Call A Spade A Bloody Shovel!

As I have mentioned before, 43 states are trying to quickly shove through over 250 bills that can only be labeled ‘voter suppression’ before the next election in hopes of reducing the number of people who are able to vote.  It is unconscionable and clearly against the best interests of this country, but what’s new?  The media, however, is refusing to call it what it is:  voter suppression, the attempt to rob us of our voice, our choice.  Eric Boehlert writes a daily newsletter, Press Run, calling the press to account when they let us down, and his piece this morning deals with how the press is letting us down … again.  I fully support a free press, but frankly they need to be held accountable.


No more word games — it’s GOP “voter suppression,” period.

Tell it like it is

eric-boehlertEric Boehlert   March 17, 2021

Scrambling in the wake of Joe Biden’s seven-million vote victory in November, Republicans continue to mount a powerful and unapologetic campaign to suppress voting. With so many state legislatures under GOP control, Republicans are sponsoring more than 250 bills aimed at drastically reducing ballot access in coming years. It’s being done under the phony banner of “election security.” After 2020, Republicans don’t want lots of people voting, especially lots of Black people. So far, the media’s failing to accurately label the crisis that’s unfolding.

The avalanche of bills aim to shorten the early voting period, reduce the number of hours that people can vote on Election Day, eliminate drive-through voting centers, create stricter deadlines for returning absentee ballots, block early voting on Sunday, limit ballot drop boxes, restrict mail-in voting —basically any possible initiative Republicans can think of that would suppress the vote. The obvious implication is that Republicans understand their chances of winning elections decrease when voter turnout increases. And 2020 shattered American records for voter participation. It all represents a massive attempt to roll back democracy.

And it’s clearly voter suppression, which is defined as, “any legal or extralegal measure or strategy whose purpose or practical effect is to reduce voting.”

The good news is we’ve seen lots of in-depth, aggressive reporting from various news outlets on the GOP’s plan to rewrite election rules in this country. The bad news is that message is getting muted by refusing to call this strategy what it is — voter suppression. The press prefers to frame the GOP’s war on democracy as another Both Sides, partisan dust-up over “voting restrictions.” That plays right into the hands of Republicans.

“The fact that we are about to be hit with a tidal wave of voter suppression legislation by Republican legislatures throughout the country is the most under reported story right now,” Democratic election attorney Mark Elias recently tweeted. “The media is unequipped to cover this in clear moral terms and instead prefers to both sides it.”

There’s a deliberate media movement underway to not use the clear, accurate language to describe Republican efforts to suppress the vote, just like there was a deliberate media movement to not accurately describe Trump as a “liar” for four years. (Instead, he pushed “falsehoods” and “exaggerations.”) The media erected guardrails against calling Trump and his followers liars. Now we’re seeing the same word games employed to avoid “voter suppression.”

A recent CNN headline announced, “Arizona Republican Lawmakers Join GOP Efforts to Target Voting, With Nearly Two Dozen Restrictive Voting Measures.” Neither the headline nor the article used the phrase “voter suppression” used to describe the GOP’s obvious attempt at voter suppression. Yet the URL for the CNN report did make that reference: “politics/arizona-republicans-voter-suppression-bills/.” Meaning, inside the CNN newsroom, it’s common knowledge Republicans are passing “voter suppression bills.” But CNN reporters aren’t using that language in their accounts.

Virtually every major news organization is guilty of the same misstep:

• “Republicans Advance More Than 100 Bills That Would Restrict Voting in Wake of Trump’s Defeat” (NBC News)

• “State GOP Lawmakers Propose Flurry of Voting Restrictions to Placate Trump Supporters, Spurring Fears of a Backlash” (Washington Post)

• “Republican-Led Legislatures in Dozens of States Are Moving to Change Election Laws in Ways That Could Make it Harder to Vote” (NPR)

An Associated Press headline recently announced, “Critics: GOP Measures Target Black Voter Turnout in Georgia.” But why use the  “critics” framing? Why can’t the AP simply treat as fact what is obviously factual — Republicans are pushing voter laws in Georgia specifically designed to suppress the Black vote.

The Washington Post failed in the same way recently: “A GOP Lawmaker Says The ‘Quality’ of a Vote Matters. Critics Say that’s ‘Straight out of Jim Crow.’” That is straight out of Jim Crow. The Post doesn’t need to hide behind “critics” to make that point.

What’s driving the media hesitation? Maybe it’s because “voter suppression” sounds un-American. It sounds undemocratic, and it sounds like advocates don’t support free and fair elections in this country. It’s much easier, and more polite, to use the watered down “voter restriction” description. Voter “restrictions” sound somewhat plausible or defensible. “Suppression” sounds illegal.

