Guest: Press Run's Eric Boehlert; Also: Historic Biden noms at EPA, Interior; Record nor'easter; Conservative Steve Schmidt now a Dem...
By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2020, 8:13pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: His days left in office only seem like years, but for Donald Trump, they are quickly waning. Trumpism, however, among the completely captured and off-the-rails Republican Party, is doing anything but. Despite the very real danger that continues to pose to the nation --- measured by hundreds of thousands of lives lost when it comes to the worsening COVID crisis, and American democracy itself when it comes to the GOP's evidence-free claims of a "stolen" 2020 election --- the corporate media continue to downplay and "both sides" the root of the nation's massive problems, my guest argues today. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

But first up today, a few quick late breaking news items. Desi Doyen joins us for coverage of the massive snowstorm smashing records and wreaking havoc across a huge swath of the Northeast today, as well as two reported and very important climate-related Joe Biden cabinet nominations. The first is North Carolina's chief climate regulator Michael Regan, now reportedly tapped as the first African-American EPA Administrator. And the second is Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico, who would be the first native American Secretary of the Interior Department. Desi explains why the two landmark appointments appear to be very good news --- even if the latter cuts very close to the Democrats' dangerously thin majority in the new Congress.

Then, we're joined by longtime political media analyst and author ERIC BOEHLERT, publisher of Press Run, where he has been covering, of late, what he describes as the "media's defining failure of 2020". That includes its "bogus Both Sides narrative" on the Republican Party's utter failure to respond to the COVID crisis with a long-overdue emergency relief bill for struggling Americans and an economy on the brink of disaster, as well as madness displayed by the more than 100 Congressional GOPers who recently signed on to indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's failed SCOTUS attempt to throw out the votes of 20 million Americans in four states in order to steal the election for Donald Trump.

On those two issues of serious, existential denialism, as Boehlert detailed in a recent column, "the press has no idea how to cover it."

"In terms of election denialism, COVID fantasies, the Republican Party is a pro-pandemic party, the Republican Party is an anti-democratic party," he argues. He cites mainstream corporate media coverage which fails to clearly explain these points to the American people, as they refer instead to "Washington" being broken and "Congress" failing to do more. The result, he notes, can be found in a recent poll with a plurality of Americans blaming Nancy Pelosi for the failure to pass a new COVID relief bill, despite the Democrats passage of a $3 trillion bill in the House last Spring, and a Republican Senate led by Mitch McConnell who refused to even negotiate at all until very recently, much less allow it to come up for a vote.

"The corrupt, insane behavior, even if we just look at this election nonsense...Right after the election, I wrote about how Politico was saying, 'This is all just performance art. Republicans don't believe that Trump wants to steal the election, they're just letting him blow off some steam...everyone just calm down.' We've been told by the beltway press to calm down for four years, and the beltway press has been wrong every single time."

"CNN did a report saying, 'Republicans had no choice but to go along with Trump' as he tried to overturn election results 'because Trump controls the base,' says Boehlert. "It's all viewed as this game. No one was laughing last week when more than 100 members of Congress signed on to a lawsuit that wanted to throw out 20 million votes."

"Those 100-plus Republican members of Congress signing off on that obliterated, forever, this narrative that the press has held onto for four years that the Republican Party is privately very concerned about Trump," he argues. "They can't sleep at night because of his tweets, and gosh, they can't say it publicly. And when Trump leaves everything will be fine. Baloney! That is garbage. This is going to define the next four years. And how the press treats this radical, dangerous political party over the next four years is going to be a really big story."

He (and I) have much more to say on all of that, but before we finish up today, there is one more idea I wanted to get his thoughts on. Longtime conservative Republican strategist and John McCain's 2008 campaign manager Steve Schmidt this week announced he was joining the Democratic Party. Schmidt left the GOP some time ago, fed up with their increasing radicalism and Trump lunacy. He became an independent and helped to found The Lincoln Project which created killer videos attacking Trump and the GOP alike during the run-up to the November election (and beyond). But a number of Democrats and progressives have expressed concerns about longtime Republican "Never Trumpers" and their political influence on the party as they join forces with Democrats and what that might mean for the party's progressive future.

We share Schmidt's announcement on the show today, explaining some of the reasons for his decision to become a Democrat, and get Boehlert's take on whether this is a positive sign or troubling omen for the Democratic Party as the Biden Administration prepares to take office...

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