If you hire a bunch of people whose jobs & status depend on hyping & demonizing "wokeism," they will never run short of material. It's a giant, diverse country we live in -- you can tell *any* story with anecdotes if you invest enough energy.
Similarly, if every newspaper & cable channel hired reporters whose job was to find & elevate examples of routine racism denying certain people job opportunities or places to live or positions in prestigious professions, they too would have no shortage of material.
People in media hate admitting it, but they are not simply mirrors, documenting events. They make choices; they decide what's worth our attention, what *matters*.

They have decided that "wokeism" matters more than the still-ubiquitous baseline racism & sexism in the US.
It's impossible to defend that choice when it's stated plainly, so instead we have these roudabout bad-faith proxy discussions. Like, "oh you *approve* of the verbiage in paragraph 4 of Alanis Morissette's opening musical number?!" Why the fuck are we talking about this.
"Oh, so you *approve* of this one ridiculous line in this one obscure anti-racist training seminar that was seen by a dozen or so people on some school board somewhere?" No my opinion is who gives a fuck the country has real problems.
What if NYT hired an inequality reporter whose sole job was to cover examples of the endless legal & financial hassles that face poor people in the US, which wealthy people totally escape? I bet they could find lots of anecdotes!
Or, to wrap this rant up: what if NYT hired a team of reporters & pundits whose sole job was to document the nationwide, escalating assault on democracy from the right? That seems like a pretty important story. Not like, paragraph-4-of-an-Alanis-song important, but important!
OK, a teensy bit more rant. Consider the following two beliefs/propositions:
1. Punctuality & hard work are white supremacy.
2. Black people are intrinsically dumber & lazier than whites.

To me, both are ridiculous & fly in the face of all kinds of evidence & good sense.
But insofar as I am part of the media, charged with informing the US public, I need to go beyond "they're absurd." I need to think about how widely each is believed & what tangible effect that belief has on average peoples' lives. I need to assess their *relative significance*.
I'd be surprised if you could find a dozen people in the country who genuinely believe No. 1 (even the ones giving the trainings). And you'd have an *extremely* difficult time trying to find cases where that particular belief translated to action of any significance or impact.
By contrast, No. 2 is believed by, if not a majority of Americans, something close. And it translates into racist behavior in thousands of ways, large & small, in businesses & communities & governments, every single day, and has for centuries.
So even if you restrict your field of coverage to "obviously false beliefs about race that impact US public life," you'd STILL be hard pressed to justify the obsessive focus on wokeism.
Shit, even if you restrict your field of coverage to "obviously false beliefs about race that impact US public life *within academia*," I think you'd still have to prioritize old-fashioned racism. Contra the Anti Woke Industrial Complex, academia is still racist AF.
And ... scene.

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More from @drvolts

20 Nov
Utter, absolute, multi-dimensional doom. nytimes.com/2021/11/17/opi…
That piece by @Edsall is great, but it's remarkable that, in thousands of words, neither he nor any of his contributors so much as *mention* the giant RW propaganda machine & the Dem lack of same. Like fish in water -- it's become so familiar we don't even note it.
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19 Nov
One side will have a unified message about the Rittenhouse verdict -- what it means, what it implies, what comes next -- and one side just won't. Like with everything else.
The Rittenhouse case is a cartoonishly clear signal that the right celebrates political violence and plans more.

Who is telling Americans that? Not Fox. Not CNN. Not Sinclair-owned local news. Not WSJ, not NYT. Not civic groups or churches, not the Dem Party.

Seriously: who?
I return to this question again & again. The right has built a giant machine that bypasses mainstream media to take lies & conspiracy theories direct to voters.

Who is doing the same to get *accurate* information to voters? Whose job is that?
Read 4 tweets
19 Nov
Give Republicans this: they're not dismantling democracy in secret. They're doing it right out in the open. nytimes.com/2021/11/19/us/…
Greg's right to identify this as the key move, but I think he & I disagree slightly on what's behind it.
I don't think Johnson (+ people like him) is consciously *lying* about believing that Dems cheat, as a pretense or something. I honestly think that credits him with too much intelligence & self-awareness. I think he believes Dems cheat because that's what he needs to believe.
Read 13 tweets
18 Nov
Imagine how utterly disorienting & infuriating it must be to have to *argue* to your colleagues that depictions of one colleague murdering another should be out of bounds.
"Why can't you take a joke?" is in the all-time abuser top 10. Everyone's who has ever been on the receiving end of an abusive relationship has heard it.
AOC has been physically menaced & cursed at by her own colleagues. They've organized harassment campaigns against her. They've aggressively refused to wear masks around her. They've defended an insurrectionist mob that threatened her & her colleagues' lives. None of that ...
Read 5 tweets
17 Nov
Imagine a world in which left-leaning institutions had coordinated for decades to spread the message that fossil fuels are bad -- they spill, they destroy ecosystems, they pollute, & they tie Americans' fate to distant events over which they have no control.
In this world, the "organic" response to yet another damaging lurch in gas prices would be, "damn, there fossil fuels go again, fucking us over here at home because of global supply chain issues we can't control."
The seemingly spontaneous, direct reaction would be anger at those politicians who continue to slow & impede America's transition to EVs run on clean, domestic renewable energy. "They're keeping us stuck on gas, and now look, this again!"
Read 4 tweets
16 Nov
I despair of screaming this into the void, but voters are not primarily responding to inflation, they are responding to a massive, highly coordinated propaganda campaign across multiple media designed to freak them out about inflation.
Replace "inflation" in that tweet with literally anything else. The notion that voters are carefully assessing the evidence of their own local experience to draw conclusions about national affairs is a bit of folk wisdom US politics just won't let go.
It's like looking at hurricane damage & asking "how will voters respond to climate change?"

Yes, the damage is real, but what it *means* -- the emotional resonance, what it portends, who is at fault, the larger frame into which it fits -- is thoroughly mediated.
Read 19 tweets

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