Voter suppression has a dark history in this country as a tool used to deter Black Americans and other minorities from voting, and from the media’s perspective it’s not something mainstream politicians endorse. The press very much wants to portray the GOP simply as a center-right party.

But words matter, especially when dealing with today’s radical and dangerous Republican Party. America learned that painful lesson during the Trump years when the Beltway media played senseless semantics games in order to obscure the truth about the GOP.

That truth was confirmed last winter when nearly 150 Republican members of Congress signed an amicus brief supporting a extreme lawsuit that urged the Supreme Court to throw out tens of millions of legitimate, legally cast votes, in order to clear a path for a bogus Trump victory. Lying about presidential election results is now, without question, a mainstream Republican talking point. As is the Big Lie about how the U.S. election system today is fraught with fraud, which requires legislative fixes in the form of voter suppression initiatives.

The media fell down covering the Big Lie last winter. And now it’s falling down with the voter suppression challenge.

26 thoughts on “Call A Spade A Bloody Shovel!

  1. Aw, Jill, the media isn’t avoiding the truth, they are simply prevaricating–talk8ng around the truth. It attracts more readers, or listeners. If they tell it the way it really is, only one side will buy the paper. If they equivocate, they make more money. They are in business to make money, as you know. Their shareholders would not be happy if they were not trying their best to make money. So what if most of their shareholders don’t want persons of colour to vote. That is just a coincidence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the media plays whatever song plays the best, will sell ad copy, etc., but … it seems to me that if we are to continue to have and support a ‘free press’, then they have a responsibility to report facts, not opinion unless it is labeled as such, and to give us an unbiased view. Of late, the press seems to be somewhat cowardly, intimidated by elements that … what … pay their way?

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      • Once upon a time I think the media was as honest as it editors and publishers would allow it to be, or as auditory or visually honest as radio and television could be. But they they discovered they could turn certain minds in certain directions. That is the power of the media. They can make dark light. And we also know, Power corrupts! Editors and publishers and announcers and broadcasters may want to be honest, but they honestly want their jobs too. Ethics begins to be eroded. If they don’t toe the ownership line, they get replaced by someone who will. Their families suffer. They suffer.
        This is why I like the simple life. I cannot suffer. No one can buy me. They can piss me off, they can kill me if they must, but they cannot buy me. If I am to be sold, it is me who controls the transaction.
        HMMMMM. Not sure where those last few sentences snuck in from. I think my ego needed some stroking, lol.
        Anyways, on your blog, you are owner, writer, publisher. You decide your content, and your context. Fortunately Word Press allows all its bloggers this freedom. But they could change that in an instant if they so chose. And all we could do is disappear.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Those are all good points, and all quite true. There’s another element to consider too, though, and that is that social media has taken much of the profitability from the press. Whereas at one time almost every family subscribed to at least one major newspaper, now most of us get all our news from free websites. I actually do pay for three sites so that I have unlimited access, but most don’t. Why, as my late ex-husband used to say, buy the cow when you can get the milk for free. So, they rely more than ever on keeping their advertisers, and those advertisers are fickle … they go where the people are going. So, the various media outlets cater to the whims of the majority of their readers or attempt not to ruffle any feathers that might cost them advertisers/revenue. Yes, if WordPress starts censuring, I will take my blog elsewhere. I’ll still have a voice, but perhaps not as loud of a voice.

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          • Pretty much, though I can see why your ex-husband is an ex. You crossed him out–X–for good reason, though I am sure that is just one tiny piece of it.
            As for newspapers, I do not subscribe to any, I cannot afford them. Maybe if I gave up my Internet connection I could, but that would be the hair-brooch/pocketwatch chain story all over again. I am not really a news person. Gail watches the news religiously, twice a day. I watch the evening news with her, but I don’t pay it much attention. I forget most of it half an hour later.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Yeah, that among other things, such as his belief that a wife belongs in the kitchen, not in an office or grad school.

              I don’t watch television news … don’t watch television, period … but I am a news addict otherwise from the time I wake in the morning until I turn the light out the next morning!

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing!!.. there is so much technology out there that one does not need to depend on one source… the news media can only do so much (the politicians will generally ignore it, concentrating on the voters that put them in office). it is up to the people to make the changes, to move from “talking the talk” to “walking the walk”…“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” (Barack Obama)… 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I fully agree with you, Dutch, but the harsh reality is that about 75% of this nation DO rely on a single source, and for about 45%, that source is Fox ‘News’. The mainstream media must do a better job of reporting facts and truths, not sugar-coating issues. You’re so right … it is up to We the People to hold them accountable, to demand they call a spade a spade (or a bloody shovel, as my friend Mary taught me!). President Obama was one wise man, as the quote shows. And thanks, my friend, for an uplifting Irish saying!

