Update: For those of you arriving from the Driftier one's place....I know he's written at least a 1000 posts on this very topic over the last 5 or 7 years...That's why I cued him up at the bottom in the original post...OK?
Jay Rosen, the PressThink guy, is calling Thomas E. Mann and Norman Ornstein's recent piece in the WaPo 'The most important (American) OpEd since Joseph Wilson explained what he didn't find in Africa'.
Because it essentially comes clean on an essential myth of mass media life that is killing America's body politic.
And that is the myth that 'both sides do it'.
Essentially, Mann and Ornstein come right out and say it.
It is Republicans that do it and do it and do it and do it.
And do it.
And what they are doing and keep doing, with the help of their enablers, is screw the American people over (and over and over and over again).
Here's a slice or five:
...The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.....
...“Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach....
...Today, thanks to the GOP, compromise has gone out the window in Washington. In the first two years of the Obama administration, nearly every presidential initiative met with vehement, rancorous and unanimous Republican opposition in the House and the Senate, followed by efforts to delegitimize the results and repeal the policies...
...In the third and now fourth years of the Obama presidency, divided government has produced something closer to complete gridlock than we have ever seen in our time in Washington, with partisan divides even leading last year to America’s first credit downgrade.
On financial stabilization and economic recovery, on deficits and debt, on climate change and health-care reform, Republicans have been the force behind the widening ideological gaps and the strategic use of partisanship. In the presidential campaign and in Congress, GOP leaders have embraced fanciful policies on taxes and spending, kowtowing to their party’s most strident voices...
...The results can border on the absurd: In early 2009, several of the eight Republican co-sponsors of a bipartisan health-care reform plan dropped their support; by early 2010, the others had turned on their own proposal so that there would be zero GOP backing for any bill that came within a mile of Obama’s reform initiative....
It's important stuff.
How to fix the problem?
"...We understand the values of mainstream journalists, including the effort to report both sides of a story. But a balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon distorts reality...
...Our advice to the press: Don’t seek professional safety through the even-handed, unfiltered presentation of opposing views. Which politician is telling the truth? Who is taking hostages, at what risks and to what ends?..."
Or, put another way, call demonstrable falsehoods precisely what they are.
Wrote this while listening to ESolomon talk about the evisceration of Kevin Page by his (own?) government on the longwave for calling demonstrable falsehoods precisely what they are...Do not for one second think that we are not heading down our own GOP scorched-earth-Northern branch-plant road right now...After all, we live in a country where Grover Norquist and George Bush The Younger are actually one and the same personna ruling over us...Lawrence Martin takes a little stroll down this road, here...
And just in case you have forgotten how powerful (and important) it was.... Joe Wilson's 2003 'Dick Cheney in yellow-cake face' piece is here.
Oh, and cue Driftglass, soon, I reckon....