Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #BothSides

Most recents (24)

All the Wrong Lessons from Trump’s Rise
The justifications for CNN’s Trump town hall reveal the deeper pathologies and fallacies that have characterized the Trump discourse since 2016.
New Democracy Americana: Screenshot of my latest Dem...
Fallacy number 1: Normalizing Trump, naturalizing power
It's easy to criticize the news-as-entertainment business model. But the idea that Trump has to be put on the air extensively because he is popular with the base and the GOP frontrunner is shared widely. 2/
The morning of the town hall, the NYT, for instance, published an opinion piece written by a member of the paper’s editorial board explicitly calling for Trump to be treated “like a normal candidate” – anything else would be “a breach of duty by the news media”: 3/ Screenshot of an opinion pi...
Read 21 tweets
Presenting the purely ratings-driven platforming of a spectacle that only helps the far-right demagogue who tried to abolish democracy and constitutional government as a necessary civic service to get Libs and Lefties to leave their echo chambers is utterly cynical and insulting.
The claim itself is laughable. No one learned anything new last night. We are about 8 years into the Trump-as-leader-of-the-Right experience - there’s no journalistic justification for what CNN did. Forget the “exposing him” nonsense: If that actually worked, we wouldn’t be here.
This whole affair should serve as a reminder that the mainstream media will not change its approach. It’s futile to keep shouting “Have they learned nothing?!” They evidently haven’t - or, more precisely: They reject the lessons the (small-d) democratic camp wants them to learn.
Read 8 tweets
This perfectly encapsulates the fallacies of the “polarization” dogma: Zero engagement with the substantive issues that define the political conflict, just empty #BothSides rhetoric that dissolves everything into “Let’s be nice to each other” nothingness.
I don’t know the people behind this initiative, so I am not going to question their motives. But there are so many of these kinds of #unity projects, and if the goal actually is to get this country to become a functioning multiracial, pluralistic democracy, this isn’t helpful.
Apparently, everyone who approvingly responded to a thread in which I outlined the key arguments of our latest @USDemocracyPod on the problems with the pervasive #polarization narrative is now being addressed by these people and their empty unity gospel. ImageImageImage
Read 17 tweets
A #DebtLimit 🧵
@nytimes Publisher @AGSNYT runs NYT as a Republican-protection racket.
Front page framing/gaslighting by @jimtankersley
That normalizes/accepts GOP strategy of abusing the debt ceiling as “politics”
@NormOrnstein @MarkJacob16 @taraemcg @jayrosen_nyu Image
This is a GOP-manufactured reckless, damaging crisis. It is not a @JoeBiden crisis. By centering Biden and omitting details about how the debt ceiling functions - and context the NYT protects the GOP.
“Barrels” because the @GOP is willing to destroy the American economy. Image
“Both sides-ism” hides and protects EXTREMIST GOP positions, harms and inability to govern.

These are institutional decisions to favor Republicans (at the expense of truth) by Editors esp @nycscribe

Legacy media has a pro-Republican bias.

NYT Covering vital news as sports… Image
Read 11 tweets
@Mr_Electrico @bluegal @CNN @KeithOlbermann why was VA Gov allowed to get away w/defending his VA state school board appointee who went down for rallying w/Nick Fuentes’ Groypers, and smearing Dems in VA senate for “unfairly smearing” her? No follow up question? Are you SERIOUS?
@CNN another follow up question FAIL. #GlennYoungkin was asked by a tearful teacher why her pay was so low. He announced he’d already given her 2 piddly raises, then pivoted into superfluous fluff. @jaketapper why didn’t you ask HER if the raises were enough for her to get by?
@jaketapper did you bother to study VA politics before you did this townhall w/Youngkin? We submitted hundreds of special ed questions to be asked. Not 1 asked. Then you brought up RW absurd national merit scandal that your own colleague exposed as a hoax…
Read 8 tweets
ICYMI over the weekend: We talked about America’s racial (counter-) reckoning - and what’s happened since the anti-racist mass protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020.

New episode of @USDemocracyPod:…
We discuss the reasons behind the unprecedented mobilization of 2020 – the longer context of anti-racist activism, the history of #BLM, how the protests offered a way for liberals to signal maximal distance to Trump.
We also get into the transnational dimension of the George Floyd moment that saw protests erupting on either side of the Atlantic. They always targeted structures of racism and white supremacy - and, in the Western European context, focused on legacies of colonial oppression.
Read 8 tweets
Imagine looking at the path Republicans have taken *since* 2015 and thinking: “You know what we need more of? Both-sides false equivalence!”

It’s a proper “Tell me who you really are” moment from one of the high priests of white dude (increasingly reactionary) centrism. Image
As is often the case with Silver, and so typical of the white male reactionary centrist pundit brotherhood, what is presented here as bold out-of-the-box truth-telling is little more than silly contrarianism in style and well in line with white elite orthodoxy in substance.
Silver is a key figure in a group of ostensibly liberal pundits who have become widely revered apostles of centrist realignment in American politics. Almost all of them are white men in their late 30s to mid-40s - Silver, Yglesias, Barro, Mounk…
Read 28 tweets
It’s a big edu/policy research conference week (#APPAM2022 #ASHE2022 #UCEA22) and here’s a short thread on ideological diversity in edu-research and edu-journalism #edchat using the Greene/Heritage studies as a hook

1/ ImageImage
Some formal edu research/journo communities have tolerated increasingly far-Right stuff for years, in part because of a genuine commitment to multi-perspectives, and also out of fear of being labeled ideological or against free speech themselves

And in the #edchat journalism space there is some of the notorious #bothsides pressure too, to give voices to the Heritages and Catos if the world.

