Now that Joe Biden is, by growing corporate media consensus, heading for both the cognitive and political sunset of his life despite his current lead in polls, it's time for them to elevate Elizabeth Warren, the better to denigrate Bernie Sanders.
It's time once again to call the Tone Police.
Since the "Bernie Bro" trope has outlived both its utility and credibility in light of the fact that women and minorities are supporting Sanders in ever greater numbers, the corporate media must find a new trope. Actually, it's only an update on the 2016 trope that had Sanders suffering from a chronic anger management problem.
The manufactured dilemma contrived by the Washington Post is that since Donald Trump has already cornered the market on anger, staying mad at social and economic injustice makes Bernie sound just too Trump-like for the sensitive sensibilities of even past Bernie supporters, a handful of whom the Post carefully cherry-picked to quote in its latest anti-Bernie propaganda piece.
Anger is just so damned exhausting and so futile, says the Post, that these Bernie fans might as well support Elizabeth Warren. Although she, too, broadcasts anger at her campaign rallies, her version is supposedly softer and less "cantankerous and rowdy" than Bernie's. Reporter Hailey Fuchs writes:(bolds are mine)
In 2016, Sanders and his supporters shared a visceral anger at the nation’s economic and political systems, which they contended had been corrupted by wealthy capitalists. Hillary Clinton proved the perfect foe for an anti-establishment campaign then. But with a sitting president who has also used anger to galvanize his base and claims to represent the antithesis of the Washington elite, some now find that aggressive messaging unappealing.
The overall dynamics also have shifted. During the 2016 presidential cycle, the independent senator stood alone in his — oftentimes cantankerous and rowdy — fight for a single-payer health-care system, tuition-free four-year public college and a $15 minimum wage. Several presidential hopefuls have fully embraced his once-radical ideas without adopting his boisterous tone.Naturally, the Post article is accompanied by the usual unflattering photo of Sanders, mouth wide open in a grimace, finger pointed threateningly at all the sensitive sensibilities in the audience.
He and his angry supporters are not only mad, the Post says, they might even be ill-informed, since they merely "contend" that capitalism corrupts politics. Hailey Fuchs, a recent graduate of Yale with an impressive triple major in ethics, economics and politics, apparently has never read the numerous studies which conclusively prove that capitalism absolutely does corrupt politics. Take, as just one example, Martin Gilens's "Affluence and Influence" study showing that deep-pocketed donors invariably get whatever they want, in the way of tax breaks for themselves and cuts in social programs for everyone else, from the politicians who "we" are invited to vote for every two and four years. Fuchs is therefore being a bit unethical, to put it charitably, when she insinuates that Sanders supporters are using their guts (viscera) rather than their thinking brains in "contending" that such corruption exists in all levels of government. Then again, she is no doubt interested in continuing her career at a paper owned by the richest man in the universe.
So while Elizabeth Warren can and does sound every bit as angry as Bernie Sanders at her own campaign rallies, she has also been quietly courting Democratic Party insiders and its undemocratic super-delegates to reassure them that deep down, she is on their side. This tactic is apparently working, because the Washington Post, the New York Times and other consolidated media behemoths are not so quietly boosting her candidacy. Why wouldn't they? She is said to appeal to the highly educated bourgeoisie, while Bernie is totally down with the down and outs, a/k/a the working class and the poor.
Of course, the scary angry "Bernie-tone" that the Post claims is so suddenly upsetting to both his current and former supporters is pure propaganda, if not genuinely fake news.
The people who are really scared of Sanders are the ruling elites. They're terrified of the righteous - and global - anger of the Sunrise Movement, Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion and the Yellow Vests. So the Washington Post buries the true lead, and actual truth, 13 paragraphs deep into the article:
It’s not as though [Warren is] content to thunder against the evildoers like an Old Testament prophet. That’s much more his mode,” said William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former domestic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton. “Sanders sees [his campaign] as a revolutionary mass movement to upset the established order. While Senator Warren is obviously very dissatisfied with the status quo, she describes her campaign in very different terms and terms that I think are less scary.”Sanders isn't scary to oppressed people and poor people. He's scary to rich people and the centrist Democrats, neoliberal think tanks, party operatives and consultants who serve them. They have sunk so low as to join with the GOP in pathologizing the anger of the very people they have victimized with four decades of cruel neoliberal austerity policies.
