Early on, it was evident the Democrats’ “Build Back Better” plan had two objectives.
The first was to assuage the concerns of their voter base as blue state governors and bureaucrats were encouraged to weaponize pandemic lockdowns and other restrictions so as to decimate a booming economy and defeat President Trump. The not-so-implicit message: Whatever you lose now to help defeat Trump will be more than made whole under the Biden Administration.
Leaving nothing to chance, this reassuring message also helped to buttress the proposed “Build Back Better” plan’s second objective: maximally energizing the Democratic Party’s base. Though a bit nebulous on specifics, this second objective was brazenly promoted in Biden ads promising boatloads of other people’s money to specified Democratic constituencies.
In sum, it was less “Build Back Better” than it was “Bought Off Better.”
And, in conjunction with other maneuverings to rig the election ahead of time—such as Democratic election officials’ capricious, partisan changes to election laws and colluding with Mark Zuckerberg’s Center for Tech and Civic Life—this cynical “Bought Off Better” scheme worked. After entering office and providing an initial round of COVID relief and an infrastructure bill to whet the voracious appetite of their base for taxpayer money, the “Bought Off Better” bill came due; and duly passed the Democratic-controlled U.S. House.
Of particular interest is how, amid the trillion-dollar taxpayer funded boondoggles and tax cuts for rich blue state donors (can anyone say “dark money donors”?), there hangs the final, $1.67 billion shovelful of manure to top the grave of the corporate media’s credibility.
Per the New York Times:
The relief would come in the form of a payroll tax credit earmarked for local news organizations . . . [and] will provide $1.67 billion over the next five years for newspapers, websites, radio and TV stations, and other outlets that primarily cover local news. If eligible, they could reap up to $25,000 for each locally focused journalist they employ in the first year and $15,000 in each of the next four.
The bill also encompasses large chains (such as Gannett) “that include publications focused on local coverage.”
One can suggest this billion-dollar corporate media bailout is less crass than paying them by the editorial—but not by much.
Since the advent of social media, in a mutually reinforcing and vicious circle, the legacy media has been losing revenue and respect. The more the old-line corporate media acts as the Democratic Party’s carnival barkers, the more money and credibility they squander. As Catholic Vote notes, “an October 2021 Gallup poll found that 68% of Democrats trust the media, while only 31% of independents and 11% of Republicans do.”
And why doesn’t the corporate media recognize its existential dilemma and restore objectivity to journalism? “Polling around two major election cycles prior to 2020 found that only 7% of journalists identified as Republicans (2014) and 96% of political donations from people working in the field of journalism went toward the Democratic ticket (2016).”
Now, one can see how a slowly dwindling corporate media can toss away its final shards of credibility with impunity. Thanks to the Democrats’ “Bought Off Better” bill, the corporate media can have its leftist “accountability journalism” and your taxpayer funded billion-dollar bailout cake, too. As House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) put it: “This is Biden and Dems in Congress helping pay the reporters’ salaries who cover for them.”
But it is actually worse, given how it retroactively abets past misdeeds and lies. The almost universally leftist corporate media that colluded to sway an election by denying the existence of Hunter Biden’s laptop or claiming it was “Russian disinformation” is being rewarded by Democrats with your money for lying to you.
Of course, if the “Bought Off Better” bill is enacted, the Democrats’ corporate media-Praetorian guard will be rearmed in time for the 2022 midterms—and beyond. After all, if Democrats don’t have a viable corporate press in their pocket, their demands to censor dissent as “disinformation” will fall flat for a lack of more “trusted sources of information” that will mockingly fill the public square with state-sanctioned propaganda.
State-sanctioned propaganda and the corporate media’s integrity have their price. But you shouldn’t have to pay it.