By Hank Beckman –
Democrats really need to rethink their approach to getting the party’s message out to the American people.
Specifically, if national media is dropping all pretense of objectivity, not even bothering to hide the fact that they’re functioning as the party’s public relations firm, at least they might consider finding someone to try persuading us with a little more imagination.
Ben Shapiro illustrated the point a couple of weeks ago when he launched a caffeinated rant about how the Democrat talking point of the last few weeks has been everything they don’t like is a “threat to Democracy.”
He played a clip of CNN’s Brian Stelter railing against conservatives leaving Fox News for One America News and Newsmax, switching from Twitter and Facebook to join Parler and creating what he described as essentially an echo chamber for right-wing thought.
Stelter was exasperated at the thought of American citizens expressing themselves without their views being censored by nameless, faceless fact-checkers, fearing it would create a “bunker mentality.” Pamela Brown agreed with him, gravely declaring “it’s a threat to democracy.”
Media employs the same constant warning when reporting on President Trump fighting what he sees as a corrupt election; most agree that our democracy is in peril.
Of course, the Left has been insisting for the last four years that the Trump administration was a harbinger of doom for the democratic process, but the recent election controversy has given the phrase new life; I’m sure the alert citizen has come across it a dozen times since the election.
No sooner than that talking point seemed to lose its grip on cable news than the topic of diversity reared its ugly head.
On Tucker Carlson’s show 1 Dec., he pointed out that supporters of the incoming Biden administration were dissembling in their claims that his administration would be the most diverse ever, when in reality they were actually from the same elite schools and organizations, even if they might be of a different skin color or gender.
He played a montage of eight liberal talking heads who all used the same phrase to breathlessly inform us that the new administration would be “the most diverse ever,” or something to that that effect.
Just a few weeks ago Democrats and their media allies were calling for us to “reimagine” law enforcement. Apparently we’ve been doing it all wrong for the past two and one-half centuries, this whole business of deterring crime buy busting bad guys and putting them in jail to protect the citizenry.
Earlier this year, before Democrats lectured us about how we’ve been screwing up police work and “systemic racism,” they were promising us that impeachment would end the Trump administration; last year it was collusion that would be finish off the Trump presidency.
Remember when it was “the beginning of the end,” and the “walls were closing in” on the President? Somehow they couldn’t be bothered to come up with a new phrase explaining how the charges in impeachment failed to gain bipartisan support in the Senate and that there was no evidence that Trump or any of his associates colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election.
This habit of reciting the same phrase on cue became painfully obvious as far back as the 2000 presidential campaign.
In every stump speech Al Gore would warn us that every Republican proposal was a “risky scheme” that would lead us to certain disaster.
In what was perhaps the modern beginning of leftists repeating the same talking point on cue, George Bush’s selection of Dick Cheney as his running mate could only be explained by Bush’s presumed status as a lightweight.
Selecting Cheney lent “gravitas” to his campaign, we were assured by the wise sages on television. On his radio program, Rush Limbaugh played what seemed like an endless loop of liberals where the word was used in phrases that were only slightly different but were all code words for letting us know that Bush wasn’t up to the job. (And let’s be honest, he really wasn’t; but still better than Gore)
Seriously, who’s in charge of the talking points for the Democratic Party? Is it one individual, or a revolving committee?
Bill Clinton seems too talented to use such a ham-handed approach. But his former advisors James Carville and George Stephanopoulos might be good candidates; their long association with the Clintons would render them immune to embarrassment.
Whoever our current wordsmiths may be, it’s been obvious for a long time that someone or some group in the Democratic Party’s hierarchy has been tasked with creating a simple-minded, easy to understand phrase designed to appeal to the emotions of the audience. The phrase then gets handed out to the troops in newsrooms and editorial offices around the country.
To be fair, there are limits to language. There are only so many ways to get your point across to a large audience; politicians routinely use standard stump speeches on the campaign trail and you can certainly find instances of talking heads using phrases similar to the ones used by the talking head on the next channel down the dial.
But the way leftists recite their talking points on cue in a particular news cycle, the fact that they use almost identical phrases, and the short time frame involved make it unlikely that these are just cases of spontaneous mediocrity. And it’s actually generous to chalk it up to planned mediocrity; the alternative is to realize that most of them are that dull and unimaginative.
Even more depressing is realizing that so many of our fellow citizens are susceptible to such hackneyed rhetoric.
At least when Democrats took off on their “gravitas” rant in 2000, they had the benefit of operating in the early days of the internet, with no Twitter or Facebook, where people weren’t quite as clued in to the national political conversation as they are today.
Today, nothing gets ignored; if a politician or journalist does or says something remotely controversial, it will be the topic of heated debate almost immediately and for the next few days, if not weeks—or forever.
I hesitate to give advice to a group of people so obviously at odds with the welfare of most of the American people, but I’ll give Joe Biden the benefit of the doubt and assume he was sincere when he recently called for unity.
Since some of his supporters are currently making no bones about their desire to punish Trump supporters, we shouldn’t be surprised if that benefit is misplaced, but let’s be generous and withhold judgement on a Biden administration’s intentions for the time being.
If Democrats genuinely want to convince us that they’re interested in an end to the divisions that plague our country, if they sincerely believe that a particular policy proposal is preferable to alternatives, if they really are concerned about the welfare of all of us and not just a select few, they need a new approach.
An excellent start would be to start by addressing us like sentient adults, instead of some naive marks that a sharp conman has in his sights with a time-tested hustle.