Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Our liberal media

It occurs to me: part of the problem with our political media and analysis is that they always define Republican victory in terms of political direction and Democratic victory in terms of extremity. That is, a Republican victory is seen as a repudiation of liberalism, while a Democratic victory is seen as a repudiation of extremism. One suggests a push towards the right is the mandate of an election; the other suggests a push towards the center is the mandate of an election. Just another way in which the media pursues a "heads conservatives win, tails liberals lose" narrative.
Maybe that'll start to change.

10 comments:

JK said...

Isn't this accurate, though? Your blog largely pushes this same viewpoint. The GOP is often far right, and the Dems are often centrist or center-right. This is not the dynamic in eg Massachusetts with Warren and maybe a few other places, but as you yourself said, Donnelly over Mourduck in Indiana is pretty fairly framed as a repudiation of extremism and not a ringing endorsement of liberalism.

I only have time for a cursory search now, but look at eg
http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2012/2012/11/07/elizabeth-warren-defeats-incumbent-scott-brown-first-mass-woman-senate-hard-race-ends-victory-for-liberalism/acfZ1HHLDyWK05QZxh494J/story.html

Freddie said...

Sure, but that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy-- the media's narrative that a Democratic win signals a national urge for moderation than becomes the narrative through which they are punished if they pursue liberal ends. Last night might have been a vote for moderation in Indiana and Missouri, but not nation-wide.

Anonymous said...

Fight for what you believe in.

-GamestopDorito

JK said...

I don't understand - are you saying a vote for Obama was not a vote for moderation? The news today is all about how he's going to go ahead and try for a bi-partisan "grand bargain."

Freddie said...

Now you're just trying to provoke me!

I'm saying that the tendency to look at a national landscape in which people like Elizabeth Warren and Alan Grayson were elected, people like Allen West and Richard Mourdock soundly rejected, and declare it a victory for moderation is the kind of learned helplessness that makes reform impossible. Read this post from Ta-Nehisi Coates:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/11/hippies-wander-into-the-lions-den-maul-lions/264921/

I really think the attitude that liberals never win is indicative of a kind of abused mindset, and a self-fulfilling prophecy.

JK said...

I don't disagree with Coates's points, but I'm kind of shocked to hear this take from this blog. I also don't really fully see Warren's and Grayson's elections as having national import- they were both pretty safe Dem seats, and those were the party's candidates. Which isn't to say that I'm not very pleased both won and both *were* the candidates, but the defeat of West and Mourdock does read to me as a rejection of bat-shittery. I continue to see the general policy consensus drifting rightward. Though I'm trying to remain optimistic about the lame duck.

I'm not sure I have a normative point here, but maybe we both agree that Warren's victory provides a template for running an actual progressive campaign, even if she had to minorly sell out on a few things.

matt said...

Center-left country, baby.

Freddie said...

My point is not, as you've guessed, that I'm satisfied. My point is just that the media narrative is always going to trail the facts when it comes to any kind of leftward shift.

Anonymous said...

But that makes perfect sense. Winning an election against a wack job doesn't tell you much, but losing against one sure hell does.

Brendan said...

I'm probably being waaaaaay too optimistic, but I see some signs of this dynamic changing in the last couple days, in particular with respect to social issues.