From Thomas Frank in Le Monde diplomatique: Can President Joe Biden mend a torn America?

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Jaybird

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39 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    Well FWIW that piece was completely conventionally poor. Not sure there was an original thought in there or any information beyond the most superficial. His knowledge of the Russia investigation comes apparently from the Fox news version. He has no clue what the Mueller investigation or the subsequent Senate report or the Stone/etc trials found. Just weak ass ignorant crap. He didn’t read beyond the headline or first para of any piece about any of it.

    Other than that was still a weak piece, lots of same old, same old. Liberals control The Media ( just ignore all the conservative media and places like FB where conservatives do great). A handful of liberal institutions promote the culture war makes ( sense as long as you ignore all the conservative media and personalities pushing the CW)

    He has channeled the shallow Left with his crit that liberals now like the CIA and FBI. Welp, Frank dude that is the simplest view taking various orgs as 100% evil and to be hated. However intell/law enforcement actually has a role. Not to be taken without thought or care, but not to be mindlessly ignored. He name checked Tiabbi who is a poster boy for shallow contrarian and isn’t having a good day re: his hx of being a royal sexist douche.

    If there is a point in there its that many liberal want private businesses to moderate the internet which is true and there are some good arguments for. Gov shouldn’t do it, but some sore of moderation at the giants YT, FB, TW, The OT seems like a positively good thing. He and other free speech warriors would do good to read up on FB’s own findings that they were used to exacerbate a genocide in Myanmar. There arent’ easy answers or solutions without tradeoffs but he ain’t getting anywhere that deep or thoughtful. There is a good discussion somewhere in there about why internet moderation is good and how it should be done. But he isnt’ close to the ball park.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      Some might see parallels between the left’s attitude towards the CIA and their attitudes towards the police in recent months.

      We’ve pivoted from “Defund the police!” to “Nobody is arguing that we should *LITERALLY* defund the police!” to… wherever the hell we are now. Somewhere around “well, you have to understand”, I guess.

      Out of curiosity, does pointing out that a critic was horribly sexist in the past make you feel like you’ve discredited the critic?

      I mean, if I wanted to argue that Al Franken wasn’t a particularly good senator because he sexually assaulted a bunch of women, would you feel like that has nothing to do with whether he was a good senator or not?Report

      • Avatar Greginak in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Shallow take is shallow. Defund was a slogan. Under the slogan fit all sorts of ideas about how to reform the police from abolition to laundry lists of reforms involving various social services. Hating all in tell services is shallow. Plenty on the the left are shallow about foreign policy or want easy villains. None of that excuses trumps crimes though it does mirror the “always attack” rhetorical style.

        Frank was to lazy and tiabbi to ideological/reflexively contrarian to see the large pile of evidence in front of him.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          Hating all in tell services is shallow.

          Is reframing what he said about the CIA as “hating all in tell services” shallow?Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            What does this mean?

            The common lefty view that all intell services are evil and should never be trusted is shallow. That seems to be what he is channeling. It was a great way for contrarian types to ignore evidence they didn’t want to see.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              “What does this mean?”

              It means that your paraphrase of his position on the CIA as being identical to the common lefty view that “all intell services are evil” is indistinguishably shallow from the shallowness you’re criticizing his (misparaphrased) position as being.Report

              • Avatar gregiank in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So what is his position? None of that changes the substance of my argument that his take on the Russia deal was ignorant of the actual facts or that a lot lefties take all intell agencies as evil. Like none of this relates to my points.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to gregiank
                Ignored
                says:

                “What is his position?”

                Well, let’s look at what he said:

                Among the industries that define American culture, the anti-Trump ‘resistance’ was virtually airtight: the media and entertainment industries hated him, the tech industry hated him, academia hated him. The foreign policy community hated him, the NatSec community hated him, Iraq war Republicans hated him, the little world of the DC commentariat hated him, and the broader world of the press hated him too.

                The mind-blowing detail about this Coalition of the Aghast was that it also included the Central Intelligence Agency. Not long ago, the CIA was the great bête noire for peace-minded liberals: as everyone knew, it was the government agency that overthrew foreign governments, deceived and misled people in distant lands and fought for dictatorship around the world. Its list of crimes against democracy was long and disturbing.

                But over the last four years this picture changed completely. Now liberals were supposed to shed tears for the agency — because the poor CIA had been maligned and disrespected by Trump, who (among other things) claimed it exaggerated the role played by Russia in the 2016 election. Indeed, the affinity between liberalism and the spy agency eventually became so obvious to ‘resistance’ people that it didn’t have to be explained.

                It seems that his position is that “Liberals” knew that the CIA was bad (and gave reasons) until the FREAKING SECOND it started saying bad things about Trumpler.

                At which point they broke out the Lee Greenwood songs.

                And you’re conflating “the CIA” with “all intell agencies”.

                And your points, such as they are, are built on the sand of your mispharaphrases of his position.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “Lee greenwood” songs… Yeah that is good faith rep of what has been said. None of this addresses the facts that were shown about trump which neither frank nor you know or seem to care about. It’s all the CIA was bad therefore ignore the info you don’t like. He’s saying liberals knew the CIA was correctly bad until trump was mean to them. Trump was attacking everyone who didn’t fall in line and tried to bend them to his ego. That is bad even if it’s the CIA.

                Contrarians got suckered by his deep state crap. He hated anybody who spoke against him but if it was something you didn’t like you were fine with it. All of a sudden he was attacking the elites when he was just trying to crush any dissent.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s all the CIA was bad therefore ignore the info you don’t like.

                That’s not what he said.

                Here’s what he said:

                Not long ago, the CIA was the great bête noire for peace-minded liberals: as everyone knew, it was the government agency that overthrew foreign governments, deceived and misled people in distant lands and fought for dictatorship around the world. Its list of crimes against democracy was long and disturbing.