This is why people like Corey DeAngelis routinely are quoted as expert researchers when they’re really political activists

3/ Image
Read 10 tweets
No, no, no. The problem is not “the extremes of political parties” (plural!), it’s not “both sides,” it’s not #polarization.

The key problem is the rise of far-right extremism and the accelerating anti-democratic radicalization of the Republican Party. 1/
Zakaria concludes that in America, “democracy has actually become minority rule, and the minority rule holding power is unrepresentative, angry, and increasingly radical.” An apt description of what’s happening on the Right - only he means: on both sides! 2/
It’s a remarkable statement in a situation in which one party is fully committed to erecting minority rule against the will of the majority and there is absolutely no equivalent anywhere near the center of the Democratic Party or mainstream liberal / progressive thinking. 3/
Read 53 tweets
This is a perfect example of the type of distorted coverage the mainstream media’s “neutrality” dogma produces: “We’ve been plenty critical of those Republicans – better demonstrate how neutral we are by really going hard after this Fetterman thing!”
In the specific case of CNN, there may well be a more deliberate anti-progressive / anti-left element at work – it would certainly be in line with what we’ve seen from the new CNN regime over the past two months or so. But the issue on display here goes well beyond CNN.
It’s the same dynamic that brought us Hillary’s emails: In a desperate attempt to “prove” how there is no liberal bias, mainstream media are playing up “issues” about Democratic candidates and end up amplifying and legitimizing rightwing talking points and attack lines.
Read 19 tweets
Introducing the Media and Democracy Project 📰 📺 📻:
We are a grassroots group of concerned citizens who launched an activist campaign in 2020 to demand that our media provide truth, context, and transparency in every piece of reporting. #FixMediaNow 1/
We believe an informed citizenry is the bedrock of a democratic society. The information we receive from media affects and shapes our opinions, voting decisions, degree of civic engagement, and ultimately determines the health of our society. We must @FixMediaNow #FixMediaNow 2/
Robust news and democracy go together. “A popular [democratically elected] Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance…” —James Madison #FixMediaNow 3/
Read 15 tweets
“Heated exchange”

White man yells at Black woman in a mixture of reactionary rage and bad faith, intending to undermine and sabotage her candidacy for a position for which she is supremely qualified; Black woman answers calmly and substantively. “Heated exchange.”

Just bizarre.
This is a major issue. This type of framing is not only factually inadequate, it also builds on and perpetuates the pervasive idea of #BothSides being to blame for “Washington” being a dysfunctional mess - a narrative that strongly privileges the Right’s assault on government.
It’s getting really hard for me to believe that there should still be people at these media outlets who are simply unaware of what they’re doing and oblivious to the disastrous effects. A lot more plausible to assume that this type of framing is the result of a deliberate choice.
Read 10 tweets
Why does the “cancel culture” idea play such an outsized role in liberal / mainstream media coverage?

We need to look at both ideological and structural factors: a confluence of reactionary centrism and a system that incentivizes #BothSides “balance” above all else.
Reactionary centrism is the ideology that animates many of the people who shape media coverage. A disproportionate percentage of those people are white men, and the fact that elite white men face a little more scrutiny today than in the past has caused quite a bit of anxiety.
#metoo is another excellent example of this dynamic: As soon as traditionally marginalized groups gain enough power and enough of a platform to make their demands for respect and accountability heard, certain white people (predominantly men) start bemoaning “persecution.”
Read 16 tweets
I’d say 5 percent of the blame goes to Biden for constantly evoking “bipartisanship” throughout 2021, opening the door for such criticism.

But 95 percent of the blame goes to Chuck Todd for framing this as anything but a result of complete Republican obstruction. Just bizarre.
This is the clearest example of how too much of the establishment media is actively complicit in the Republican assault on the political system in the exact way it was during the Obama years: All Republicans have to do is make functional governance impossible and blame Democrats.
I’m as frustrated as anyone by the fact that some establishment democrats still insist a return to “normalcy” is imminent (any minute now!), when Republicans could not be clearer about the fact that they consider Democratic governance fundamentally illegitimate.
Read 17 tweets
On a rainy Sunday afternoon, a somewhat gloomy thought on January 6 and the mainstream media: This past week, every major outlet published pieces emphasizing the acute threat to democracy. Good! But that was the easy part. The tough part: What happens during the rest of the year?
I’ll mention this intervention by the @nytimes editorial board as representative of the many such pieces that have come out: I agree with every word in it. But the question is: Is the NYT willing to make sure that the paper’s political coverage actually reflects these warnings?
I think the @nytimes, as an institution, would have to make some serious changes if it really took the idea that “Every Day Is Jan. 6 Now” to heart and made it the paper’s operating principle going forward.
Read 9 tweets
Went on the @KreuzundFlagge podcast for a conversation about the past and present of U.S. democracy and what is animating the anti-democratic radicalization of the American Right.

