I’m not trying to be critical. I love “dragon daddy,” Cenk, and Ana, and have been a member for a while now.
Background: I was raised Republican, by two military parents, then went on to become a dem by Obama’s first election, marrying a liberal Air Force physician. At almost 40, I’ve become pretty damned progressive. I feel like I’ve seen the gamut. (I’m also very loosely, liberally Christian, but that isn’t important tonight).
Tonight’s show had some seriously bad takes, and it’s been happening more and more, so I wanted to offer some feedback on it.
Biden has made some huge mistakes as president, and his failure to act is often enraging. Corporate centrists are frustrating and self-absorbed. War is bad, and should be avoided at all costs. The US needs to respect sovereignty.
We’re together on all of that.
But you guys have become so disgusted by Biden that you’ve started to echo conservative talking points, almost every night, at least once. Tonight it was over and over. It’s becoming exhausting, it’s scarily close to an election where we’re already fubar and going to have a really hard time getting discouraged voters to turn out, and i wish you’d reign it in a bit.
- Biden isn’t really “escalating tensions.” What he’s doing is trying to be diplomatic, but strong in his approach. Putin is testing him, as he does nearly once with every administration, and by backing down and allowing his aggressive threat to invade a neighboring country (something he’s already done), just because he’s against an alliance, we are failing the “test,” and setting a precedent that he only has to violate neighboring sovereignty to get the US to cave to his demands. It’s kind of shocking to me that you guys are being so short-sighted on this one. You’re echoing the talking points of Tucker Carlson, Josh Hawley, etc. Doesn’t that raise some alarm bells?
Prior hawks would have already started acting aggressively toward Russia. Aiming bombs, making direct threats of violence, etc. Biden has been pretty tame in his reaction, without totally showing our belly. As someone with military and diplomatic family members, and who was with my parents in Berlin (on military orders) to push until the wall was taken down, I can assure you that strident language, peppered with diplomatic outs and threats of economic sanctions, is very different from “escalating tensions” or gunning for war. It’s the opposite.
France has taken a role as a neutral mediator, in what I can almost GUARANTEE is a deliberately coordinated “good cop/bad cop” routine. Macron is masculine, misogynist, and a “ladies man.” He’s the perfect choice to play “good cop,” as Putin will see himself in Macron and want to be like/be liked by him. Germany* would be a bad choice because the pipeline means they’re too economically entangled to be the direct purveyor of threats without Putin knee-jerk overreacting. And England is always the Robin to our Batman by default. We were the best choice to take on the (gentle) “bad cop” role, and it was a good opportunity for us to show leadership and strength on the world stage, after 4 years of becoming a laughingstock.
We NEEDED that recovery of status, no matter how silly and superficial, for economic posturing and the ability to at least pretend to advocate climate efforts, etc. It’s dumb posturing, but that’s basically how global politics works, so it’s necessary until we change it.
*it would have been inappropriate for Biden to give reporters all of the details regarding the German/Russian pipeline immediately after speaking to the German Chancellor. He conveyed the gist, and tried to graciously allow room for Germany to hammer out the details before publicizing it. That part felt obvious, but you guys seemed to miss it. In foreign relations issues, the press can’t always get an immediate, detailed answer. Too much is still unknown to the public. We should always demand it be released ASAP, and there should be accountability, but it’s silly to demand it immediately and, when it isn’t released immediately, quote Trump/MAGA about “sleepy Joe” and pretend he just wasn’t prepared. Come ON.
P.s. Tony was right, and I don’t like how he was spoken to. He lives in the real world. Those who don’t understand Russia’s history of aggression and the need to keep that from being a successful bullying chip are the ones living in an imaginary world.
- The Mexico story seemed like an openly transparent excuse to rant some more about Biden, and it made me bristle. We desperately need to work on immigration reform and being more efficient and reliable with providing asylum to those who request it. I’m so with you on that. And I’m very disappointed with Biden for not taking action yet (though I won’t pretend that things aren’t complicated by Covid-and our infuriating inability to get financial support for anything other defense and corporations out of our supposed MAJORITY congress). I also have nothing but empathy for the families who are trying to get here to better their futures and find a way to survive.
But the NEWS was that Mexico had abruptly broken up a migrant camp, and the government said it was because of the spread of disease. That’s a potentially valid reason, since camps without running water or sanitation often end up riddled with dangerous diseases like dysentery, and since we’re in the middle of a pandemic. We’ve also repeatedly asked their government to step up and take some responsibility for their people and the migrant caravans that pass through, so it’s hard to criticize them, given that they bothered to (at least claim) that they did so in a way that was safe and humane and to prevent disease. It’s also good that they actually reported it, rather than doing so violently and silently.
It’s still perhaps worthy of being reported, but I don’t think that has anything to do with why you chose the story.
