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How Is Political Journalism Different From A Gossip Column?

"Bipartisanship" by Nancy Ohanian

One of the first things Bernie talked about Friday during his appearance in Glendale was how political journalism is primarily nonsensical gossip coverage rather than worthwhile discussions of crucial policy. You’ve noticed, right? “Big news” yesterday, for example, included how Joe Manchin, booked on Face the Nation, presumablybecause they couldn’t get anyone worthwhile, refused to endorse Biden. Does this sound like news to you?

Margaret Brennan: “Are you going to endorse Joe Biden if he runs re-election?”

Manchin: “There's plenty of time for the election. This is the problem with America right now. We start an election every time there's a cycle coming up. The bottom line is, let's see who's involved. Let's wait until we see who all the players are. Let's just wait until it all comes out… the bottom line is, let's see who's involved. Let's wait until we see who all the players are. Let's just wait until it all comes out. My main purpose right now is to work for my country and my— and my state. That's my responsibility. I'm not going to make my announcement for anything until the end of the year. I'm not going to make a decision what my political position is going to be or where I'm going to do for my political future. I won't do it until the end of the year. I got too much work to do now.”

It would have been news if Brennan followed up to ask Manchin what Biden policies he has a problem with or what he would like to see Biden do. But instead they started talking about where he led her: his own career.

Another talking heads show which apparently couldn’t get a worthwhile guest, Meet the Press, instead had Chris Sununu on to gossip about the 2024 presidential race. “Right now,” he said to Chuck Todd, “my mission is making sure we're making this party bigger, frankly. You can't govern if you don't win, and so I'm really focused on how do we win? No matter who the candidate is, how do we win in November of '24, where we have to attract independents, we have to bring that next generation of voters more on the team. There's a lot of gap between where we are as Republicans and the younger, let's call it the 27 and under, generation of potential Republicans. So I'm trying to steer the message in the right way. I'm trying to get folks a little more optimistic, inspirational, hopeful, for this great product that I think the Republicans have. Sometimes we're just not so great on the messaging.” And what is that “great product.” Todd didn’t even ask. Instead he went right former gossip bullshit about Trump being at fault for midterm losses, but nothing about policies."

Sununu: “I think the entire Republican Party, hopefully they looked at November of '22, saw that we didn't win the races that we should have won, understand the value of candidate quality, of messaging, of getting out there early, of not letting Democrats define you early. It's not just about money, it's about having that collective message that has to go forward about being more optimistic, about being something that folks want to join. Not just with their dollars, but with their vote hopefully in November, and like I said, not let those Democrats define us. So no, I think it's just a fundamental change in approach that I think the entire Republican Party is very open to, and looking forward to, as we hit the November election… You focus on leadership that is results-driven, that gets stuff done. You know, in 2017 and 2018 as a Republican I was told we were going to get immigration reform, it didn't happen. I was told about health care reform, I was told about balancing a budget, and taking care of our debt and not spending more than we actually have. Actually working towards free trade and these types of things that can be economic engines and drivers. A lot of that did not happen because– some good things happened, don't get me wrong. I give the president credit where it's deserved on regulatory reform and his speed of the vaccine, things like that. But a lot of things didn't happen. If you want to— if there's that part of the party that wants to, as you said, ‘make liberals cry,’ or whatever it might be, you do it by winning, and you do it by getting stuff done, passing it through Congress, working on both sides, taking the first steps of securing the border and immigration reform. You do it by getting stuff done, not just through winning a nomination. You've got to close the deal, and you've got to get it done in '25. And so that's what we're doing. We're looking for the most conservative candidate that can win in '24 and actually work with Congress to kind of finish the deal, finish on that obligation, that accountability, in '25.”

