Trump-Biden coverage data shows reporters are ‘accessories to the murder of democracy’: WaPo columnist
President Joe Biden's press coverage has been as negative as — and sometimes more negative than — former president Donald Trump's, according to a new data-based analysis.
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank reports that the analysis, covering more than 200,000 articles from 65 news websites, rated the coverage Biden received in the first 11 months of 2021 versus the coverage President Donald Trump got in the first 11 months of 2020.
"The findings ... confirmed my fear: My colleagues in the media are serving as accessories to the murder of democracy," Milbank writes. "After a honeymoon of slightly positive coverage in the first three months of the year, Biden’s press for the past four months has been as bad as — and for a time worse than — the coverage Trump received for the same four months of 2020."
Milbank suggests the results are alarming given that among other things, Trump presided over the world's worst response to COVID-19, embraced violent white supremacists, and refused to accept the results of a free and fair election, sparking the Capitol insurrection.
"We need a skeptical, independent press. But how about being partisans for democracy?" Milbank writes. "The country is in an existential struggle between self-governance and an authoritarian alternative. And we in the news media, collectively, have given equal, if not slightly more favorable, treatment to the authoritarians. ... Too many journalists are caught in a mindless neutrality between democracy and its saboteurs, between fact and fiction. It’s time to take a stand."
Following the deadly school shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan, prosecutors are taking the highly unusual step of prosecuting the shooter's parents, noting that they bought the gun, left it where he could use it, and ignored blatant warning signs that he was planning to inflict harm. But on CNN Friday, chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin — himself a former federal prosecutor — warned that the case could be extremely difficult to win for the government.
"I mean, how tough is it to go against the parents?" asked anchor Anderson Cooper.
"It's very rare that we prosecute people for omissions," said Toobin. "You know, this sometimes comes up with bartenders when they serve, like, really drunk people and they go out and have a — you know, kill somebody with a car. Those cases are very hard — hard to make. And, you know, as I was listening — I mean, this story is horrible. What the parents did is terrible. But, you know, the criminal law is about acts. And like, when did they commit a crime? Did they commit a crime by failing to take the gun out of the backpack? Did they commit a crime by saying 'don't do it' to their son? I don't know."
"Well, isn't it a crime — I mean, it's a crime to buy a gun and — and not for yourself, to give it to a 15-year-old, isn't it?" asked Cooper.
"No, it's not," said Toobin. "I don't think it is. You know, Michigan is a state where teenagers hunt with their parents all the time ... and Michigan is a state that's very pro-gun in its laws and so there are not rules about, you know, you have to secure a gun. There are not rules about, you know, who can have access to guns."
"I mean, look. I'm as horrified by this as anyone," added Toobin. "But, you know, the — the legal case against the parents is not a certain one."
Jeffrey Toobin explains why prosecuting Michigan school shooter's parents will be difficult www.youtube.com
Ron DeSantis' state 'army' isn't about protecting Florida — here's his 'disgusting' real plan: analysis
On Friday, writing for the Daily Beast, columnist Michael Daly outlined the real, "disgusting" purpose behind the effort by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to revive an old state "army" independent of the National Guard, which will answer only to him and cannot be mobilized by the federal government.
"Back at the start of World War II, the federal government authorized the states to form military units to fill in for the national guard, which had been incorporated into the U.S military to fight in Europe and the Pacific," wrote Daly. "The Florida Guard was formed in 1941. Its motto, 'Let Us Alone,' invoked fealty to Florida, not to America, even though this was a time that called for national unity against a common enemy. Those same three words had appeared on a flag that Florida’ first governor, William Moseley, flew at his inauguration in 1841. But, perhaps because Florida’s leading business people were actively engaged in trade with folks from beyond its borders, the state senate took exception to the words and never officially approved the flag."
Ultimately, wrote Daly, DeSantis has no public safety motivation to revive this army — particularly given his catastrophic response to the COVID-19 pandemic — and wants it instead for political power. The hint, he said, was the use of the "Let Us Alone" slogan on the podium at a speech on Thursday.
"DeSantis clearly did not decide to revive the state guard in response to a new variant that complicates a continuing national emergency that has left 786,000 Americans dead and hundreds of thousands more disabled," wrote Daly. "All that raises the question of what DeSantis intends to do with something so small as Ron’s Army ... The real mission of Ron’s Army is to appeal to that state-before-nation sentiment, along with the individual-before-feds feelings that fill the MAGA base. Ron’s Army sure looks like part of a long-term DeSantis plan to become the commander-in-chief of the whole country."
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