In the weeks before the 2020 election, when it was becoming pretty clear even to the most superstitious and traumatized Democrat that Joe Biden was headed for victory, the journalists of #thistown began to worry. People you’ve likely read or heard of or watched were concerned about what a Trump loss would mean for their career. That was the talk of the town. Sure, Donald Trump had been a disaster for the country, but what would they do after he left the White House?
Even while Trump claimed journalists were enemies of the people, he was a gravy train for news outlets, which have seen ratings and clicks decline 30-45% since Trump left office.
Trump wasn’t just “a gravy train,” says one industry insider. “It’s also juxtaposed to the most boring administration in modern history. You go from a circus with flaming chainsaws to … what? An old man watching his dog?”
The Biden administration is “opaque.” It sticks on-message and PR people argue with reporters over slight differences in wording. That’s business as usual in Washington (my $0.02: also in tech journalism), but it’s jarring for young journalists who came of age covering Trump. Like Olivia Nuzzi, who was 21 when she landed her first 1:1 interview with Trump, is now 28 — she says she has spent most of her adult life covering him.
Says one journalist, “There’s a sense that Biden’s position is fragile and that he has to be protected, that any unkind gaze might knock him over—which plays into every right-wing stereotype,”
Says another: “I don’t know that there’s been a president who’s been so protected and wrapped in so many layers of wool to keep him away from anything remotely approaching an adversarial interview…. Why expose him to any risk? He’s old, he’s lost a few steps. It’s worked for them so far.”
Joe Biden’s endorsement of right to repair goes beyond farm equipment to include electronics — which is a ”huge fucking deal,” says Cory. And it’s part of a larger antimonopoly agenda.
The potential [antimonopoly] coalition is massive, but it needs a name. It’s not enough to be antimonopoly. It has to stand for something.…
That something can’t be “competition.” Competition on its own is perfectly capable of being terrible. Think of ad-tech companies who say privacy measures are “anticompetitive.” We don’t want competition for the most efficient human rights abuses.
A far better goal is “self-determination” – the right for individuals and communities to make up their own minds about how they work and live, based on democratic principles rather than corporate fiat.
That would be a fine position indeed for the Democratic Party to stake out. As Teachout writes, “[Democrats once] stood for workers and the people who produced things, and against the middlemen who sought to steal value and control industry. They understood that anti-monopoly laws were partly about keeping prices down—but also about preserving equality and dignity, and making sure that everyone who contributed to the production of goods and services got a fair cut.”
Matt Taibbi: Garcia-Martinez was effectively blacklisted as a misogynist for a single paragraph taken out of context, yet Dr Dre sits on the Apple board.
On a visit to Europe to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war, Donald Trump insisted to his then chief of staff, John Kelly: “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.”
Cory Doctorow: The Biden Administration orders an end to “surprise billing” shenanigans that let healthcare providers bill you — sometimes vast sums — despite your having insurance. But without legal reform, the next President could reverse it.
Facebook wants to be your Mommy. Your abusive, alcoholic Mommy.