In the interests of surface fairness and balance, the Post smarmily concludes its latest Bernie hit piece by tempering its propaganda with quotes from people who can relate to Bernie's anger. Here's the problem, though: the inconvenient fact remains that, just like every other human being, he's aged three years since 2016 - and that is suddenly giving them pause. He is, sadly, also not black or a woman. To convey this desired scary message, Hailey Fuchs searched for the perfect squeamish Sanders supporter. She hit the desired jackpot with this doozy:
But the Sanders supporter is concerned that her candidate will fall short of the nomination once again. She worries that his age — 77 — will be used against him, and that other voters may be drawn to a candidate who offers the appeal of diversity.Gosh, if only Bernie wasn't so damned white and kvetchy, his fair-weather friends would feel ever so much better. It's not that they care about identities as such, it's that other people care. If other people care, it's because the Post tells us that unless we, too, start to care about cosmetic appeal and "electability," we'll get four more years of Trump. So squelch that anger, all you tired, poor, huddled masses of America!
(Jennifer) Convery was not quite sure how Sanders could expand his voting bloc.
“He reaches out as much as anybody else as much as he can. He’s not going to change who he is and how he is, so he can’t make himself younger or black or a woman, so I don’t know,” she said. “What do you do? You’re not going to change your points.”
If only there were more righteous anger in the United States. Except for the vibrant youth movements battling for a green new deal, America's electorate are not yet taking to the streets, as they are in Hong Kong, France, Haiti, and elsewhere on the planet. Is it because we have enough streaming services, social media accounts, drugs, booze to keep us placidly hiding our quiet desperation? More likely, it's because most people are already finding day-to-day survival enough of a challenge and often have to work second or third jobs just to make ends barely meet.
As Oscar Wilde wrote more than a century ago in The Soul of Man Under Socialism, it is actually abnormal for economically struggling people not to feel intense rage at an oppressive system which insists that we should be grateful for whatever crumbs fall from the rich man's table while heeding the hackneyed advice to "keep calm and carry on" - even as the Democratic party elites do their utmost to ignore the ongoing climate catastrophe by refusing even to discuss it at a presidential debate.
It's worth quoting Wilde at length (and assume that he uses "man" in the generic sense - not that he cared a whit about political correctness, of course) and applying his critique to the trite and tiresome lectures of the Washington Post and the rest of the oligarchy-controlled media:
Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion. Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But to recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less. For a town or country labourer to practice thrift would be absolutely immoral. Man should not be ready to show that he can live like a badly fed animal... No, a poor man who is ungrateful, unthrifty, discontented, and rebellious, is probably a real personality, and has much in him. He is at any rate a healthy protest.
"As for the virtuous poor, one can pity them, of course, but one cannot possibly admire them. They have made private terms with the enemy, and sold their birthright for very bad pottage. They must also be extraordinary stupid. I can quite understand a man accepting laws that protect private property, and admit of its accumulation, as long as he himself is able under those conditions to realise some form of beautiful and intellectual life. But it is almost incredible to me how a man whose life is marred and made hideous by such laws can possibly acquiesce in their continuance.
"However, the explanation is not really difficult to find. It is simply this. Misery and poverty are so absolutely degrading and exercise such a paralysing effect over the nature of men, that no class is ever really conscious of its own suffering. They have to be told of it by other people, and they often entirely disbelieve them.
"That is the reason why agitators are so absolutely necessary. Without them, in our incomplete state, there would be no advance towards civilisation."Oligarchic propaganda sheets like the Washington Post want to scare people stupid. Candidates like Bernie Sanders, with his ambitious new climate plan, want to scare people out of the toxic, capitalism-imposed stupor of what some critics are calling the Necrocene, or the Age of Death.
The bright side is that seriously broke, seriously depressed, and seriously exhausted people probably have neither the money nor the energy to breach the paywalls of the major cable and print outlets to be tainted overly much by the corporate propaganda. So maybe there's hope for "civilization" yet.