A writer for the Tribune News Service, one Noah Bierman, wrote an opinion piece cleverly disguised as a news story, supposedly reporting on Elizabeth Warren’s new year eve announcement that she was forming an exploratory committee, which is poli-legalspeak for announcing she’s running for president.
Bierman bothered with exactly one quote from Warren’s 4½ minute announcement: “We can rebuild America’s middle class, but this time we gotta build it for everyone.” Apparently none of the remaining 4:27 seconds was worthy of mention in Bierman’s judgment.
He begins with mention of Warren’s age, and at this point, that’s fine. He mentions that Trump, Biden and Sanders are all older, and that a lot of Democrats and Independents think it’s time for a “generational change.” Nothing to take issue with there. But it was the first thing in Bierman’s news queue after a perfunctory and uninformative two paragraphs on the announcement itself, followed by the usual vacuous horse-race “process analysis” of the race itself.
But since Bierman couldn’t be arsed mentioning it, it should be noted that Warren warned of a dark path America was on that meant “Our government is supposed to work for all of us, but instead, it has become a tool for the wealthy and well-connected,” and “How did we get here? Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie. And they enlisted politicians to cut them a bigger slice.”
This is important stuff. In fact, it defines the battle over who owns America.
But Bierman thinks the “Pocohantas” controversy is more important. It’s a rallying cry against Warren that he takes from a loathsome, low-brow bigot named Donald Trump. He doesn’t mention that for years, and in his alleged biography, Trump himself claimed to be Swedish, because he felt a German ancestry was disreputable. That’s pretty vile compared to repeating a family legend that they had some Cherokee blood a few generations back. Now, if Warren had said she was of Hawaiian descent rather than Cherokees because she found a Cherokee background embarrassing, then people better than Trump might have had cause to criticize. But that isn’t what she did. She wasn’t ashamed of her family.
Bierman thinks it was wrong of Warren to take a DNA test which suggested her family legend was correct. Ah, but it’s been so long since a politician actually produced evidence to support a claim that poor Bierman had no idea what to do. In the GOP, politicians don’t tell the truth, let alone try to demonstrate that what they are saying is true. ‘Taint American! What’s next? Science?
While stopping to point out Warren’s few legislative achievements, noting she was in the minority party without context, he then goes on to describe Warren’s struggle with the banks without detailing any of what the struggle is about, but marveling that she can raise money even though she’s critical of an industry that Bierman evidently thinks controls the political process. Bierman is curiously uncritical of that control, but seems to feel it’s just a part of nature. Let us all worship the Invisible Hand.
He goes on to note she got only 60% of the vote against an “unknown” in 2018 calling her support “tepid” and surmising that many of her own supporters don’t want her to be president. It’s true, in all likelihood, but omits the fact that most people think she can be far more effective and get more of her advocacy translated into law right where she is, in the Senate. She is minority chair Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection; and a member of these other powerful committees: Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Economic Policy; Securities, Insurance, and Investment; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Primary Health and Retirement Security. She can put a serious hurt on the Wall Street casino from there. Especially when you consider that whoever the next president is, or the circumstances under which that person becomes president, the office has been significantly weakened by the antics of the crazed fool presently residing in the White House.
Continuing to ignore her platform, Bierman finished up by gleefully quoting the Boston Globe editorial board, which labeled her a “divisive figure”. He didn’t mention why the Globe said that, which is fair, because the Globe itself didn’t seem to have a reason beyond the fact that she only got 60.8 of the vote, saying, “Those are warning signs from the voters who know her best. While Warren is an effective and impactful senator with an important voice nationally, she has become a divisive figure. A unifying voice is what the country needs now after the polarizing politics of Donald Trump. “
At least they did mention Trump, the most divisive president since FDR or possibly Lincoln, and one of the new breed of Republicans who tries to be deliberately divisive.
In this case, “divisive” simply means “stands for something the banks and other massive corporations don’t want” and “easy to smear.”
Jess McIntosh, a former outreach coordinator for Hillary Clinton, spoke about a wider phenomenon in the media outside of the right wing smear machine: “In the very beginning, as we just start to see women candidates coming through, I want to be cautious that we don’t fall into the sexist trap of talking about their likability exclusively,” she said. “It’s not about running for prom queen, it’s about running for president, and we need to make sure we are treating the women in the race the same as the men.”
He could easily have been including Bierman in the list of reporters he was addressing. I don’t believe Bierman is one of the raging sociopaths of talk radio, and nor is he one of the sleek and sophisticated liars of Fox News.
I believe that he is a reporter who mistakes what corporations want for what America needs, and falls for the herd mentality memes that seem to attach themselves to any Democratic candidate. He mistakes process for substance, and criticisms of the person for criticisms of the policy.
It’s an abdication of what he needs to be doing as a reporter, and it’s the same family of omissions that made the Trump monster possible in the first place.