Greg Sargent, Washington Post reporter and principal writer for the Post’s influential Plum Line Blog, today tweeted out an interesting thread on how the MSM tried for all its worth to equate drumpf’s damaging to the nation as a whole, spiteful, and ultimately futile government shutdown with Speaker Pelosi’s principled and ultimately harmful to nothing but drumpf’s fragile fee-fees stance that the great Orange trench-mouth should not be allowed to stand before a joint session of Congress and lie to the American people about what is transpiring.

He also quoted some of his recent coverage in the Post about the BS “both sides” bogus charge.

It makes for good reading.

I will post the initial tweet for those who would like to explore the replies, and then switch to a Thread Reader App unrolling for easier perusal.

2) When Nancy Pelosi canceled Trump’s State of the Union speech, the thrust of a great deal of media discussion was that Pelosi had “sunk to Trump’s level.”

3) But this precluded any reasoned judgment about whether one side’s use of the levers of power was more legitimate and even more mature and considered under the circumstances than the other.

As I wrote, this subtly put a thumb on the scales for Trump:

“When Nancy Pelosi initially let it be known that President Trump would not be invited to Congress to deliver his State of the Union speech until he reopened the government, the widespread media take was that Pelosi had sunk to Trump’s level. “Washington these days represents nothing so much as an unruly sandbox,” sniffed one New York Times analysis, in which “septuagenarian politicians are squabbling like 7-year-olds.”

This overall narrative, which has been everywhere, purported to hold both sides accountable for the standoff, but it put the thumb on the scales for Trump in an insidious way. It did not permit space for a reasonable judgment as to whether one side’s use of the levers of power (Trump shutting down the government to force massively lopsided concessions from Democrats, versus the House speaker denying Trump a platform to profoundly mislead the country about that destructive act in the midst of carrying it out) might be more legitimate, mature and considered under the circumstances than the other.”

4) This was not remotely a close call. But the point is that, once Pelosi held firm and Trump capitulated on the speech, that #BothSides treatment was rendered irrelevant.
All that was left behind was the reality of the new power balance in Washington:


“The result of this is that the obscuring fog of both-sidesism lying atop this whole situation has been dissipated. What has been laid bare, instead, is a simple reality: Democrats actually do control one chamber of Congress, after having won a major electoral victory, and that actually does give them some veto power over Trump’s conduct and agenda.

Pundits can claim all they want that Pelosi is being “as petty as Trump,” as if this is all just a matter of interpersonal conduct. That objection is now irrelevant: What really matters is that Trump will not deliver the speech. He will not use this ceremony as a platform to browbeat Democrats or to spread gales of disinformation about the shutdown and about the wall fantasies driving it. He will not use its pomp and elevating power to, in effect, launder his profound bad faith and the resulting deep imbalance of the situation. Perhaps the only antidote to the false-equivalence fog machine is the reality of power — the power of “no.”(5) The obscuring fog of both-sidesism also pervaded a great deal of discussion of the substantive differences between Trump/GOP and Dems over the shutdown itself.

5) The obscuring fog of both-sidesism also pervaded a great deal of discussion of the substantive differences between Trump/GOP and Dems over the shutdown itself.
The profound asymmetry of the situation simply did not register in much of the coverage:

The profound asymmetry of the situation simply did not register in much of the coverage:


“This is the whole reason for shutting down the government: To break the influence that the Democratic House has over whether Trump’s wall will be funded, by threatening severe harm to the country until Democrats rubber stamp what he’s demanding as the price of ending that damage. The theory is that they will care more about that damage than he does. The true nature of the staggering malevolence driving Trump’s misconduct here is also being obscured by a great deal of both-sides media coverage. Once again, the only antidote to it may be the power of “no.”

6) At the core of all this is Trump’s refusal to exit Foxlandia, the place where Trump always enjoys all the leverage and the 2018 election never happened.
The failure to convey the pathology and malice driving this paints a deeply misleading picture:


“And this requires Trump to venture outside of what I have called “Foxlandia,” the place where Trump always possesses all the leverage; where any and all polls showing him cratering are fake news; and a glorious victory, entirely on Trump’s own terms, is always lurking in the next news cycle. As Simon Rosenberg notes, no real compromise can happen until Trump leaves Foxlandia behind and enters the new Washington.

Foxlandia, to be clear, is not a place where Trump is immune from criticism. Right-wing media pounded him mercilessly when he offered temporary reprieve to 700,000 “dreamers” in exchange for wall funding. But they did this to warn Trump off of giving Democrats any more in this regard, such as permanent protections for them. Importantly, the temporary reprieve is not a real concession to Democrats — it only undoes the damage Trump himself is trying to inflict — whereas permanent protections would be a real concession, i.e., an acknowledgment that Democrats now control one chamber and must be given something. Thus, even when it is criticizing him, Foxlandia remains the place where the last election never happened.”

7) The only answer was for Dems to weather the #BothSidesism and keep saying, “No, we’re not doing it this way.”
And again, the result is that the #BothSidesism is now rendered irrelevant. In its place is the reality of the new power balance in DC:


“Democrats are now operating from the premise that this is really what’s at stake: Whether Trump and McConnell will recognize the outcome of the last election going forward. As Rep. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) put it: “This is no longer just about the wall, it’s about how Donald Trump operates with the Democratic majority in the House.” Rep. Tom Malinowski (N.J.) adds: “If we give in to this tactic in any way we will validate it, and there will be no end to these shutdowns.”

These basic stakes have been badly obscured by the both-sides fog machine. Perhaps the only thing that can cut through that fog is the power of “no.”



In sum then, Mr. Sargent’s advice for dealing with the Adderall addled BLOTUS and a media determined to normalize his authoritarian tactics is for Nancy to put on her Mom Pants and deal with drumpf like the toddler he is.

I think she is exquisitely equipped to do so….



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[cross-posted to PolitiZoom]

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