Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Active Evil, Passive Press

So, to recap: yesterday McCarthy named Jim Jordan and Jim Banks to the Select Committee on the January 6 insurrection, along with three less offensive GOP apparatchiks; Jordan and Banks both promptly signaled their intent to sabotage the investigation; this morning Speaker Pelosi accepted the three less offensive guys, and vetoed Jordan and Banks; and McCarthy threw a carefully staged hissy fit in which he withdrew all five and condemned the comittee as a partisan "sham process".

Cue the shitty beltway journalist takes. Among the first of the worst was, unsurprisingly, someone from Politico: It's "definitely going to look partisan and political". Extraordinary how this perception materializes with no involvement or culpability on the part of the people whose job it is to inform us about politics.

Also unsurprisingly, along comes Chris Cillizza and asks Rachel Bade to hold his beer, delivering a piece headlined Nancy Pelosi just doomed the already tiny chances of the 1/6 committee actually mattering:
If you ever held any hope that the House select committee on the January 6 US Capitol riot might produce a report that would help us understand what happened in the lead-up to that day and, in so doing, provide us avenues to keeping it from happening again, you should give up on those hopes now.

The reason? Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision Wednesday to reject two of the five nominees -- Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana -- put forward by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to serve on the panel.
The amount of nonsense in these two short passages is staggering, from the bizarre claim that an investigation without Jordan & Banks can't possibly arrive at the truth to the laughable notion that Nancy Pelosi is to blame for it. What's worse is that Cillizza knows this latter is bullshit:
[I]t's beyond debate that McCarthy's choices -- especially Banks and Jordan -- were aimed at turning the committee into something of a circus. Both men would have, at every turn, sought to turn the tables on Democrats -- using the platform provided by the committee to push debunked claims about Antifa's involvement in the Capitol riot, questioning Democratic leadership's readiness for just such an attack and trying to broaden the committee's mandate to cover the Black Lives Matter protests of summer 2020....

You can be sure every Republican will use Pelosi's rejection of their nominees as evidence that she doesn't want the, uh, truth to come out.

This isn't true, of course. There's zero evidence that suggests Pelosi or Democrats did anything wrong in advance of or during the January 6 riot, which was incited by former President Donald Trump. [emphasis added]
And yet despite the transparent falsehood of the Republican line,
Pelosi has handed Republicans a golden issue to rev up their base in advance of the 2022 midterms -- and you can bet they will use it.
So, to sum up: Jordan and Banks signaled their intent to sabotage the investigation. (Jordan is also a potential witness, which should be disqualifying in itself.) Pelosi's rejection of the two is substantively correct. She accepted 3 of the 5 nominees; it's indisputably McCarthy who decided that, as a result, no Republicans would serve on the committee.

But whatever the substantive results the committee will come to naught because of some perception of partisanship, which is all Nancy Pelosi's fault. And this perception, once again, simply materializes. It is utterly beyond the power of someone like Chris Cillizza to counter this perception, which he knows to be entirely false.

There's so much that's maddening in both of these--the obsession with optics and surface narratives, the slavish devotion to a bipartisanship they know cannot exist--but the most maddening may be the self-enforced faux passivity. Passivity in their unquestioning transmission of Republican talking points; faux in the pretense of their inability to do otherwise. In a nation where one party is waging war against democracy, it's the Chris Cillizzas and Rachel Bades who may well doom[] the already tiny chances of the 1/6 committee actually mattering.

ETA: Rachael Bade's name didn't ring any bells for me. Fortunately there are people out there who know more than I do, or at least different things than I do. A little googling got me to a Townhall story called Gowdy Names Reporters Who Helped Peddle Schiff Leaks During Russia Investigation. Talking about reporters he thinks were unfair, Gowdy says
“Let’s just start with Politico and anyone not named Rachael Bade,” Gowdy said. “She was the only reporter that I dealt with that was fair.” [emphasis added]
Well, there you are.

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