I cease to be amazed at the teaching moments lost to the Democratic Party Leadership. The Republicans regularly, almost daily, make ridiculous lies and vile biased statements that can easily be exposed in a few sentences. Most go unanswered.
I’ll give Biden some credit for dabbling in this area, but it’s not nearly enough and although he’s much sharper than most think he’s not a great speaker. To give a very recent example, the Republicans are alleging that a recent shooter at a Christian Church was a transgender woman, with Murdoch running a N.Y. Post Headline, “Transgender Killer Targets Christian School”!
Opposing Republican Rhetoric is Essential
The statement is a textbook example of Republican strategy and marketing. It’s purpose is both diabolical and simple; to promote fear, ignorance, bias, and hatred — all the building blocks of fascism. They really don’t have a single positive argument for voting for them. But failure to refute their screed has a long-term negative effect along with an absorption potential.
Apparently, the Democratic Leadership is of the belief that it’s either beneath their dignity to respond or better politically not to respond, that the American people will understand the folly and evil intentions of such statements, and there’s no successful appealing to those that will actually believe them anyway.
This is not the case however, the MAGA crowd’s existence and Democratic defections being a long-term example of the damage done from insufficient responses to Republican propaganda over the years. Some readers may feel it’s not necessary to respond to everything the Republican’s argue or blather about. I agree some things can be ignored, but regular responses to some of their more outrageous rants is essential. The Leadership rarely makes the Republicans pay a price for their transgressions.
I was no fan of Bill Clinton, but he was a good speaker and held regular if not daily press conferences to refute Republican misstatements, setting up a situation where the reluctant media had to report what he had to say. Clinton’s goal was to respond quickly, preferable in the same news cycle. That way, even a right leaning major news media has to cover a response. He used this to great advantage during his first term. Not so much afterwards.
Clinton’s problems, besides his behavior towards Monica, were his strongly centrist views, which led him to coop or agree with many Republican themes, such as mass incarceration as a solution to the crime problem or attacking welfare recipients.
He also sought to inoculate himself from being perceived of as being too pro-black by whites with his campaign comments regarding some poorly chosen remarks made by activist/singer Sister Souljah.
Example of a Teaching Moment
Given Biden’s limited loquaciousness, perhaps his press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre can handle some of the responses if she’s up to it, but the idea is to find the best ways to penetrate media bias. Maybe some of the better speaking Democrats can attend the Press Conferences and speak? The idea being to drum up some excitement, controversy and interest in these teaching moments, which also encourages media coverage. I’m no expert in these matters, but even I can think of ways it can be used to both embarrass the Republicans and expose their ignorance or bias. I would get the best speaking representatives available to hold up an image of the headline saying:
“This was Rupert Murdoch’s recent N.Y. Post headline. Now I’m sure if I analyzed the last two thousand + mass shootings, I would find some mass shootings that were done by people that may have once voted Democratic and some that voted Republican.
Does that mean the headline of my newspaper should be ‘Republican killer targets Christian school?’ Of course not. Also analyzing the last 2000 mass shooting, we find one or 2 that were transgender. So what are Republicans after with such headlines? Perhaps you should ask them?”
This type of strategy works. It has been used before in politics. It can be both informative and attention grabbing. One caveat on this kind of example is that it’s not yet known if the school has an openly anti-transgender approach under which they tried to convert the alleged killer back to a boy, or something along those lines. You’d get destroyed with a statement like the one above for looking like you support the killings. So, I wouldn’t rush into anything before I was familiar with all the circumstances in a case like this.
Truth on Trial
But many other such potential teaching moments on numerous topics are presented to us almost daily by Republicans. Fail to seize the moment and they will fade into people’s memories and Republican lies can contaminate and mislead more and more Americans. Truth is on trial in America, and has been since Trump led the way backward, causing untold damage to the way many of us view the government and democracy.
(Note on the poll below, I did not use the word propaganda because it’s meaning over the years, once more neutral, is today mainly associated with negative and misleading messaging.)