Wednesday, January 23, 2019


Chris Hayes is right: This is the most aggrieved the right has felt since the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, and the most energized. There's a belief that left-leaners and the mainstream media ruined the lives of the Covington Catholic boys (even though they're now folk heroes on the right) just the way there was a belief that we ruined Kavanaugh's life (even though he's now quietly sitting on the Supreme Court with lifetime tenure).

The right, meanwhile, believes it has "Kavanaughed" the narrative. That's true for much of the press: As Adam Serwer notes, there's been a media overcorrection -- first the kids were condemned, then, as more video footage emerged, they were declared to be 100% blameless, as media figures began beating themselves up for believing what they saw in the first video.
... the narrative shifted entirely in the other direction: It wasn’t the teenagers who were misbehaving; they were reacting to a circuslike atmosphere in which they were being taunted with insults by an extremist faction of the Black Hebrew Israelites in Washington, D.C.
But there's a backlash to the backlash: Many on the left aren't willing to write off our first impressions of the kids. This happened with Kavanaugh, too: Conservatives believed that the difficulty of corroborating the stories Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, and the emergence of a dubious accusation midwived by Michael Avenatti, meant that they'd won the case beyond a reasonable doubt -- Kavanaugh was self-evidently innocent and only an angry fringe believed otherwise. They didn't grasp that Ford's accusation still seems extremely plausible to many of us, and that in the hearings he seemed like a volatile rage monster who might well be capable of what he'd been accused of.

In other words, they thought they'd won a total victory, and they hadn't. They thought they'd saved the midterms for the GOP, and they hadn't -- it's possible that they saved a Senate seat or two by appealing to the naked rage of right-leaning voters, but Democrats won the House, many governorships, and hundreds of state legislative seats. Kavanaughing in that case meant thoroughly discrediting our side as unfit to govern; in fact, the opposite happened.

They think they're Kavanaughing this narrative. They're right that much of the media is successfully Kavanaughed, but I think it will be hard to sell the "You libs and journalists ruined Nick Sandmann's life" line when Sandmann is being cooed over by Savannah Guthrie on the Today show. But let them declare victory, if that's what they want to believe. We're the ones who are pissed off now.

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