Accusations that the media was like Pravda were once exaggerations; no longer.
Jill Colvin’s Associated Press “article” about the hiccup Republican Senator Ted Cruz from Texas had with the Republican base over a comment related to January 6 may be the single best example I’ve seen of the mainstream media’s new approach. It’s truly “the party line.” For decades, conservatives have been bashing establishment news organizations by comparing them to the Communist press in the Soviet Union, or Pravda, but it’s now an entirely accurate description.
Colvin starts with the wholly subjective description of Cruz as having “desperation written on his face” as Tucker Carlson grilled him for calling January 6, 2021, a “terrorist attack.” She doesn’t label Cruz as a “conservative Republican” or “right-wing Senator,” or anything like that. Rather, he’s a “conservative ideologue.” And he’s not “walking back” his comment, much less “moderating it”; rather, he’s “capitulat[ing] to outrage from the Republican Party’s far right flank.”
Along the way, Colvin makes sure to mention that Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia “was recently barred from Twitter,” as if that represents the ruling of an objective academic organization or something by some reasonable process.
The “reporter” endeavors to justify Cruz’s characterization of the incident as “terrorism,” using the FBI’s glossary. Then, rather than find a conservative academic to articulate a contrary view, Colvin relies on the much-maligned Carlson, who (she notes gratuitously) “has promoted the racist ‘Replacement Theory’ that elites are trying to replace majority white populations with nonwhite immigrants.” She doesn’t bother to explain his points or do any work establishing that the argument is actually “racist,” but why should she? The Party doesn’t require evidence of such accusations; they’re considered true on their face because they’re politically useful.
Colvin even goes so far as to explain away the observation of Republicans (whom she does not name) that none of the rioters have been charged with treason, sedition, or anything that would justify claims of “insurrection” or even “terrorism.” “Those charges,” she writes, “are extremely rare,” and prosecutors “may be reluctant to bring them because of their legal complexity.” See, it has nothing to do with the fact that the charges would be outlandish and prove decisively that her Party is slandering her fellow Americans.
So there it is: A “journalist” has been deployed in defense of an important talking point in the Party line, and no rhetorical trick is off the table, to the point of excusing the Party for failing to prove its case in a court of law because doing so is “complex.”
Featured image by Eleven Photographs on Unsplash.