One year after the siege of the Capitol on January 6, remember that the Republic is not exceptional


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The must-see Margaret Sullivan greeted the New Year with a flaming sword. In his chronicle of Washington Post, she reminded the practitioners of the profession of journalist of their vital role in the preservation of the republic. After aptly praising individual examples of journalism that have done their job, Sullivan gets to work. From WaPo:

… In general, this pro-democracy coverage is not “focused” by the media at large. It’s occasional, not regular; it doesn’t seem like part of an overall editorial plan that fully recognizes how much of a mess we are. This must change. It’s not just that there needs to be more of this work. It must also be different. For example, it should include a new focus on those who fight to preserve voting rights and defend democratic standards.

This new pro-democracy emphasis must be expressed clearly and fearlessly to readers and viewers. It could be in publisher or publisher statements, in advertising campaigns or some other way, stating, in essence, “we are devoting more resources to this crucial subject because it is at the heart of our mission.” (As a point of reference, think about how news agency heads announced they were going to pay more attention to the “heart of the country” after the 2016 presidential election, or how some, and finally tackle climate change coverage.)

Then, news leaders, show you really mean it. Put that pro-democracy coverage in front of your paywall, like you did with much of your covid coverage. Get teams of journalists and editors on the topic. Label it in a defining and memorable way, as news agencies have done with the “Spotlight” or “Watchdog” teams in the past.

That sort of thing makes me want to run through walls. But, again, I’m in the biz. But serious reflection during the week the shebeen turned dark led me to the sad conclusion that there may not be a large following for this kind of daily crisis journalism. Besides the fact that we currently have the collective attention span of a sand flea, and besides the fact that our information flows have been divided into thousands of tributaries, many of which pump raw sewage into the crop, we’ve been rocked for decades. by the potent narcotic of American exceptionalism, which has always been an illusion, but which grew unbearably strong after World War II.

A special feature of it that has become poisoned over the decades is the idea that our system of government is so strong and so divine that it can survive the kind of wasting diseases and aggressions that have plagued republics ever since. that the Greeks tried them for the first time. . (One of the things all of the founders agreed on was that history had proven that the permanent Republican government in small amounts was a very long shot. The combined threats of growing minority power and d ‘apathy based on distraction. A US administration sold missiles to the Iranian mullahs. The Supreme Court intervened in the midst of a contested presidential election, and did so in a way that was wrong that under these circumstances, which was as purely illegal as any action ever taken by the Court. Is it any wonder that so many of our fellow citizens are content to brandish the crimes of the last administration as another episode in which we have somehow survived because of the incredible power of our system of government, rather than noticing that the whole foundation has been crumbling for decades?

There is no doubt that this complacency in the face of genuine threats has been encouraged by elite political media intoxicated with the idea of ​​false consensus and a stubborn belief that political reporting a) should be apolitical, and / or b) never do anything that might disturb this poisoned peace. Sullivan is right about this. And the process resulted in an infantilized politics particularly vulnerable to any political appeal to its enlarged perception of itself.

Either way, we’re back for another tour of the sun. On Monday, we learned that Bernard Kerik had submitted to the special committee of January 6 a document in which it was specified that the insurrection on the Capitol was the external game supporting the internal game of using constitutional weaknesses and loopholes to overthrow the 2020 election. From Politics :

Another 22-page document, titled “STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION PLAN – GIULIANI PRESIDENTIAL LEGAL DEFENSE TEAM,” describes a 10-day blitz aimed at pressuring Republican House and Senate members to vote against the certification of the 2020 election results. The effort focused, according to the document, on six swing states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The document says its primary channels for messaging these efforts included “presidential tweets” as well as radio talks, conservative bloggers, social media influencers, Trump campaign volunteers and other allies of the United Nations. media. A list of “key team members” supporting the effort included “members of the freedom caucus,” a reference to the group of die-hard House conservatives, some of whom backed Trump’s efforts to overthrow the United Nations. elections.

Other team members listed include: Rudy Giuliani, “Team Peter Navarro” and “Identified Legislative Leaders” in each of the Six Swing States. The document also described a list of actions that the group intended to organize, including “demonstrations at homes of weak members”, “demonstrations at homes / offices of local officials” and “demonstrations at local government officials”. a DC rally for key members of the House and Senate.

It feels good to be back.

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