Democrats and members of the media have quickly abandoned President-elect Joe Biden’s push for a “healed” and “united” country.
Biden has pushed a message of unity and healing since being declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election – from his tweets to his acceptance speech. The former vice-president’s inauguration theme, in fact, is “America United,” and the media has propped up the incoming president and his administration with puff pieces and declarations that his team will be “delightfully boring.”
Biden’s acceptance speech in November was hailed by many as a much-needed call to overtake division within America. The New York Times wrote that Biden “renewed his promise to be a president for all Americans in a polarized time” and CNN’s chief political analyst Gloria Borger said that it “was a presidential address, even kind of a fireside chat,” among others.
Journalist Megyn Kelly was quick to condemn those who were “sanctimoniously demanding ‘civility’” after spending years attacking Trump’s supporters – and it seems this call for civility has not lasted long, with renewed calls for justice and cancellations after some of Trump’s supporters rioted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Forbes Media published a Jan. 7 opinion piece written by Randall Lane, chief content officer and editor of the magazine, explaining “Why we’re holding those who lied for Trump accountable.” The op-ed called for creating “repercussions for those who don’t follow the civic norms.”
“Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie,” Lane declared. “We’re going to scrutinize, double-check, investigate with the same skepticism we’d approach a Trump tweet. Want to ensure the world’s biggest business media brand approaches you as a potential funnel of disinformation? Then hire away.”
The op-ed prompted Forbes Media’s chairman and CEO Steve Forbes to come out and defend it. Forbes said the company believes “in diversity of opinion” and said he, personally, does not agree with Lane’s push to blacklist certain Trump supporters, Fox News reported.
Similarly, some media pundits have raised rallying cries against Republicans and the president’s supporters. MSNBC host Joy Reid and Nicolle Wallace pondered how the Republican Party can go about a “de-Baathification” process on Wednesday night.
“During de-Baathification in 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq ordered that all public-sector workers associated with the party were to be stripped of their jobs and banned from future public-sector employment. That transition government also offered rewards for information leading to ‘the capture of senior members of the Baath party and individuals complicit in the crimes of the former regime,’” an article from The Federalist pointed out.
I can feel the healing! pic.twitter.com/XOcNhjW0Vi
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) January 14, 2021
CNN’s Don Lemon took a more direct approach and declared that anyone who voted from Trump is part of the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) and the Capitol rioters, as host Chris Cuomo played along.
“You’re in the crowd who voted for Trump,” Lemon said after Cuomo played the role of a Republican protesting to his commentary. “If you voted for Trump you voted for the person who the Klan supported. You voted for the person who Nazis support. You voted for the person who the alt-right supports. That’s the crowd that you are in. You voted for the person who incited a crowd to go into the Capitol and potentially take the lives of lawmakers. Took the lives of police officers. Took the lives of innocent lives who were there on the Capitol that day.
New York Times’ opinion columnist Paul Krugman also pushed blame on the entire Republican Party, declaring that the Capitol riot “was decades in the making.” Krugman wrote that “G.O.P. cynics have been coddling crazies for a long time” and asserted that the “putsch” is because “one of our major political parties has become willing to tolerate and, indeed, feed right-wing political paranoia.”
Conservative commentator and podcast host Ben Shapiro pointed out the double standards in Thursday’s Politico Playbook newsletter. He wrote that “unity looks a lot like ‘sign onto our agenda, or be lumped in with the Capitol rioters.’”
“Conservatives see the game,” Shapiro added. “It doesn’t matter whether you held your nose when voting for Trump; it doesn’t matter if you denounced his prevarications about a ‘stolen election’ … If you supported Trump in any way, you were at least partially culpable, the argument goes. It’s not just Trump who deserves vitriol — it’s all 74 million people who voted for him.”
Shapiro pointed out some Democrats who have made comments that might go against Biden’s push for a “united nation.” Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for one, suggested that Southern states are “oppressed” and must be “liberated.”
Ocasio-Cortez argued during a livestream on Tuesday that Democrats’ wins in Georgia prove that “southern states are not red states” but rather “suppressed states.”
“Which means the only way that our country’s going to heal is through the actual liberation of southern states,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “The actual liberation of the poor, the actual liberation of working people from economic, social, and racial oppression. That’s the only way.”