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      • I suspect that the majority, if not all, of the 75% will seek out a news source that caters to their way of thinking, their ideology… and that goes for all ideologies, not just conservatives.. 🙂

        If one relies on a local source (instead of browsing the various media on the internet, etc) and one lives in a area of a closed minded ideology (away from the larger cities perhaps), one will receive news, etc that will most likely cater to that ideology…. 🙂

        That being said, for a politician or a news source to survive in a given ideological environment, they must cater to that environment, UNLESS someone comes along and convinces those living in that environment to be more open minded… 🙂

        In short, while it is fine to voice ones’ thoughts to the media and politicians, in the end, if one wants change it is the “foundation”, the people, who one needs to deal with…. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, that’s just it … rather than looking for facts, they seek the news source that tells them what they want to hear, what comforts them and convinces them that their beliefs are correct.

          Politicians and the media seem to ‘mold’ people … and it’s a statement about our own education system that people don’t question, don’t challenge. There was a time that I thought the advent and expansion of the Internet and social media would expand people’s views, broaden their horizons, with so much information right at the tips of our fingers. Instead, it has done the opposite, for there is more false ‘information’ out there than facts, and an audience hungry for the rhetoric, the conspiracy theories, the lies. Yes, change must come from within, from the people, and they have to want to change. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Sigh.

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  3. Very good point, Jill: the media ought to speak the truth, yet they are likely also trying to be guarded about the way they present words/headlines in order to avoid accusations of Yellow Journalism (or libel/defamation lawsuits), no?

    Stay safe,
    -Shira

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill, there are seventeen Congressional heroes in the Republican Party. They are the ones who voted to impeach or convict the seditious former president. For the risk they knowingly took, they have received death threats and have been censured by their states’ Republican Parties. The 150 House members who sided with the seditious former president only to see the court case tossed, are the ones whose motivations should be questioned.

    Quite simply, the seditious former president planned and staged a wide-scale voter fraud accusation for over six months. What he did was not a surprise because his ego cannot tolerate losing. It should be noted his five biographers predicted in January, 2017 that Trump would claim a lost election was stolen. That was almost four years ago. I knew he would do it September and wrote about it and I was just repeating what I read.

    This former president has been unable to prove his claims in court winning one more court case than a dead man losing over sixty. That is about as bad a losing streak as anyone could achieve. Yet, his followers believe his BS. These 150 Congress people believe his BS. Even Trump believes his own BS. That shows the incredible lack of judgment that borders on the criminal.

    Right now, there are several Republican Congressional people who are trying to down play January 6. That is unforgivable in this independent voter’s view. It means they care more about the most corrupt and deceitful president in my lifetime than our country. Remember their names – Ron Johnson, Louie Gohmert, Josh Hawley, Matt Gaetz, etc. and ask them why?

    Keith

    Liked by 4 people

    • I agree with all you say, Keith. I was stunned this evening when I read that 12 members of the House voted against giving the Congressional Gold Medal to honour to Capitol Police for protecting members of Congress during the January 6th attack on the Capitol and Congress. Their reason? They didn’t like that term “insurrection”. What the hell else would you call it? Needless to say, among the 12 who voted against the measure were Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Matt Gaetz. And then you’ve got the idiot Ron Johnson who says he wasn’t afraid but he might have been if the insurrectionists (domestic terrorists) had been Black! I often wonder what alternative universe I have awakened in.

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      • Jill, I saw that. Johnson is getting called on the carpet for his racist remarks and should be. As for those twelve who do not like the word “insurrection,” I have a problem that the former president of the United States is corrupt, deceitful and seditious. Call me crazy that way. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Johnson is up for re-election next year … I hope the people of Wisconsin remember this period and kick him out. Yep, I’m with you on that one, my friend. The former guy is guilty of so much that I could write a book … maybe I will!

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Oklahoma has 43 bills in house now that are ALL aimed at voter suppression. We also have the lovely HJR1027 which makes performing an abortion a felony, and defines a fetus as “from the moment of conception a fetus shall be named a person for the purposes of this bill, and any other bills set forth by the….”…how’s that for enlightened people?

    Liked by 3 people

      • exactly. I let my idiot state rep know I would immediately contact the aclu and begin a civil rights violation lawsuit against both him personally and the state should he vote to approve this pile of crap bill. said HIS religion can have zero bearing on the laws.

        Liked by 1 person

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