Similar thoughts here.…

There’s another dimension to this, which is the creation of a false dichotomy between Bold Truth Telling and Lying, as if the craft of writing made it impossible not to engage in Epic Media Lab Leak Fiasco hyperbole without lying.
The lab-leak thing in particular is an example of a line of critique that has a grain of truth to it, but has been exaggerated by critics who are very invested in the appearance of rectitude and not at all invested in whether their overwrought criticisms will spark moral panic.
I’d say intelligent critics have an ethical obligation to consider how their word choices will be exploited by propagandists, which runs right alongside their ethical obligation to tell the truth. Refusing to consider the former is actually a kind of laziness in writing.
It’s much easier to sermonize than to write with nuances that capture precise thinking, and that don’t whip up frenzies that serve the interests of liars.
But rather than rise to that creative and ethical challenge many fall back on a version of ‘sorry, I’m just a bold truth teller, I’m not going to lie for political reasons.’ Ok, well, no one is demanding that of you.
It’s the same false dichotomy in which it’s impossible to convey “hey lab leak hasn’t been disproven so you shouldn’t write categorically that it didn’t happen, just because Trump said it did” without writing “THE LIBERAL MEDIA’S LAB LEAK FIASCO IS A PC CRISIS.”

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More from @brianbeutler

9 Jun
Watching the panicky Catastrophic Lab-Leak Fiasco Failure debate continue to play out, I’ve found it useful to imagine how the WMD debate would’ve played out in 2002 if Twitter had existed, and Bush et al were widely understood to be shameless liars on the scale of the Trumpers.
My sense is it would’ve developed differently, but along similar lines. Bush would’ve asserted the existence of WMD, nearly all liberals would’ve assumed he was lying, some in media would’ve overstated their certainty about the unknowable and called the WMD allegation “debunked.”
Then, Bush-allied intelligence sources would’ve planted stories about Iraqi scientists getting mysteriously ill (or whatever) in the Wall Street Journal (or wherever), and a posse of liberals would’ve arisen to say The Media’s WMD Fiasco Is A Crisis.
Read 7 tweets
8 Jun
Biden’s assertion that he could persuade actual Republicans to play fair was central to his campaign, which the Nates of the world fawned over as the most skillful political showcase in many years.
This voguish liberal idea that all political decisions do and rightly should flow formulaically from static polling data is one of the most insipid and destructive of the past decade.
Polling data says talking about persuasion is popular —> praise Biden for talking about persuasion

Polling data says Biden isn’t popular enough among those he needs to persuade —> absolve Biden for not being persuasive
Read 5 tweets
4 Jun
I’ve found centrist-Dem insistence on seeking permission from Republicans to govern maddening forever, but the current context makes the made-up Manchin/Sinema defense of the filibuster extra offensive.
Contrast to 2009: Back when Dems were debating the ACA; they clearly should’ve abolished the filibuster or used the budget-reconciliation process to pass a better bill. But they didn’t want to, and the biggest risk they faced as a result was breaking a campaign promise.
That would’ve been terrible and embarrassing, but fundamentally it would’ve left things unchanged. Parties faceplant sometimes. It happens. It happened to Dems in 1993 on the same issue!
Read 10 tweets
25 May
Significant that they're trying to use their leverage as filibuster-reform swing votes to force the GOP's hand, but it'll actually be a very bad outcome if they succeed, Republicans drop their filibuster, and Congress establishes this doomed-to-fail commission.
Manchin and Sinema will say “see, we did a bipartisanship, the filibuster is good,” McConnell and McCarthy will sabotage the commission by appointing, like, Ratcliffe, Grenell, Mukasey, and Kash Patel, and the oversight committees will wash their hands of the whole insurrection.
Fortunately, as @jonfavs pointed out in a fruitless effort to calm me the fuck down, the public whip count looks definitive, and Trump has called on Republicans to vote no, so hard to see them taking the offramp Manchin and Sinema have offered. But it is an offramp!
Read 4 tweets
24 May
It’s interesting to imagine how the lab-leak hypothesis story might’ve developed if MSM professional norms didn’t discourage stating that one party is systematically more dishonest than the other and its claims should thus be subject to greater scrutiny.
If you can do that, then you can essentially cut bad actors like Trump and Cotton and their enablers out of the informational loop and probe the question of the virus’s origins without feeding the perception that you’re being punked by liars.
If you can’t, then you’re stuck reporting the claim as one pole of a debate against “science,” and actual scientists are thrust into the position not just of weighing certainty about hypotheses, but keeping a lid on propaganda they fear may be used to harm people or start a war.
Read 4 tweets
18 May
As I argued here, now’s the time for Schumer to put the commission on the floor.…
If Joe Manchin sincerely believes that these things are non-partisan and Republicans have not intentionally turned them into partisan issues, then every effort has to be made to demonstrate to him how wrong he is.…
We can’t road repave and rural broadband our way into a world safe for democracy, when Republicans are all but uniformly committed to minority rule. Put the Jan 6 commission, voting rights, democratic reform, etc on the floor and make Republicans filibuster them.
Read 4 tweets

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