Get me rewrite!
Congrats to whatever press agent sold Pence's bullshit to the Prestige Media
When I talk about the Prestige Media and how full of shit they are, it’s usually in the context of the laughably egregious Bothsider content ably satirized by the New York Times Pitchbot. And when I say “Bothsider,” I don’t just mean the way that, after every Republican malfeasance, the Prestige Media inevitably advances a Democratic equivalent — however puny and insubstantial in comparison — to even things out (e.g., statistics show petty crime prosecutions unfairly target black people? BUT I HAVE TO WAIT AN EXTRA 20 SECONDS TO GET DETERGENT AT WALGREENS, LIBTARD!); I also, and more frequently, mean the way the Prestige Media treat conservatives like little children who can’t possibly be held to the same adult standards as liberals, and thus need a boost so everything will be even-steven, as with the hilarious recent Washington Post thumbsucker about how unfairly liberal women are treating MAGA men by not fucking them.
Anyone can spot these absurdities; the only reason to pretend you don’t is if your livelihood depends on pretending you don’t see them — that is, if you work in Prestige Media. And they’re very good at pretending! Thus you have a bunch of intelligent kibitzers, waving evidence and yelling at the Prestige Media, HEY GUYS THE NEW SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE IS A CHRISTIAN NATIONALIST! while the manicured news professionals they’re yelling at pretend not to hear, and talk to TV cameras about how nice it is that Speaker “Mike” Johnson loves Jesus.
In my opinion, this is how the Prestige Media abets the decades-long media-discrediting work of conservatives. It’s like Kenneth Roth said about the recent far-right victory in The Netherlands: “Centrist parties in the Netherlands thought they could attract right-leaning voters by adopting the far right’s positions on immigration, etc. Instead, they legitimized the far right, contributed to its unexpected surge in the recent election.”
In the same way, when the Prestige Media keeps giving unearned slack to the fascists, it makes fascism look normal — and the occasional editorials the Prestige Media run that say Trump Is A Very Bad Man are dismissed as bullshit, because the readers see fascists like Trump treated like a normal (if slightly outrageous) American politician every day in the papers.
But there’s another, more old-fashioned brand of bullshit that sort of intersects with Bothsiderism, but mainly has to do with public relations and the way flacks pimp their clients as Men of Honor with some transparent nonsense that papers pick up because it’s sensational enough that their readers might buy it, and we got a great example of it this week.
I give you this account — “as described to ABC News” by unnamed sources, we are assured — including “previously-undisclosed anecdotes and details” that former Vice-President Mike Pence revealed to special counsel Jack Smith under questioning:
…the sources said, with the pressure on Pence mounting, he concluded on Christmas Eve — just for a moment — that he would follow Trump's suggestion and let someone else preside over the proceedings on Jan. 6, writing in his notes that doing otherwise would be “too hurtful to my friend.” [“Friend” presumed, but not established, to be Trump]
“Not feeling like I should attend electoral count,” Pence wrote in his notes in late December. “Too many questions, too many doubts, too hurtful to my friend. Therefore I'm not going to participate in certification of election.”
Then, sitting across the table from his son, a Marine, while on vacation in Colorado, his son said to him, “Dad, you took the same oath I took” — it was “an oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Pence recalled to Smith's investigators, sources said.
That’s when Pence decided he would be at the Capitol on Jan. 6 after all, according to the sources.
OK, I can’t be the only one whose bullshit detector pinged so hard the case broke.
The Bothsider aspect of this is clear enough: See, here is a good conservative Republican, the kind who might briefly falter in their duty but will inevitably be brought into line by his Marine son! It’s like American Sniper, only in reverse! And we may infer that there are many, many conservative Americans like this who, though the overwhelming majority of them follow the overtly fascist Trump now, will soon be brought back into line by some Sheepdog relative in the military, and thus save the country!
But Occam’s Razor, common sense, and long experience of American conservative “ethics” (particularly as practiced by the ones who scream the most about Jesus), will tell you different.
As suggested in my earlier sketch, Pence had a simple choice when it came to Tubby’s Electoral College scheme: He could count on the U.S. federal government to protect him — or he could count on Donald Trump.
As I have noted before, the people who still cling to Trump are human waste — neo-Nazis, Roger Stone (but I repeat myself), career burnouts like Kellyanne Conway, buffoons like Steve Bannon, etc. They’re desperados with nothing left to lose.
Pence, OTOH, is establishment all the way. Also he knew if he went along Trump would soon cut him lose, and perhaps kill him.
It’s important to remember that, in our pathetic modern media environment, we don’t just have the relatively new problem of outright Nazis and the fancy-pants J-school dipshits who have been trained to overcome the gag reflex a normal person would experience when dealing with them; we also have press agents, flacks, advance men, and other experts trained in the ancient art of press management, doing what they have always done and rejoicing that this whole new sluice for bullshit has opened up that makes it even easier for them to get their clients’ sob stories in the paper. So congratulations to whoever got paid to make Mike Pence look like someone who engaged in a moral struggle and came out on the side of the angels, rather than like some schnook who (to paraphrase Lenny Bruce) hauled ass to save his ass. We who have free souls, it touches us not!