Regime media continues to take extraordinary rhetorical steps in defense of the dominant political narrative, which is to say, the total illegitimacy of the previous administration and the purity of the current one.
The removal last week of Representative Liz Cheney from her leadership role in the Republican congressional delegation was cast as the party’s regurgitation of one of its sole honest brokers. Cheney’s unwillingness to accept Trump’s claims about the election, we were told, let to her ouster, because the GOP is now besotted by falsehood.
The press has shown no restraint or even a pretense of objectivity in its coverage of the issue. “In Turning on Liz Cheney, G.O.P. Bows to Trump’s Election Lies,” the New York Times explained in a May 6 news article. In a piece a week later, the Times quoted Nancy Pelosi as struggling with “a denial of finding the truth” from Republican legislators about the Capitol Hill riot. The article referred to “Cheney’s vocal repudiations of Mr. Trump’s election lies.”
Politicians lie routinely, which reporters know and expect. The essence of political communication is spin, or the representation of reality within a favorable frame. Journalists typically take the statements of public officials with a grain of salt but at face value, compare them with known facts, and leave it to the reader to judge the truth-value of the original language.
The incessant claim by news organization that Trump “lied” about the election represents a significant departure from journalistic norms—indeed, even from the way people normally discuss the interpretation of complex events. Is it really “lying” to suggest that there were irregularities in the outcome of November’s balloting, which was extraordinarily large and conducted in an unprecedented manner, with tens of millions of ballots mailed in without the usual and customary scrutiny of signatures, etc.?
In the past, newspapers would have cited Trump’s “allegations,” “claims,” or “insistence” that the election was rigged or false. There are many ways in which editors can slant reporting to indicate that someone’s assertions are of dubious probity. But to call opinions lies is the way small children talk.
In contrast to its readiness to call Trump a liar, the Times has demonstrated the willingness to tie itself in knots to cast President Biden’s obvious cognitive difficulties as the subtle workings of a patient mind. “Before making up his mind,” a recent analysis explains, “the president demands hours of detail-laden debate from scores of policy experts, taking everyone around him on what some in the West Wing refer to as his Socratic ‘journey’ before arriving at a conclusion.”
According to this line, Biden demands endless rehashing of details in order to parse subtleties. But given Biden’s manifest inability to discuss issues with any sense of granularity even with reference to notecards, one could easily reframe the constant briefings as an effort to connect with a scrambled mind that is incapable of capturing an argument.
The same article reports, “Avoiding Mr. Biden’s ire during one of his decision-making seminars means not only going beyond the vague talking points that he will reject, but also steering clear of responses laced with acronyms or too much policy minutiae, which will prompt an outburst of frustration, often laced with profanity.” Here we get an inkling of what’s actually going on. Biden simultaneously demands “detail-laden debate” while he rejects “too much policy minutiae,” which “frustrate” him. But aren’t those the same thing?
The message, for those who wish to take it, is that the president has dementia, a classic side effect of which is frustration and anger when cogitation fails. The victim tends to lash out at his interlocutors, insisting that his failure to comprehend is really their failure to communicate.
Unfortunately for us, the media is complacent and entirely aligned with the representational goals of the regime. Thus any indications of reality will have to be reconstructed from the refracted images we are given.