Thursday Reads: Investigating the Attempted Coup is Not a “Both Sides” Issue.Posted: July 22, 2021
Before I get to today’s topic, I just have to share this blog post that Dakinikat sent me yesterday.
Sexist double standards don’t come any brighter, or more well defined, than the eager, nonstop coverage Trump continues to receive months after losing his White House election, compared to how the Beltway press gleefully tried to run Hillary Clinton out of town after her 2016 loss.
For the media, Trump the man remains a captivating topic who provides endless angles of intrigue and who is treated as a looming star of American politics. This, after becoming only the ninth president in U.S. history to lose a re-election bid. Clinton the woman though, was treated as an incompetent has-been who threw away a sure-fire win, and one who needed to get off the national stage immediately. Trump has receiving very little media second guessing.
“I was really struck by how people said that to me, ‘Go away, go away,'” Clinton observed in 2019, “They never said that to any man who was not elected.” Trump’s media treatment this year confirms her claim and that the tough coverage she received was tailor made for the first woman nominee.
Against the backdrop of President Joe Biden’s “boring” administration, journalists seem eager for the chaos and clicks that Trump creates. The coverage seems to swell with each passing day, as the press marvels at Trump’s lasting power. This was a breathless Business Insider headline this week, even though it would been more timely in 2017: “The Definitive Oral History of How Trump Took Over the GOP, as Told To Us By Cruz, Rubio, and 20 More Insiders.”
The premise to virtually all the coverage is, of course Trump will run again. By contrast, the first woman White House nominee was treated quite differently after her defeat as journalists angrily, and irrationally, demanded she “go away.”
Please click the link and read the rest.
Yes, it’s sexism, but also the media just loves boosting Republicans and blaming Democrats. Case in point: yesterday Nancy Pelosi refused to accept two of Kevin McCarthy’s choices for the January 6 select committee, so McCarthy withdrew the rest of the nominations. Of course the entire point of choosing bomb throwers for the committee was to justify refusing to participate. CNN:
House Republicans balked at participating in the House committee that’s investigating the January 6 insurrection on Wednesday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of the five Republicans House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had tapped for the panel.
Pelosi’s decision to reject the two Republicans — and McCarthy’s response to pull the rest his members — injected new fuel into the partisan fight over the select committee that’s been raging since Democrats created the panel last month to investigate the circumstances surrounding the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
The committee will still have Republican representation from one member: Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump who was one of Pelosi’s eight choices to serve on the committee. Cheney’s participation keeps the committee bipartisan even without anyone appointed by McCarthy.
Still, Pelosi’s move to reject Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana gives House Republicans an avenue to attack the select committee as a partisan endeavor. McCarthy slammed the move shortly after it was announced Wednesday.
Of course that’s all bullshit. The committee should be nonpartisan, not bipartisan.
McCarthy had a chance to support a bipartisan panel and he and Mitch McConnell instructed their members to vote it down. McCarthy appointed people who actually supported the insurrection–especially Jim Jordan. Having him on the committee would have turned it into a complete joke. Pelosi rejected Jim Banks because of the statement he made after being appointed by McCarthy:
“I have accepted Leader McCarthy’s appointment to this committee because we need leaders who will force the Democrats and the media to answer questions so far ignored. Among them, why was the Capitol unprepared and vulnerable to attack on January 6?
“If Democrats were serious about investigating political violence, this committee would be studying not only the January 6 riot at the Capitol, but also the hundreds of violent political riots last summer when many more innocent Americans and law-enforcement officers were attacked. And of course, the committee would not overlook the Good Friday murder of USCP Officer Billy Evans that was perpetrated by a far-left extremist.
“Make no mistake, Nancy Pelosi created this committee solely to malign conservatives and to justify the Left’s authoritarian agenda.
You can read more specifics about these two men in this NYT story: Why Jim Banks and Jim Jordan Were Blocked From the Capitol Riot Panel.
But the media needs to pretend there are “both sides” in this controversy–literally anti-insurrection vs. pro-insurrection.
McCarthy said that House Republicans would form their own committee–not to investigate the Capitol insurrection, but to prove that the cause was Nancy Pelosi’s failure to provide enough security on January 6.
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio suggested Wednesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been responsible for the security presence at the US Capitol on January 6, after Pelosi rejected his appointment to serve on the select committee investigating the insurrection.
“Why wasn’t there a proper security presence at the Capitol that day,” Jordan asked at a news conference after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pulled all five members he had tapped for the committee in response to Pelosi rejecting two of them. The Ohio Republican added, “Only one person can answer that question. Only one. The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.”
