Tuesday, April 30, 2013


You know the rap on low-information voters: they don't feel it's worth their while to follow politics closely, or they simply don't have time, and so, among other things, they're easily manipulated by Republicans, who can create crises (debt ceiling brinkmanship, for instance) or block attempts to solve existing crises (persistent unemployment, for instance), secure in the knowledge that low-info voters will simply blame the president, since they're not really familiar with a lot of other people in government.

I'm struggling to detect an effective difference between these low-info voters and certain members of the Beltway press corps.

President Obama held a press conference this morning, in which, among other things, he was asked:
... do you still have the juice to get the rest of your agenda through this Congress?
He said:
... you seem to suggest that somehow, these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. That’s their job. They are elected, members of Congress are elected in order to do what's right for their constituencies and for the American people.
But this is not being covered as if there is anything wrong with the people the president is dealing with. Dylan Byers of Politico headlined not one but two posts "Obama the Helpless." National Journal's Ron Fournier, apparently angling for a job at a future Koch-owned newspaper, wrote,
Obama channeled [Bill] Clinton's April 18, 1995, news conference by projecting a sense of helplessness--or even haplessness--against forces seemingly out of a president's control.
And so on. In other words, this isn't about whether there's something wrong with anyone else in D.C. -- it's all about the president. Congress exists only as one of the things pathetic, helpless Obama can't do anything about.

The American Prospect's Jamelle Bouie writes:
... congressional Republicans have agency, and at a certain point, they need to be held accountability for their actions. It's not on Obama that Republicans refused to expand background checks. To treat it as if it were obscures the realities of policymaking and helps Republicans evade responsibility for their choices.
But the rest of the press is having none of this.

At a certain point, I don't see how the press's refusal to focus on anything but the president is effectively different from low-information voters' tendency to focus on the president because they don't know any better. Maybe Beltway journos don't know any better either. They know Congress exists -- they just don't seem to grasp, literally don't seem to know, that it consists of people who actually have a sworn duty to the country to try to solve problems.


Never Ben Better said...

Nah, it's way easier to yammer on about the president as a failure than to get into those pesky details required to explain how Congress is the problem.

Ten Bears said...

They're so hooked on the Kool-Aid they're drinking each other's urine.

No fear.

Victor said...

May I suggest that we form a protest movement?

We can call it FOFSFMFSFMFE - "Fuck Our Fucking Shitty Fucking Main Fucking Stream Fucking Media!!! FUCK 'EM!!!!!!"
Ok - that acronym needs some work.

Protesters will have the easiest thing in the world to do - not subscribe, or buy, newspapers or magazines, and tune out everything "news-related," except MSNBC in the evening and weekend mornings.

And then, maybe, just maybe, they'll stop hiring people who were too fucking stupid to try to get BA's in Communications, and instead, "studied" Journalism.

Simpletons, morons, imbeciles, idiots,and useless hacks, one, and almost all!

BH said...

Based on my admittedly limited experience with journalists, in particular broadcast journalists: I think Occam's Razor works fine here. By and large, journalists are no more well-informed (discounting gossip), and have no more grasp of how the federal government is structured or operates, than the average low-information intermittent voter.

Joey Blau said...

The word went out to attack Obama because he wants to rule the world! O's big problem is HUBRIS!! how dare he!

this was repeated over and over by the clones.

Ten Bears said...

The Stepford Clones?

No fear.

Examinator said...
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Examinator said...

Just in case anyone can't see the relevance of the proposed strategy to the article , consider this the media and the NRA are business orientated mouthpieces for business.
To respond it would cost a bomb in $'s in the media.
The primary point is that such a campaign would give the public "warm and fuzzies" over all it checks all the emotional boxes, children, self preservation , they are empowered Belonging, telling the Big guy.
It signals people power and would force the MSM to peddle softly or support it. It might encourage the media to realize that they need to dial back on the rhetoric... even may be add a bit more objectivity to their stories... maybe not a lot but it's better than the runaway freight train now.
Nothing succeeds like success. My bet is that more people will watch the news in such a campaign because it's about THEM heir power etc.

Examinator said...

Interesting idea BUT
Those who need to stop "drinking the (MSM) Kool aid", move out of the echo chamber etc can't or won't because the MSM is their emotional (confirmation) touch stone that they are part of something greater than themselves.

The media is a business to sell advertising. To do that they supply what the public wants (so long as it meets with their paying client's [business' interests]).

They have discovered pandering to the emotions is more effective (successful/profitable).

There is no commercial way that news rooms full of university communication grads would be *allowed* (by their employer) to sacrifice easy, cheap profit for a truth that would threaten their profitable target clients.

The consumer's contribution to their bottom line is the same as a tethered goat to a gristly bear hunter… trivial.

In reality the journalists’ role, in MSM, is that of the sheep dog to round up the sheep (the great unwashed consumer) for the farmer (MSM). Like all (always business men) graziers (sheep farmers) they are looking for cheaper production methods in order to make more profit when selling their sheep to the manufacturers ( to be fleeced or butchered in the name of profit). Telling the MSM to consider the welfare of the people would be as productive as an animal rights activist telling a glazier to build a music room for sheep to “chill out in”.

BTW graziers have Fire arms and not noted for their ‘progressive attitudes’!

The real question to me is how to better meet the emotional needs of the “sheep” so as to better help the flock as a whole?

As Chomsky says (in the minds of the “sheep”) they have genuine (REAL) concerns” and yelling at or belittling them will only make them more agitated, frightened, defensive… achieve nothing positive.

In my mind the 75% public who say they want to pass closing loop holes in Fire arm checks were given the vehicle and really had the will, could sink the gun lobby’s obstructionist campaign.

Keep in mind to businesses (despite their rhetoric), it is a business decision i.e. cost benefit/ decision.

I'm proposing that the public, say with Congressional members support and other groups (Like PTAs, victims support groups, mother’s clubs etc) start “an independent, single interest, *temporary* group, to raise money to OFF SET only the lobby’s attack on incumbent congressional members’ seats (either party) it would be a game changer.

IMPORTANT: the group must have a sunset clause in it’s constitution to stop it becoming anything else or going beyond it’s mandate. This would head off counter claims of being a front for the left

This would de party politicize the issue;

Sharpen the Grass roots Public V Business nature of the issue;

*Raise the cost of opposition further marginalizes benefit to the fire arm checks* (Cost V benefit), at the moment it all one (the wrong) way.

Examinator said...
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