You barely got out a single sentence before switching over to ranting about Biden again. It wasn’t a smooth transition, so it was pretty blatant. I get that we’re mad about Biden not opening up the border and processing more migrants. But to claim that those people came because Biden promised to change title 42 is absolutely absurd. They’ve been coming for as long as I’ve been alive. There have been migrant caravans and camps publicized the whole time Trump was president, too, so how is this “because” Biden promised “them” he would let them in?
Then you said Mexico broke up the camp, “but the real culprit is Biden” and “this is a problem that Biden created.” Are you serious? No. The “real culprit” is poverty and climate change and gang violence and bigotry and the right wing refusing to allow any kind of humanitarian funding unless it’s to Israel. And this problem has existed for as long as Ana has been alive. I get that Biden is older than that, but still. You can’t say “they’ve been there for over a year” and “it’s Biden’s fault they came.” No it’s not. And you guys damage our credibility when you say things like that.
And on what planet does Biden have unilateral power to say “we’re paying for hundreds of judges no matter what it costs, so they can let everyone in until there are no more caravans/camps (an impossibility). Suck it.” ??? Can you imagine how quickly he’d be stopped??
Biden isn’t a saint. He’s also not a right winger. He’s a problematic, ancient, centrist “people pleaser” who has unrealistic rosy lenses when it comes to reaching across the aisle. He’s very centrist, and an optimist to a fault, and he fails to act because he’s so desperate to “unite” when it’s currently impossible, and because he doesn’t know how to be aggressive enough to solve our issues. He is still FAR BETTER than the looming alternative(s) if we keep helping the right wing trash our party. They don’t hear the meat of your stories—they just hear “fuck Biden” and then use it as further ammo and further motivation for their base.
This story was unnecessary, and took forever, as an excuse to repeat a rant that you guys have already used over and over, when there is so much other news out there that we need to hear. We get it. There will be opportunities to attack Biden’s migrant policy that are relevant and linked without reaching.
(But you guys also said that he’s being too aggressive with Russia, which is factually impossible based on his leadership flaws.)
- Did you guys seriously say that Ukrainian troops weren’t concerned because one was wearing a beanie? In Baltic winter? For real?
Look at Taiwan. When a country, and a military, are constantly living under this kind of threat, their bodies naturally transition out of PANIC because it’s impossible to keep up that kind of adrenaline and stress and survive. We flat out run out of adrenaline. Ukraine is constantly under vague-to-flagrant threat from Russia. The troops are young men who have been there for weeks or months. They aren’t crying on camera because of course they’re not. The US military had videos and pics of soldiers goofing around, exercising, cuddling kittens, etc in active war zones in Afghanistan, etc. it’s very normal. A beanie is weather appropriate. And do you guys expect the military to be like “hey, American reporter lady and camera crew. Come look at the exact location, type, and number of our heavy weapons! We text Russians selfies of them, but they haven’t bombed them yet. Lol”
All I’m saying is that your whole take on that was really frustrating to watch, because I know you’re smarter than that.
You guys pride yourselves on being smart and as honest and unbiased as it’s possible to be as reporters, and that’s why I’m a member. Please remember those values, and pull back from the constant, repetitive attacks on Biden. I’m begging you. Criticize him for what he fails on (which is a whole lot right now), but try to keep in mind what his actual JOB expectations and limitations are, and how diplomacy works. Don’t parrot losers like Trump, and Tucker Carlson, or amplify that jackass Russell Brand just because he was mean to someone on CNN (I actually like Stelter, and have empathy for him because he’s outside the traditional physical mold for television, and I think Russell Brand is a narcissist, liar, and bully who thinks he’s a god among men, and he doesn’t need you guys to help him be a bully, or draw attention to him—given that he lies about Covid nonstop).
Let’s get back to constructive, novel news, and conversations meant to inspire and empower the voting base, and pull back from the relentless, repetitive haterade. I’d be thrilled if you continued to call out the liberal government in a way that continued to offer solutions, and demand better, but sounded less mean-spirited and designed to make everyone give up on their expectations. Being mad at our party failures is one thing—criticizing everyone in the party to the point where it’s clearly become a personal attack, and hating on them takes up more airtime than battling the opposition (that is trying to dismantle democracy, and block any efforts to correct every single issue) is another.
We need to get people hyped for this next election, not utterly defeated. And we need to let our leaders know that we still expect them to deliver, rather than just throwing up our hands and saying “we hate you, you failed, you’re stupid, you’ll never get anything done.” Even if it’s the truth, it’s counterproductive and ends reinforcing their belief that they can’t overcome.
Thanks for listening, and I’m sorry this was so long, and I still think you’re amazing. I’m just being real and hope it’s heard with an open mind and some self-awareness. That’s how I try to approach my own failings, at least. I’ll still be here to financially and vocally support you, and the work of progressives, and to push for democrats and centrists to come together.