‘Press, Press, Pull’ — MSM And The Two Rs (Russians/Republicans)

March 4, 2022

Approaching late morning and the noon hour this Friday here in California’s Central Valley — overcast with gentle sprinkles, a weather pattern known lately on the Left Coast (and other sections of the Western US) as a rainstorm.
Reality in tiny droplets.

Today another look at media in this crazed war-and-political theater period, and how the major news agencies are screwing the pooch again, both in Ukraine and here in America — losing grip on telling the whole truth of what’s playing out right front of our eyes. Sad, but unsurprising, racism and hypocrisy blends-bends the news coverage.

Ukraine has caused journalists some moments of flashing on the ‘white,’ ‘civilized‘ aspect of the victims — a European/American conflict, not Middle Eastern, or African — a bias built into the system.

Unusual ground zero apparently with the Russians in Ukraine makes race a factor:

Bayoumi, author and professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, presented a good look at the twist for MSM journalists working the war in an op/ed Wednesday at the Guardian — there’s a shock in the whiteness:

There’s more, unfortunately. An ITV journalist reporting from Poland said: “Now the unthinkable has happened to them. And this is not a developing, third world nation. This is Europe!”
As if war is always and forever an ordinary routine limited to developing, third world nations. (By the way, there’s also been a hot war in Ukraine since 2014. Also, the first world war and second world war.)
Referring to refugee seekers, an Al Jazeera anchor chimed in with this: “Looking at them, the way they are dressed, these are prosperous … I’m loath to use the expression … middle-class people. These are not obviously refugees looking to get away from areas in the Middle East that are still in a big state of war. These are not people trying to get away from areas in North Africa. They look like any.”
Apparently looking “middle class” equals “the European family living next door”.

And writing in the Telegraph, Daniel Hannan explained: “They seem so like us. That is what makes it so shocking. Ukraine is a European country. Its people watch Netflix and have Instagram accounts, vote in free elections and read uncensored newspapers. War is no longer something visited upon impoverished and remote populations.”

What all these petty, superficial differences — from owning cars and clothes to having Netflix and Instagram accounts – add up to is not real human solidarity for an oppressed people.
In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s tribalism. These comments point to a pernicious racism that permeates today’s war coverage and seeps into its fabric like a stain that won’t go away.
The implication is clear: war is a natural state for people of color, while white people naturally gravitate toward peace.

Further from the LA Times, also on Wednesday:

“This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen con?ict raging for decades,” said CBS News correspondent Charlie D’Agata on Sunday.
“This is a relatively civilized, relatively European — I have to choose those words carefully too — city, one where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen.”

D’Agata’s troubling language, in which he seemed to catch himself midsegment, pinpointed much of the emerging bias.
In the heat of war, as the international press corps scrambled in real time to wrap their arms around a fast-moving military campaign, a number of correspondents, consciously or not, framed suffering and displacement as acceptable for Arabs, Afghans and others over there — but not here, in Europe, where the people “have blue eyes and blond hair” and where they “look like us.” (And yes, those are actual quotations from news clips.)

Hopefully, this record of the bias will turn that shit around and maybe, too, focus on the impacts and advances by African nations, that have some of the best economies in the world. And most-likely journalists in an unusual setting learn as they go.

Meanwhile, asshole Republicans here in the US are getting away with shit-facing the integrity of Americans — as seen by this horrifying asshole performance of Ron DeSantis, also from last Wednesday. The MSM let it slide, not reporting actually what the incident was — a nasty, cruel jab at teenagers for no other reason but being a piece of shit:

Eric Boehlert with his PressRun newsletter this morning slapped at the half-hearted bullshit media average of a leading GOP politician acting like a little, whine-ass bitch:

Barrelling into camera view at full speed on Wednesday, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lit into a group of assembled Tampa area students from Middleton High School who were selected to stand behind him while he announced a $20 million investment in cybersecurity workforce education.
With his voice raised and his index finger pointed, he bullied and mocked the teenagers who opted to wear masks inside the school.

“You do not have to wear those masks,” the angry governor announced.
“I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything. We’ve got to stop with this COVID theater. So if you want to wear it fine, but this is ridiculous.”
He then turned to the lectern, let out an dramatic, annoyed huff, shook his head and began the press conference.

The next day, DeSantis used his attack on children to create a campaign ad and a fundraising appeal, suggesting the confrontation may have been premeditated by his political team.
And the press let him get away with it by whitewashing the ugly event.

The hypocrisy on display was off the charts — conservatives like DeSantis for a year have railed against mask mandates for schools, demanding that individual parents and students ought to decide. It’s about personal choice!
But when DeSantis saw teens opting to wear masks inside, he became unglued and told them they looked like fools, blowing away the GOP’s “choice” rhetoric.

According to CDC data, Hillsborough County in Florida, where DeSantis held his event Wednesday, remains an area with high levels of the coronavirus in the community and where masks are recommended indoors.
“It’s just shocking that the governor told these kids ‘Take off your mask,’” said Dawn Marshall, the mother of a Middleton student who was behind DeSantis.
“He pretty much said take off your mask, it’s stupid, and take off your mask, your parents don’t matter.”

The dressing down represented an unhinged display for any sitting governor, let alone one who aspires to be President of the United States.
Aside from mocking and harassing the elderly in public, it’s hard to think of an outburst that, politically, is considered more verboten than attacking school children.

Yes, the exchange generated lots of news coverage, but the way it was described made DeSantis look neither unglued nor bullying.
According to many news outlets the raging governor had merely requested students to take off their masks, as if there had been a civil, respectful discussion, not a spectacle featuring Florida’s triggered governor openly mocking unsuspecting teens.

“Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Asks Students to Take Face Masks Off at Press Conference,” read the CBS News headline, which wildly downplayed the event.
NBC News followed suit: “DeSantis Asks Students to Remove Masks And ‘Stop With This Covid Theater.’”
And USA Today, “Florida Gov. DeSantis Asks High School Students to Remove Masks at Event.” The paper suggested that the governor had simply “encouraged” the students.

When a grown man in a position of authority loudly talks down to teenagers and tells them they look “ridiculous” for not doing what he wants, that’s not “asking” them to do something.
That’s trying to humiliate them. And the press played dumb.
You can be sure that if Joe Biden or Kamala Harris ever went off on a group of teens with a finger-wagging tirade, the media coverage would not go out of its way to whitewash the event.

The soft-pedaling coverage fits into a larger media pattern of treating DeSantis as some kind of Covid star for the GOP, despite the fact 70,000 Floridians have died from the pandemic.
In a puff piece profile of him over the weekend, the Washington Post never even mentioned that staggering death count.

Meanwhile, the Post reported DeSantis had “admonished,” and “upbraided” the students this week. Lots of news sources opted for “scolded.” “DeSantis Chides Students for Wearing Masks at His Tampa News Conference,” read a Tampa Bay Times headline. And from the Miami Herald, “Governor Ron DeSantis Tells High School Students to Remove Masks”

Boehlert had a few recommendations for words to use, like words, like ‘bullied,’ or ‘harassed,’ or maybe ‘mocked,’ to convey what Desantis was really doing — being a piece of shit out in the open
Although it’s not expected, we can only hope journalism changes its tune soon.

The title for this post comes from a Three Stooges’ classic:

“Hey, you …!”

And hey what? Once again here we are…

(Illustration out front found here).

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