This take from Jonathan Chait was always going to be terrible. But in light of the deadly explosions at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, it’s particularly egregious:
One of the most important structural asymmetries in American politics is that Republicans have a mass media ecosystem that always supports them, while Democrats don't https://t.co/e976VmVieB
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) August 26, 2021
Here’s how Chait’s piece kicks off:
Over the last week, the media has hammered Joe Biden with relentlessly critical coverage of his pullout from Afghanistan, resulting in noticeable drops in his approval ratings. Put aside for a moment whether this reflects failures by Biden or biases by the media. One conclusion we can draw is that this sort of dynamic is a regular feature of Democratic presidencies, and — as the Trump administration showed — a near impossibility during Republican ones.
But wait, you’re thinking. Didn’t the media hound Donald Trump for four straight years at least as hard as it’s hounded Biden over the last week?
Well, sort of. The mainstream media certainly gave Trump harsh and even overtly hostile coverage. But the mainstream media only describes roughly half the media landscape. The other half of the media is a right-wing messaging apparatus that makes no effort to follow traditional journalistic norms. Republicans communicate to their base through a media that functionally operates as part of their party, while Democrats communicate to their base through a media that still exerts substantial independence. If you want to understand the strange difficulty that Joe Biden’s sane, competent administration has in yielding measurably higher approval than Trump’s insane, incompetent presidency, the asymmetrical relationship between the two parties and their respective media environments is the most important place to start.
Pity poor, sane, competent Joe Biden! Donald Trump and Republicans have a dutiful right-wing media willing to act as their mouthpieces, while Joe Biden and Democrats are stuck with a media that “exerts substantial independence.”
Wow this is a really good point if you want to gaslight people. https://t.co/IORGPIgi5q
— Amelia (@AmeliaHammy) August 26, 2021
What else could Chait possibly be trying to do if he’s not trying to gaslight us?
— David Marcus (@BlueBoxDave) August 26, 2021
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) August 26, 2021
— Sister Toldjah 😁 (@sistertoldjah) August 26, 2021
— Matt Cover (@MattCover) August 26, 2021
— Ryan (@alwaysonoffense) August 26, 2021
Didn’t realize you were in an 8 year coma starting in 2008.
— Noam Blum (@neontaster) August 26, 2021
You’re clearly in your own echo chamber.
— Beth Baumann (@eb454) August 26, 2021
— Siraj Hashmi (@SirajAHashmi) August 26, 2021
Chait should be on The List for at least the next six months for that.
I have never heard a more backwards upside down take.
— Herman 🇺🇸 (@Hermanstock) August 26, 2021
I have trouble comprehending how any honest observer of things can hold this view.
— Max Shifrin (@MaxShifrin) August 26, 2021
he's not an honest observer
— Oedipa Maas (@bridgietherease) August 26, 2021
Though in fairness, Stephen L. Miller actually did manage to find an example supporting Chait’s contention:
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) August 26, 2021
In any event, if Chait honestly believes that the media is less supportive of Joe Biden and Democrats than they are of Donald Trump and Republicans, this might explain what’s actually going on here:
The media is not worse for Biden than it was for Trump. The problem is, the Biden administrations' policy positions produce results that are so much worse than the Trump administrations' policy positions it is impossible to ignore. https://t.co/Pju5rVPlEG
— Article V Convention of States please (@philthatremains) August 26, 2021