Facts First: The Speaker of the House is not in charge of Capitol security. That’s the responsibility of the Capitol Police Board, which oversees the US Capitol Police and approves requests for National Guard assistance.
Jane L. Campbell, president and CEO of the US Capitol Historical Society, told CNN that “the Speaker of the House does not oversee security of the US Capitol, nor does this official oversee the Capitol Police Board.”
Pelosi also cannot unduly influence who is appointed to the Board, which consists of the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms, the Architect of the Capitol and the Chief of the Capitol Police. The Sergeants at Arms are elected and must be confirmed by their respective chambers and the Architect must be confirmed by both chambers of Congress.
And according to testimony from the former Capitol Police chief, Pelosi was not involved in the decisions made ahead of January 6 regarding the National Guard.
Here’s a non-“both-sides” description of what happened, by Slate’s Jim Newell: Pelosi Kicks Kooks Off Coup Committee.
McCarthy announced his five picks to Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday: Reps. Jim Banks, Jim Jordan, Troy Nehls, Kelly Armstrong, and Rodney Davis. On Wednesday, though, Pelosi pulled a move she conceded was “unprecedented”: She actually used the veto power granted to her in the resolution, and told McCarthy that she would reject the two most MAGA of his picks, Banks and Jordan.
“With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these Members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee,” she said in a statement. “The unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision.”
McCarthy responded by withdrawing his entire slate of appointees, and argued that Pelosi’s move “represents an egregious abuse of power” that “will irreparably damage this institution.” The newest and phoniest—and that says something—member of leadership, Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, declared that Pelosi was a “radical AUTHORITARIAN Speaker of the House.”
McCarthy said that Republicans would, instead, “pursue our own investigation of the facts,” perhaps from his friend’s mom’s backyard treehouse.
Republicans see Pelosi’s move as a gift, the exact move they needed to solidify their argument that this select committee is a political exercise that shouldn’t be taken seriously. But the point of putting Banks and Jordan on the committee was also to make the argument, from the committee, that it was a political exercise that shouldn’t be taken seriously. McCarthy nominated those two to muddy the waters during hearings, to run interference for Donald Trump, and to give counterprogramming sound bites for Fox News to run on its evening programs.
That’s not difficult to understand, is it? Nevertheless, if you look around you’ll see plenty of “journalists” misrepresenting what happened and Democrats being partisan.
This is from Jill Lawrence at USA Today: In vetoing Jordan and Banks, Pelosi safeguards history, democracy and Capitol attack probe.
Say what you will about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and there are multitudes with lots to say, she is a woman with a steel backbone and a laser focus on history – both the centuries past and the countless pages yet to be written.
Though it was shocking and apparently unprecedented that she rejected two of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s choices for the select committee that will be investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, it probably should not have been. Pelosi is not interested in a dog-and-pony show, in distractions that will give endless fodder to conservative media outlets and undercut the gravity of the task before this panel.
A speaker who has helmed two impeachments, painful procedures that exposed egregious offenses by President Donald Trump yet failed to remove him from office, knows exactly what would happen if she gave a platform to Republican Reps. Jim Jordan and Jim Banks….
Both of them voted to object to the state-certified results of the election – even though the Justice Department and dozens of courts had found the objections groundless, and even after Trump supporters had stormed the Capitol, injured scores of police, threatened Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence and led to the deaths of five people – including a Capitol Police officer and a protester shot by a police officer as she was breaking through a glass door to an area where lawmakers were sheltering.
Banks and Jordan have shown us who they are.
Banks recently met with Trump twice, including on a trip to the southern border. “I will never be ashamed to say that Donald Trump is the most effective president of my lifetime,” he said this month at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where his topic was “grievances against the government.” [….]
Jordan has been such a zealous defender of Trump and his 2020 “victory” that five days after the insurrection at the Capitol, Trump gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The next day, Jordan was on the House floor championing Trump and castigating Democrats for impeaching him – again – “eight days before there will be a peaceful transfer of power just like there has been every other time in American history.”
Except that by then, for the first time in U.S. history, the transfer already had been scarred by violence, vandalism and death.
Former House Speaker John Boehner has called his fellow Ohio Republican “a legislative terrorist.” That is no doubt why McCarthy picked him and why Pelosi made the call to hand the GOP some short-term ammunition in exchange for a long-term historical record that doesn’t get derailed by conservative media plays and what-aboutism.
Let me know what you think. As always, this still an open thread.