I like to read Michael Scherer because he provides such a clear view of how our national media thinks. Today he has a simplistic, if relatively inoffensive, piece about how Obama has to reassure everyone that things are okay if our economy is going to recover. I don’t necessarily disagree. Here’s a snippet of his last paragraph:
He will, over time, have to find a way to calm the markets, address the concerns of his responsible critics, and then use these successes to assure consumers everywhere that better days do, in fact, lie ahead, a claim that virtually every economist would endorse, though many disagree on the timing.
I think that the notion of “responsible critics” is very important to our national media. There’s an idea that there will be some kind of sensible give-and-take between Republicans and Democrats and that the job of the journalists is to referee this give-and-take. In a more perfect world, this might work very well.
The trouble is that there are no “responsible critics” in the Republican party. All Congressional Republicans offer now is warmed-over Hooverism, at best. On the subject of the banking crisis, for example, there are three alternatives, as I see it: do nothing and let the banks fail on their own, keep bailing the banks out, or nationalize the banks. The problem here is that while the first alternative is completely insane, “let them fail” seems to be the new Republican mantra.
What’s so damaging here is that all the time spent on the let-them-failsters is time that could be spent arguing the merits of nationalization. Similarly, the argument about the stimulus package could have been about whether or not to make it bigger as opposed to about whether “porkulus” was a good description or not and whether or not the Republicans were now back in the saddle again. With health care, we could be arguing about single-payer versus mandates instead of listening to one side compare government health care to Das Kapital.
The list goes on and on, of course. And it’s not clear what we can do about it. David Gregory is never going to have a round table discussion featuring Dean Baker, Paul Krugman, and someone from the Treasury Department. At best, we’d get Krugman, a Treasury guy, Amity Shlaes, and George Will. And the media is never going to press Republicans on the idiocy of their so-called plans.
So, while the country is facing all sorts of important decision, the media is going to pit the rantings of Galttards against the sane (if often flawed!) plans of the Obama administration. There will be no — zero, zip, zilch — responsible criticism of Obama in the media, even though there is plenty of solid responsible criticism of Obama out there.
If a system collapses in the woods, and no Republican hears it, does it make a sound?