Well, once again I tried listening to NPR’s “Morning Edition” and was horrified to hear how they were reporting the news on the government shutdown—and no, it wasn’t because of their corny reporting, or the shitty musical transitions, or the fact that it’s their membership drive right now. It was the fact that, along with the rest of the mainstream, ninny media, they insist on bandying about the same tired bullshit lies when it comes to covering politics: it’s both parties fault, it’s all a big blame game, why can’t our government work, why won’t the two parties negotiate, etc.
First, let’s be clear about what is happening at this time: the Republicans in the House, due entirely to Tea Party pressure, are shutting down the government until the Democrats in the Senate agree to gut Obamacare. Fact.
So, no NPR, this isn’t a typical negotiation, or a failure to compromise, or business as usual. It’s the MINORITY party in Congress throwing a fit about the signature legislative achievement of a Democratic President, who, by the way, was just re-elected by a majority of states and voters less than a year ago.
Think of it this way. Suppose a few years ago you bought a dog, but as soon as you brought it home, one of your neighbors started bitching about it. Recently, he came over and angrily stated that he believed your dog was going to bite someone, and demanded that you have it put down. You refused, of course, because your dog hasn’t bitten anyone. Your neighbor then threatens to do everything in his power to make your life a living hell, up to and including having your power, water, and gas shut off, if you don’t agree to his demands. So naturally, you call the police, hoping they’ll cite the guy for harassment. But when they get there, instead of issuing a citation or even talking to the guy, they blame you for not negotiating with him about getting rid of your dog.
This is what is actually happening right now in our government. Obama and the Democrats own the dog, the Republicans are the crazy neighbor, and NPR and most of the media are the cops. It’s disgusting, immoral, and the dereliction of duty by the press in order to appear “neutral” has consequences.
One such consequences is that if the Republicans get something out of this or aren’t blamed entirely for shutting down the government, this may soon become the new normal. After all, if the minority party in Congress is allowed to shut down the government until the majority party meets their demands, then why wouldn’t they do it all the time? Let’s not forget we have another deadline in mid-October to raise the debt ceiling. Chances are Republicans will try to use this as additional leverage to force their agenda through government.
More importantly, the press should be reporting on the fact that this tactic of extortion/hostage taking to achieve political goals, is a perversion of democracy. If the Republicans want to repeal or reform Obamacare, they should do so through the normal legislative process: making proposals, compromising where necessary, and leveraging public opinion to earn votes in the Senate. But ultimately, if they’re unsuccessful using these tactics, then the game’s up, and in a democratic system, winning the next election is the only way to change that—NOT shutting down the government or defaulting on our debt.
The other affront to democracy is the fact that if the media continue to fictionalize events in Washington so that they fit into their “non-partisan, neutral” cubby hole, Americans will fail to punish this assault on our government, not because they aren’t angry, but because many won’t know who to blame.
Finally, shutting down the government has negative physical consequences on millions of Americans and our economy. Services for those in need are unavailable, hundreds of thousands of workers are suddenly unemployed, and it subtracts about $1.6 billion a week from our GDP. That’ll be nothing, though, if the Republicans cause us to default on our debt for any sizeable length of time; indeed, many business leaders worry that such a fiasco could tank the world economy. So the way NPR and other news agencies are reporting on the shutdown in order to appear “non-partisan” is actually tremendously dangerous.
Fact: our government is currently minority rule, with only a handful of Tea Party Republicans in charge. They’re delusional, bat-shit krazy, and they don’t give a shit if they ruin the U.S. government and economy as long as they get their way. It sure would be nice if NPR had the balls to say it.