The Editorial Board Profile picture
May 1, 2018 25 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1. I'm going to leave most of the @michelleisawolf controversy to others. Meanwhile, I want to make a few points about the reaction to the comedian's #WHCD roasting. Reactions were many. I want to focus on the one represented by Chris Cillizza:
2. "Bullying," "mean," "insulting"—yes, elite journalists really did use these and other words to describe Wolf's punch lines. If you did not watch the event, as most Americans did not, you can be forgiven for agreeing with Cillizza. Who's going to say, "Bullying. I'm for it"?
3. But let's remember who we are talking about:

A) high-ranking official of the United States government, who also happens to speak for the planet's most powerful human being.

B) comedian.
4. Given "bullying" is about the abuse of power in a context in which power is uneven, anyone should walk away from Cillizza's tweet thinking, at the very least: "Um."
5. I'm going to argue, perhaps naively, that Cillizza's view is minority view, but he certainly isn't alone. Andrea Mitchell expressed sympathy for Sanders as did Maggie Haberman, who praised her fortitude. But even if a minority, we must ask: why are they doing this?
6. You could say it's genuine. But that runs counter to the fact these are elite Ivy League-educated journalists whose job is understanding the machinations of power. In other words, they're not stupid.
7. They see the utility of expressing compassion for the powerful, especially the powerful who already believe they are victims of militant liberalism, political correctness and other fictions.
8. The conclusion is that elite journalists are playing along, and in playing along when they should be holding power to account and informing the citizenry, they demonstrate why most people hate elite journalists.
9. It's not telling the truth that most enrages most normal people (though truth-telling does enrage people). It's the betrayal of virtues that elite journalists embrace to set themselves apart from power but abandon when it becomes professionally convenient to do so.
10. Yes, wonder of wonders, it makes normal people mad when journalists, who are supposed to convey the truth, end up peddling fictions to gain access, win favors and otherwise act as if they are not set apart from power but a part of it.
11. But this doesn't end with journalists betraying their values and normal people getting pissed off. There are real-world implications to reporters playing along.
12. When elite journalists make exceptions for bad-faith actors who are not interested in even paying lip-service to journalistic values, they expand the public sphere and in doing so, they make room for phony debate, con artists, frauds, and ideas damaging to democracy.
13. I see no more significant case in point than the presidency of Donald Trump.
14. This, thank God, is changing. Since Trump's election, we have witnessed a public sphere working to exclude voices that had been accustomed to being central to national debate. I'm talking about fringe writers like Kevin Williamson getting booted from The Atlantic.
15. But I'm talking generally about a pantheon of voices—the so-called Never Trumpers—former pillars of political thought struggling to maintain the intellectual capital they once had.
16. This is thanks to Trump but also thanks to the reaction to him.
17. Due to the president’s victory, the Republican Party no longer requires the service of conservatives like William Kristol, George Will and Rich Lowry to intellectualize its greed and cowardice. The Republicans can win without all that.
18. Due to the Trump backlash, mainstream publications like the New York Times and The Atlantic are under enormous pressure to rid themselves of people the mainstream believes are beyond the pale.
19. This mainstream is probably liberal (though not leftist), but that's partly because the GOP has less of a stake in the public sphere than it used to. They don't need the Kevin Williamsons of the world to win.
20. Elites play an important role in democracies, like it or not, but elites must be watched, scolded and even hounded out of town when they behave badly.
21. I'm not surprised to see Cillizza and his ilk playing along with the powerful but I am pleasantly surprised to see so much pushback from normal people enraged by their fraudulence.
22. Alas, Cillizza and his journalistic ilk will always be with us. They are like cold sores. But like cold sores, they can be treated, minimized, tamped down and kept away from the center of life. They were a majority, but they are increasingly a minority.
23. They are finding themselves penned in, and that, my friends, is worth celebrating.
24. Thanks for reading. Please share. And sign up for my newsletter.…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with The Editorial Board

The Editorial Board Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @johnastoehr

Oct 9, 2018
1. President Obama said often that sensible people can gather to devise solutions to our country’s most pressing problems. He said partisan interests, in the end, would give way to reason, the national interest and the common good. That’s what he said.
2. His problem: he believed it.
3. At least, he did in the beginning of his presidency. By the end, he realized the opposing party had no interest in the national interest. Indeed, the Republicans decided their interests were predicated on being anathema to the common good.
Read 17 tweets
Oct 9, 2018
1. The Republicans aren’t alone. Democrats believe spin, too. To be sure, the numbers aren’t the same. While most Republicans really do believe their own nonsense, a small faction of Democrats tends to swallow baloney whole.
2. We can see this in the reaction to Joe Manchin’s vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh. He was the lone Democrat to do so. Some say there’s nothing good in the party having a Republican-lite. Others have called for him to be purged.
3. Others still say the Democrats don’t need the likes of Manchin. @onesarahjones, in New York magazine, said:
Read 19 tweets
Oct 8, 2018
1. Thread, quoting Jefferson to a friend, about SCOTUS: You seem in pages 84 and 148, to consider the judges as the ultimate, arbiters of all constitutional questions – a very dangerous doctrine indeed and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.
2. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is, ‘boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem’; and their power is the more dangerous
3. as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time & party, its members would become despots.
Read 4 tweets
Oct 8, 2018
1. The Editorial Board’s mission is to cut through the noise by speaking plainly about politics. That mission is especially relevant now after so many spent so much time this weekend explaining why the Democrats lost the battle over Brett Kavanaugh.
2. Here’s a reality check. The Republicans had the advantage. They always had the advantage. There are 51 Republicans in the Senate. There are 49 Dems. The GOP needed a majority to confirm. They could have lost one Republican. The vice president would then have broken the tie.
3. It was a numbers game in the beginning. It was a numbers game at the end. Everything else might have impacted those numbers. But don’t let possibilities take away from this stone-cold and fundamental fact: the GOP had more votes.
Read 15 tweets
Oct 7, 2018
1. Paul Campos says that if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, he and the other four conservative justices of the Supreme Court will have been appointed illegitimately.…
2. Clarence Thomas, he said, perjured himself. John Roberts and Samuel Alito were appointed by George W. Bush, who won the 2000 election thanks to the court. Bush did not win the popular or electoral vote. He won because a divided court told officials in FL to stop recounting.
3. Then there’s President Donald Trump’s picks, Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. Like Bush, Trump did not win the popular vote either.
Read 26 tweets
Oct 4, 2018
1. So much ado about the so-called Kavanaugh effect. In brief, it’s fear among Democrats that the fight over the nominee is going to drive out Republicans next month, limiting their possible gains, especially in the Senate. Let me give it to you straight.
2. That’s baloney.
3. If the Republicans were to hold a vote after the midterms, all of the above might be true. The Republican base, which cares about the courts more than the Democratic base does, would in that scenario have an incentive to come out in force.
Read 9 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!