Does anyone care about this? Even the shrunken Meet the Press viewership? And then more gossip, this time about the Texas Republican Party censuring Rep. Tony Gonzales (57-5) for voting for marriage equality and for a bipartisan gun safety bill. No discussion of either issue but just chatter about the party itself. And Sununu worked in that “As far as former President Trump, I think he's going to run, obviously, he's in the race. He's not going to be the nominee, that's just not going to happen. And so I think there's a lot of opportunity to bring forward what the Republican Party, not what we were, not yesterday's leadership or yesterday's story, or crying about what happened in November of '22, but what we are going to bring to the table and get done tomorrow. That's what America's looking for, and so I'm really confident that whoever comes out of the Republican nomination process is going to lead this country and will be able to deliver a win in '24, and I'll back them… I think the former president has his own lane. He doesn't need to carve anything. He's an absolute known commodity to every American in this country, right? There's very few people that are on the fence whether they're with him, or not with him, or whatever it might be. So I think he just has his lane and then there is everyone else, which is a vast majority of the party, that's looking for an alternative. Right now if the election were today, Ron DeSantis would win in New Hampshire, there's no doubt about that in my mind. I think Ron DeSantis would win in Florida."

He concluded by telling the audience not how he differs with Trump on any poilicies but by telling them that Trump "is trying to find a path to be back that leading voice of the party. I think a lot of us, you know, that potentially may get in the race want to have something to say about the direction of that conversation. But look, again, thank you for your service, we're moving on. I just don't believe the Republican party is going to say that the best leadership for America tomorrow is yesterday's leadership. That doesn't make any sense. That is not in our DNA as Americans. It's kind of the antithesis of the American spirit to settle for yesterday's news. We want the next generation, the next big idea, and that's what we're going to deliver.”

Is it any wonder people are dropping out of electoral politics. Since I couldn’t get anything about policy on the talking heads shows yesterday, I turned to ChatGPT and asked it to write me a poem about transgender rights in the style of Edgar Allan Poe:

In a world of darkness, dread, and fright,

Where rights are lost in the dead of night,

Transgender souls suffer in silence and pain,

Denied their freedom, their dignity in vain.

Their hearts beat strong with hopes and fears,

As they face a world that fails to hear,

The cries of anguish, the pleas for grace,

As their very existence is put in disgrace.

Yet still they fight, with a courage so rare,

In a world that scorns, that offers no fair,

With each step forward, a battle they won,

Toward a world where justice and freedom are one.

But still, the road ahead is long and hard,

And they face a fight that never will depart,

Against the hate, the bigotry, and the fear,

That denies their worth, their place here.

Oh, may the day come, when all are seen,

As equals under a world that's clean,

Where the rights of all are upheld in grace,

And transgender souls find their rightful place.

Until then, they'll fight with all their might,

Against the darkness, the fear, and the night,

With a hope for change, for a brighter tomorrow,

And a world where they're seen as more than just sorrow.

Like that? Please consider making a contribution to Maebe A Girl’s congressional campaign here. Maebe sent this to her supporters last week:

When I started doing drag in 2015, I didn’t yet realize I was a trans person. My best friend became “Izzy A. She” and I was “Maebe A. Girl”. What started off very tongue-in-cheek soon made me realize, “Oh! This is a part of my identity.”
After my shows, when other performers took off their makeup and costumes I just wanted to stay in it. I felt closer to myself than I ever had been.
This is a very common story for trans people— they discover their trans identity through doing drag.
When I socially transitioned and decided to take on a new name, I kept Maebe for two reasons: 1) People were always calling me Maebe, it just felt right to me, and gave me a sense of gender euphoria, and 2) the name “Maebe” perfectly encapsulates someone who is nonbinary.
There’s a lot of nuance to being nonbinary. Sometimes I feel genderless; sometimes I feel hyper-femme; sometimes I feel a little masc. Neither this nor that. Maebe I’m a girl, and Maebe I’m not!
This can be hard for non-trans people to understand, but that’s what makes these discussions so important.
The number of people across the US accepting trans people and wanting to protect their rights is at a record high. This compassion has spurred a right-wing backlash against us, but even as their violent rhetoric picks up, it’s clear these bigots are losing.
I’m not running to be the first trans person in Congress— I’m running to support my community. But I’m not blind to what electing a trans person would do for the confidence of trans kids, for the visibility and empowerment of our 5 million-strong trans American community when still 60% of Americans say they don’t know a trans person personally.
California’s 30th Congressional District is 78% Democrats. If anywhere can elect a trans person, it’s here.
…The personal is political. And I’ll never stop fighting for all of our freedoms.

You can contribute to Maebe's campaign by clicking on the Blue America endorsement meme below. She's up against a gaggle of establishment types, well-funded by corporate crooks looking to buy themselves a new congressmember in Los Angeles:


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