Train Won't Stop

Christy wrote this morning about Jamison Foser's roundup at Media Matters of the corporate press reaction to Democrats' sweeping victories in this month's midterm elections:

The political media aren't becoming more responsible; they're simply continuing to direct their scorn at Democrats and progressives. Just this week, media have hyped purported Democratic disarray while downplaying or ignoring altogether GOP infighting; falsely suggested that Nancy Pelosi is as unpopular as President Bush; asserted that Democrats — who do not yet actually control Congress and won't until next year — are "starting to feel some of the pressure" of catching Osama bin Laden without explaining how Bush and the GOP let him get away; and suggested that Nancy Pelosi, who hasn't even become speaker of the House yet, is already "damaged goods." 

. . . Progressives — anyone who cares about honest, accurate, and fair journalism, really – simply must understand what they are up against: an elite media that continually screws them, then apologizes to the Right for not screwing the Left harder.

That's what's coming. The Right, having been spanked at the ballot box, will increase their attacks on the media, blaming journalists for the unpopularity of their failed ideas and leaders. Journalists, already carrying water for the GOP — wittingly or not — will apologize for not carrying more, internalize the complaints, and reflect them in new reports filled with an ever-growing deluge of conservative misinformation.

Foser's conclusion is expressed concisely by Christy:

What can we do about the media issue?  Short of continuing to call them on bullshit and pressuring them at every opportunity where it is needed, I'm stumped. 

In a lot of ways, though, that's enough.  The Nagourneys and Halperins of this world, we will always have with us.  As Foser points out, it's in the Republicans' interests to keep browbeating the media, and in the media's self-interest to take the path of least resistance by continuing to bend with the wind of all the GOP hot air — at least until we generate a "noise machine" that's able to punish them just as much for their submission, thereby reducing their incentive to cave.  (Thanks to Media Matters, the blogiverse, and others, we're getting there.)

But what about all of our Democratic politicians with the new media platforms afforded by their new majority status — shouldn't they help bash the biased narratives of the press?  Well, personally, I'd prefer they do nothing.

By "nothing," of course, what I really mean is that they shouldn't be distracted from the more important business of enacting their agenda.  For example, though newspapers and cable channels have doted on James Carville's sniping at Howard Dean, here was Dean's response yesterday:

"It was a great win for what I call the new Democratic Party," Dean said in a speech to the Association of State Democratic Chairs. "This is the new Democratic Party. The old Democratic Party is back there in Washington, sometimes they still complain a little bit."

. . . "We are going to do the 50-state strategy for the next 150 years so we can be the dominant party power in this country again," he said.

How can Dean be so unconcerned?  Because he knows he's doing the job the state parties backed him to do, and he's got their support. 

Meanwhile, georgia10 at Daily Kos takes note of the Democratic radio address given by Senate majority leader Harry Reid this morning:

There will be, as there should be, a continuous attempt to find common ground with the more rational and logical members of the minority.  That common ground though will be on Democratic turf, for while Democrats are open to compromise, they don't seem ready to compromise their principles.  

And why can Reid be confident in believing that Democrats are, in fact, already standing on the "common ground"?  Check out these post-election poll results from Newsweek:

Presented with a list of factors that may have contributed to the Democrats’ success, 85 percent of Americans said the “major reason” was disapproval of the administration’s handling of the war in Iraq, . . .[and] 61 percent said Democrats’ ideas and proposals for changing course in Iraq.

. . .  And there’s massive support for much of the Democratic Congress’s presumed agenda. For instance, 75 percent of Americans say allowing the government to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies to lower drug prices for seniors should be a “top priority,” including 67 percent of Republicans. Increasing the minimum wage comes next (68 percent) on the public’s list, followed by investigating government contracts in Iraq (60 percent).

Like I said here just over a week ago, the goal for the newly empowered Democratic leaders should be "understanding what issues the broad American public considers to be the most pressing business before the country, and presenting common-sense solutions to them. . . . As with Social Security and Iraq, we should let anyone who stands in our way know that the train is leaving the station, and it's up to them to get on board."

That's why the best response to the media mosquitos is this statement yesterday from supposedly beleaguered Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (via Tristero): 

This morning, I visited our brave men and women at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center. It is a place of prayers, of honor, of respect, and reflection. And I left there more committed than ever to bringing the war to an end.

I told my colleagues yesterday that the biggest ethical issue facing our country for the past three and a half years is the war in Iraq.

. . . The new Democratic Congress will live up to the highest ethical standard, beginning with the first 100 legislative hours when we start to change the way business is done in Washington. We are prepared to lead and ready to govern. We will honor the trust of the American people; we will not disappoint.

Framing political policies as a moral, ethical duty?  I couldn't have said it better myself .  And why even mention the now-irrelevant Murtha-Hoyer nonsense?  At the severe risk of paraphrasing Dubya, the only way that the media and the Republicans can keep the Democrats from doing the people's business is if they indeed stop doing the people's business.

That's how Bill Clinton beat Newt Gingrich and the "Clinton scandals" in the '90s — he kept doing the people's business, and kept making indelibly clear that's what he was doing.

Sure, the GOP Wurlitzer needs to be fought, too.  But that's our job.