What's a well-paid New York Times columnist who moonlights as a regular MSNBC contributor to do when, repulsed as she is by Creepy Uncle Joe, realizes that her career probably depends on at least passive-aggressively promoting Creepy Uncle Joe in the interests of her corporate sponsors?
If you're Michelle Goldberg, and you have previously opined that Biden should never run for president, then the first step in your rehabilitation is to write a chastened column about all the polls that show Joe Biden with a substantial lead. You then subtly denigrate the anti-Biden "online left". You provide no evidence to back up your claim that this group has little to no influence over the vast, silent majority of Democratic "moderates" for whom the defeat of Trump trumps everything else. Defeating Trump is more important than Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. Those nice things are for the "future" of the Democratic Party, not for the precarious present of the actual people and the planet they live on.
As horrible a candidate as Joe Biden is, after all, he could never be as horrible as Donald Trump.
Goldberg seems to want to have it both ways. She gives her reluctant tacit approval to the "electable" Biden, while still clinging tenuously to her faux-progressive feminist brand:
I still think it’s a bad idea for the party to nominate a man who, among other things, voted to authorize the Iraq war and oversaw the televised humiliation of Anita Hill. But while it’s still very early, his poll numbers suggest that those of us who’d written Biden off could be the ones who are out of step with a lot of Democrats. (my bold).
How odd that even though Goldberg had long ago dutifully joined the media chorus insisting that a Russian troll farm swayed an entire election by posting a few hundred cheesy ads online, the "Online Left" back home in the USA does not wield similar power and influence.
The future of the Democratic Party is still with left-wing social media dynamos like Ocasio-Cortez. As Niall Ferguson and Eyck Freymann recently wrote in The Atlantic, she’s “often described as a radical, but the data show that her views are close to the median for her generation.” Right now, though, her generation is mostly in charge only online.
One explanation for this alleged lack of power and influence, she continues, is that MSNBC doesn't give lefty ideas as much coverage as Fox News gives to those in its own right-wing audience.
MSNBC (where I’m a contributor) doesn’t play a remotely similar role in mainstreaming fringe ideas. Polls tell us that Democratic voters don’t rely on it as their main news source the way Republican voters do with Fox, and it doesn’t take its cues from online left-wing subcultures. In fact, it often seems that Fox News pays more attention to progressive Twitter than MSNBC does, because the right-wing network loves to jeer at anything that looks like lefty overreach.
She doesn't mention that MSNBC also loves to regularly jeer at leftists, including but not limited to Bernie Sanders. The most infamous incident took place in March, when a different on-air contributor falsely claimed that Sanders had not mentioned gender or race until 23 minutes into his campaign announcement speech. (He had mentioned them immediately, and to this day, MSNBC has not issued a correction or apologized.)
She also doesn't name any "online left-wing subcultures," other than AOC's twitter account, or even explain what she means by this dismissive term. But by lumping them all together into one fringe-dwelling pot, she does manage to make them seem both suspect and scary. At most, she damns them with her very faint praise. They're not radical at all, but by golly, they're still fringe-dwellers despite the overwhelming support of more than 90 percent of registered Democrats for single payer health care.
I suspect that if Michelle Goldberg had mentioned the inconvenient truth that MSNBC is essentially a corporate Democratic Party propaganda mill and regularly lies by both commission and omission, she would no longer have her lucrative gig on MSNBC. Members of its revolving stable of occasional contributors get paid a reported average $85,000 to $100,000 a year to be available to rehash and promote their articles, their think tank research papers, and their Democratic Party consulting work. Their job is to agree with each other, and occasionally debate GOP operatives and politicians in the interest of "balance" and for shouting-over purposes. This keeps the audience glued to the screen in a simulacrum of mass indignation and righteous liberal solidarity. If it's not about the anti-Trump #Resistance, Inc., "the Russians," or the Mueller Report soap opera, then it does not exist.
Goldberg seems to have gotten the message that the time has now arrived for even the mildly restive liberal stable to get trotting in unison in the spectacle of the Horse Race, mainly by endlessly promoting that P.R. gimmick called "electability." (As I wrote last week, the electability gimmick was dreamed up in the 1980s by the Democratic Leadership Council to justify implementation of the undemocratic superdelegate system as a means to steer the party toward the right and keep it there permanently.)
Goldberg thus dutifully continues:
In his own horrific way, Trump seemed to expand the possibilities of American politics, making it seem as if the old rules of electability no longer applied. Many of us assumed that the expansion would go in both directions, since Trump’s rise represented such a catastrophic failure of the political center. But there are a lot of Democrats who don’t want a revolution, or even a protracted political fight. They just want things to be the way they were before Trump came along, when ordinary people didn’t have to think about Twitter at all.
My published comment:
The media promotion of Biden proceeds apace. Michelle Goldberg basically shrugs "what do I know?" as she pivots from finding Biden borderline-abhorrent to acknowledging that The Polls Speak.
But what about those polls? What percentage of the people questioned were contacted by cell phone as opposed to landline? Few young people have landlines. "Biden leading by double digits!" is about as far as most people read. The polls then become a self-fulfilling prophecy and a magnet for the undecided voter.
Meanwhile,there are fewer stories about Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and other candidates. There are Zero stories about Tulsi Gabbard, whose opposition to the regime-change wars embraced by both establishment parties and mainstream media outlets makes her persona non grata in the "official narrative."
Michelle Goldberg acknowledges that she is also a contributor on MSNBC, which exposes yet another problem of journalism. One corporate outlet or personality quotes another corporate outlet or personality, and ad infinitum until it all becomes "the conventional wisdom."
Beating Trump is now the be-all and end-all as news and political personalities and the "horse race" supersede deep discussions and reporting about the everyday problems of ordinary people.
No wonder impeachment is "off the table." It would take attention away from the candidate whose main policy platform is "restoring America's soul." Whatever that even means.
Who's up? Who's down? Who cares?