Chuck Todd and colleagues enabled Boehner

John Boehner at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference

John Boehner at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference

After announcing his resignation from Congress, Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner told John Dickerson of CBS“Face the Nation” that we should “beware of false prophets” from the Republican Party who promise things that they know can’t happen in our current government, such as repealing the Affordable Care Act. Most people think that Boehner was referring to Republican U.S. Senator Rafael “Ted” Cruz, among others. However, the corporate mainstream media are giving John Boehner a pass by portraying Boehner as the adult in the room who was unable to manage an unruly Republican right wing, when in fact Boehner was part of the GOP’s anti-government anarchy. As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said upon hearing the news of Boehner’s resignation, the Republican Party is “a political party at war with its own government.”

The big story that we haven’t heard enough during the past seven years is the story of how the Republican Party’s primary governing principle has been to sit on the sidelines lobbing phony anti-government grenades, even as they control both Houses of Congress. Why haven’t we heard more about this from the mainstream corporate media? Remember what Chuck Todd of NBC News (now host of “Meet the Press”) said in 2013 about GOP Affordable Care Act lies: it’s not the media’s job to identify Republican big lies (which Todd called “stuff that the Republicans have successfully messaged”), but rather, it’s the job of President Obama and the Democrats to “sell” the truth. In other words, the mainstream media merely report what each side does (often giving an uncritical platform to Republican mouthpieces), without any analysis as to how false it is on the Republican side.

The GOP has created one fake conspiracy after another to attack not just Democrats but government itself. These conspiracies include: the Birth Certificate, Fast and Furious, Solyndra, IRS, Czars, FEMA camps, Benghazi (now Congress’ longest special investigation ever), Executive orders, emails, Planned Parenthood, etc. However, instead of reporting that these are primarily groundless GOP conspiracies, the MSM lazily (or worse, with a pro-Republican bias) pass them on as real news, and then focus their own reporting and questioning on such fake stories. Many of these conspiracies have been pushed in the House of Representatives under Speaker John Boehner’s watch.

The Republicans’ anti-government attitude is easily identifiable, and thus not surprising to us at this point. Indeed, Ronald Reagan demonstrated this attitude in his 1981 inaugural address, and George W. Bush took it to its logical conclusion with his Hurricane Katrina inaction. What is shocking, however, is mainstream media complicity in reporting the Republicans’ War On Government phony talking points as real facts, equal to measurable facts such as the rate of inflation, unemployment or economic growth. Likewise, the MSM have treated the Republicans’ actions taken based on their phony conspiracy theories, including kangaroo hearings, government shutdowns, fiscal cliffs and debt ceiling threats (again, under Boehner’s watch), as equivalent to the Democrats’ efforts to make government work, by building roads, providing health insurance reform, stimulating the economy out of the Bush Great Recession, proposing jobs bills, or even just keeping the federal government open.

The result is that the playing field of political discourse has been tilted to the point where Speaker Boehner gets to say, falsely, that he’s been acting responsibly and it’s just his right wing flank that has not. But remember that John Boehner, as perhaps the ultimate “false prophet,” has tried to sue President Obama for doing his job, and received the authorization of all but five Republican U.S. House members to do so. Indeed, just a couple of weeks ago, Boehner threatened another lawsuit against President Obama.

Once again, the corporate mainstream media have failed to do their job, and we have to work harder to bypass them.

Photo by Mark Taylor, used under Creative Commons license.

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