I am more pessimistic now than I was a year ago - and unfortunately, @ardenthistorian agrees…
This is part 1 of a 2-part conversation. Here is an incomplete list of the topics we discussed - and I’ll include a few links to previous reflections on the state of American politics to provide some more evidence and receipts (in English):
Why Donald Trump is the favorite to be the next Republican presidential candidate, as the GOP and the American Right in general are basically unified behind him and, more importantly, his political project…
Read 10 tweets
I’m grateful to the @nytimes editorial board for publishing this. After all, the key question in America today is whether or not enough people in positions of influence and power are as committed to preserving democracy as Republicans are to abolishing it.
However, it should also be noted that the NYT - just like other mainstream media outlets - is often complicit in obscuring the anti-democratic radicalization of the Republican Party and the acute threat to American democracy emanating from the Right:
By dissolving everything into a tale of “partisanship” and “polarization” that always implicates #BothSides, thus upholding a “neutrality” dogma that provides cover for extremism and leads to severe distortions…
Read 8 tweets
Completely agree - but due to the pervasive pathologies of journalistic and political culture, when they do take a look in the mirror, they’re likely to tell themselves “You are doing a great job by not giving in to ‘partisanship,’ and by staying ‘neutral’ and above the fray!”
…and considering the existing incentive structures in journalism and politics, they’re also likely looking at someone who - strictly in terms of advancing their own careers - is doing everything right. That needs to change.
The “neutrality” dogma demands this kind of coverage: As defined by too many journalists and political observers, it means keeping equidistance from #BothSides. But with the GOP rapidly radicalizing, the “neutral” position provides cover for extremism and leads to distortions.
Read 7 tweets
A distorting #polarization framework and the never-ending search for “both sides” equivalence produce seriously misleading political analysis.

Let’s dive into an especially egregious example: A PBS @NewsHour interview with sociologist James Davison Hunter. Brace yourselves. 1/
Right off the bat, JDH claims that the culture wars have turned into “class culture wars”: America split into two camps, a progressive elite vs the conservative middle and working classes. This, however, completely obscures the actual fault lines of the political conflict. 2/
This idea of “class culture wars” misrepresents the political coalitions on either side of the conflict. First of all, it ignores how enormously important a wealthy reactionary elite is in funding and defining the conservative political project. 3/
Read 28 tweets
Meanwhile, South Dakota’s Attorney General killed a man, lied about it (he claimed he thought he’d hit a deer even though the man’s glasses were found in his car after his head smashed through the windshield) and is facing impeachment over it. #BothSides!
Read 4 tweets
If you want to understand the @CNN / @joerogan situation, think of the media as a clique-obsessed high school.

A brief thread:
Rogan is the stoner who does wild stuff, breaks all the rules with with few consequences, and hangs out with shady characters (and some straight-up criminals). Therefore most of us don’t want to be associated with him, even though a bunch of us secretly love to get high with him.
CNN is the pompous rich kid who lives in a bubble. He gets high, too, but rarely faces the kind of accountability he preaches for the stoner. That drives some of us crazy—but we tend not to say anything, because you’d rather stay on his good side. Plus, he throws awesome parties.
Read 8 tweets
Sadly, the rule followed by many political journalists is: If someone says it’s raining, and another person says it’s dry, you make no effort to inform the public who’s right and who’s wrong, because you need to be seen as neutral, and so you describe it as partisan bickering.
And if you really want to score points with most of the mainstream media establishment and moderate elites, you present this as yet another indication of how “polarized” everything is and lament the unwillingness to compromise: Why can’t these politicians meet in the middle?!
A lot of issues won’t be as cut and dried as the question of whether or not it’s raining. But many - including some of the defining political conflicts of our era - really are. And as @RottenInDenmark points out, news media will still choose “neutrality” over adequate analysis.
Read 7 tweets
Can Rod Rosenstein land the plane?? 👀…
You'd think such a targeted attack on journalists around the world would inspire journalists to focus on the

#DarkMoney forces & politicians who support anti-democratic technologies like this? 🤔
All the groups who use this military-grade spyware are autocrats or their enablers

US media need to stop #BothSides-ing #Jan6 & calling out attacks on democracies.
Read 18 tweets
On Friday June 4, 2021 I attended a meeting with Secretary of State Blinken. The purpose of the meeting was to talk all things #Palestine
#SheikJarrah #Silwan #Jerusalem #Gaza #EqualityforAll #OneLove
Full thread in 1 convenient viewing location here:…
I attended as an individual. I am not affiliated with any PAC or organization. I obviously do not speak for or represent the #Palestinian people. There’s like 7 million of us at least, and like 2 million of #Palestinians stuffed in #Gaza alone.
To the #Palestinian Americans who boycotted this meeting after the #Biden Administration handed Israel $735 million dollars in weaponry following the merciless attacks on Palestinians locked in Gaza.
Read 56 tweets

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