                Is this statement of his accurate?

                This is important.

                Because, if it is accurate, then we’re in a place where we’re noticing that what he said is not the same thing as, and let me copy and paste this, “Hating all in tell services”.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Interesting if true.

    I think we have to assume that it isn’t true.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s probably true but demographic size of each category, and the baselines, matter.

      White college slice is growing over the white college slice. African American vote is ‘dead cat bouncing’ from the Obama years. Asian/other is still just a single percent fraction of the national electorate.

      The sole interesting number is Hispanic shift.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Are blacks less enthusiastic about the D’s than when Obama was running? I’d expect so.Report

  3. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    “when the news media dumps its neutrality and likens itself to superheroes and declares it is mystically attuned to truth and legitimacy…”

    He writes this, as if neutrality is a good thing, and declaring oneself attuned to truth is a bad thing.

    What Frank is doing here, with his sweeping condemnation of some shadowy cabal of “elites” is an illustrated example of the reactionary mind.

    There is one group of citizens called The People, the rightful and legitimate holders of power; And then there is this other group, The Elites, who have no legitimate claim to power, yet possess it anyway.

    It isn’t just that he compresses all media outlets, from the New York Times to the Epoch Times into one singular entity; Its that these entities are expressing a vision and will which is opposed to what Real People have or want.

    Frank is, ironically, setting himself up as the arbiter of truth and legitimacy. He assures us that The People don’t like what The Elites are saying, and that The People won’t stand for it, and The People think this, and The People believe that.

    Does he entertain the idea that maybe there is such a thing as objective truth, and that some media report it, while others don’t?Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    The quote: “mystically attuned to truth”

    Your statement quoting the quote: “attuned to truth”Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      What does that mean to you, “mystically”?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        Something non-neutral enough for it to not warrant exclusion.

        There are a lot of beige adjectives.
        “Mystically” ain’t one of them.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        Declaring oneself to be attuned to the truth without having the actual evidence of said truth in hand.

        Like just knowing that a given demographic is motivated by racism just because some noisy subset of that demographic is openly racist.

        Or just knowing that there was widespread election fraud because there was no possible way your preferred candidate could lose without it being true.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
          Ignored
          says:

          OK so if Frank meant to assert that media outlets like the NYT and WaPo are attuned to the truth without having the actual evidence of said truth in hand, that is a big statement requiring some big evidence. And further, he’s asserting that there is no significant difference between these media outlets and others like Newsmax, Fox, or the Epoch Times.

          Lets stipulate that the first group gets things wrong at times and have a subtle bias towards certain cultural mores;

          What evidence does anyone have to support such a sweeping conclusion as he does?
          Does anyone here actually believe what Frank is saying?Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            Sweeping? No.

            Are there pockets of left elites who fit that bill to some extent? Sure. And they like to hear themselves talk, and they like to see themselves in print, and they have enough cachet to get themselves broadcast.

            So, squeaky wheels and all that.Report

  5. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    *snort* Frank does a mighty fine number beating the heck out of the strawman of the Democratic Party and Liberals that seems like it was lifted right off the WSJ opinion page and Drehers fever dreams. I suppose his alarmism has its uses and places but his utter failure to grapple with liberals as they actually exist or the Democratic Party as it actually exists badly weakens his point.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      Like a lot of the paid punditry he also fails to grapple with the fact that the policies promoted by the Democratic Party since at least Reagan are not liberal or leftist in nature.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North
      Ignored
      says:

      Anytime someone starts railing about “the media” without distinguishing between reliable sources like NYT and gutter stuff like the Murdoch tentacles they are on thin ice.

      I see a lot of this on the ostensible lefty side of the aisle, where people rant about “FTNYT” and routinely “cancel their subscriptions”; But then when they are asked for evidence of such and such, the response is “Oh, here’s a link to the New York Times.”

      Even around here, no one ever supports their argument by citing Fox, Newsmax or Breitbart; Because even conservatives know these sources are comically unreliable and categorically different than the mainstream media.Report

  6. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    Frank is a very firm class not race or anything else leftist. He really believes that if the the Democratic Party adopts his preferred agenda than millions of what he sees as authentic working class white Americans, because they fit is priors on what it means to be working class, will abandon the Republican Party for the Democratic Party. That the Democratic Party would have to abandon anti-racism, anti-sexism, and anti-homophobia in order to do this is of no concern to Mr. Frank.

    The Democratic Party isn’t going to abandon social liberalism though and under Biden is promoting more actively liberal legislation of the classic social democratic sort than any existing social democratic party in the world. Denmark’s female social democratic prime minister is aiming to reduce asylum application to zero while Biden is proposing big liberal reforms that will make entering the United States much easier for immigrants. Probably the closest to open borders as politically plausible.Report

  7. Avatar Jesse
    Ignored
    says:

    Frank has been complaining that Democrat’s have had the temerity not to throw everybody whose not an anti-immigrant factory worker in Wisconsin under the bus for the past 30 years.

    The whole problem with the “class, not race” argument is the most successful nominees among the mythical white working class in the past 40 years for the Democrats was…Bill Clinton, who was far more right-wing economically than any other candidate before or after him, but most importantly, he was also the most right-wing culturally.

    This has been consistent in Democratic primaries for decades now, the white working class gets behind whomever they perceive as the most right-wing culturally – now, this can lead to hilarity like the same people who voted for hard drinking Hillary against effete Obama in 2008 backing Bernie in 2016 over That Bitch, Hillary, and then backing Diamond Joe over Bernie in 2020, but it’s also just true.

    There are any number of economically progressive things the Democrat’s can do that will also be popular – they should do them, even though it actually won’t effect the WWC vote all that much, unfortunately.Report

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