-school teacher, was broadcast live online.


One reason that there are so many candidates for the Democratic nomination for President is that there is no longer much certainty about what qualifies a person for the role. The two Democratic phenomenons of 2018, Ocasio-Cortez and Beto O’Rourke, were a twentysomething activist and a congressman who emphasized his dissolute youth. The President is a former reality-show star. That Buttigieg can plausibly run for the Democratic nomination, as the thirty-seven-year-old mayor of a city that is roughly half the size of Yonkers, depends on this new uncertainty. But it also owes something, paradoxically, to his conventional political style and résumé, which can help persuade the Party’s elders that they are looking not at a revolution but at talent.

Buttigieg described it a little bit differently: part of the gift of being a young politician was what you simply could not remember. In South Bend, which Newsweek had listed among ten dying American cities as he announced his first campaign for mayor, his efforts had been focussed on converting a factory economy to a post-industrial one, and during his tenure the city’s unemployment rate halved. Buttigieg said the break with the past had been easier for him because he could not remember a time when the Studebaker factories that once dominated South Bend were open—they had always just been abandoned urban “furniture” to him.

The element of his generation that most people miss, Buttigieg said, is that it is essentially pragmatic. “Actually, sometimes pragmatism points you in a comparatively radical direction,” he added. “So take universal health care,” he went on. “It is very pragmatic to look around and say, well, the countries that do this tend to be better than the countries that don’t. The system we have isn’t working very well, we ought to try this other system. Politically, it’s never been possible, because it’s been considered socialism, and socialism was a kill switch. Our generation did not live through the Cold War in the same way.”

As I got deeper into lunch with Buttigieg, I began to see him not as a counterweight to the radicalization of his Party but as an expression of it. If the cautious, studious, improbably ambitious Rhodes Scholar in the race, who emphasized the necessity of meeting middle America where it was, was himself supporting the abolition of the Electoral College, then that suggested that the generational transformation of the Party had been completed. Looks deceive. “I am among the most surprised that, as a thirty-seven-year-old mayor, I am being taken at least a little seriously as a candidate for President,” Buttigieg said. “But that very fact reflects that there is something in this moment that calls for newness.”
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Feb 10, 2019, 02:21 PM (8 replies)

Fox News pundit argues Trump is too ignorant to make racist taunt about Native American genocide

Now there's a defense.


Fox News pundit argues Trump is too ignorant to make racist taunt about Native American genocide
“See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!”
Patrick Smith
Feb 10, 2019, 10:35 am

Saturday evening, President Donald Trump added to his long history of racist taunts while taking another shot at potential 2020 rival Elizabeth Warren.


Trump has referred to Warren as “Pocahontas” for years, but this time he decided to throw in a mocking reference to the Trail of Tears, where thousands of Native Americans died while being forced by the U.S. government to relocate.

Swift condemnation followed Trump’s casual reference to Native American genocide, but Fox News’ Brit Hume suggested a convenient excuse for the president: he’s just too ignorant of history to really know what he was doing.
So it would seem that, yes, Trump knew exactly what he was doing by tweeting “See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz.”
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Feb 10, 2019, 01:12 PM (5 replies)

Momentum grows for a Sherrod Brown presidential run during his final day in New Hampshire

Momentum grows for a Sherrod Brown presidential run during his final day in New Hampshire
Updated Feb 9, 10:15 PM; Posted Feb 9, 10:15 PM

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, speaks with a voter in New Hampshire during a visit to Gibson's Bookstore in Concord. More than 150 people showed up to see the senator, who is considering running for president, speak. (Seth A. Richardson, cleveland.com)

By Seth A. Richardson, cleveland.com

BERLIN, LACONIA, CONCORD and MANCHESTER, N.H. -- After a full day blanketing the state of New Hampshire, it appears a presidential run from Sen. Sherrod Brown is gaining momentum with voters.

Brown, an Ohio Democrat, was greeted at several stops Saturday in the Granite State by his largest crowds to date. The senator is currently on a listening tour of the early-primary states to test his message as he mulls whether to jump in the 2020 Democratic primary to challenge Republican President Donald Trump.

The day started with an early-morning roundtable in Berlin where about 25 people showed up. Another roundtable followed just past noon in Laconia, where another 50 people came out.

By Brown’s 3 p.m. stop at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, a throng of more than 150 people packed the place for a meet and greet with the senator. He capped the night off by giving the keynote address during the New Hampshire Young Democrats’ annual fundraiser to an audience of about 350.

It was arguably the most successful quasi-campaign day for Brown yet and the latest sign he could be competitive in a growing field of primary candidates, even those with a head start. The group in Concord chose to come see Brown instead of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who held an event less than 40 miles away in Dover only hours after officially declaring her candidacy for president.

Unlike many of his other events where voters have come out of sheer curiosity, New Hampshirites on Saturday were generally more familiar with Brown, some through a recent spike in media coverage, but some having followed him for years.

Several who spoke with cleveland.com said they were already devoted to Brown should he decide to run.


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Feb 10, 2019, 09:32 AM (43 replies)

GOP Giddy as Democrats Embrace Green New Deal

Can I just say, fuck the gop. They live here, too, unfortunately.


GOP Giddy as Democrats Embrace Green New Deal
February 9, 2019 at 7:47 am EST By Taegan Goddard

“Prominent Democrats have rushed to embrace the Green New Deal — and Republicans couldn’t be happier about it,” Politico reports.

“As liberal groups pressure presidential candidates and lawmakers to back the ambitious climate proposal, Republicans hope their opponents may drift so far to the left that they will be more vulnerable in 2020. Since the election of President Donald Trump — who dismisses the link between carbon emissions and rising temperatures — Republicans have mostly steered clear of climate change, but in the Green New Deal they see a chance to pivot the argument back towards economics as growing majorities accept the underlying science.”
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Feb 9, 2019, 09:31 AM (6 replies)
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