Proceed With Caution
Note: This started as a comment, but obviously got a bit long.
I was thrilled with the program “Rising” when it first debuted, and I still agree with their takes on some issues (mostly on the state of the country and most of their coverage on Bernie), but I have been becoming more and more wary of some things I am seeing there. This post is just a reminder not to let our guard down just because we hear something good about Bernie more often on this program than in the rest of mass media. It can be quite easy to be lulled into thinking we are in a safe place after so much neglect and outright hatred.
Both Krystal and Saagar have talked about coming from other outlets that limited what they could talk about or how they talk about things or people. I do not know if they actually fail to see how they are still being limited in this new venue or if they do know and just accept it while trying to portray themselves as being free of such limitations.
The “print” version of <u>The Hill</u> is certainly no friend of Bernie’s or of class struggle or M4A. However, I can see the outlet trying to cover both sides of the bet just in case a progressive does win the presidential election and/or more progressives come into power.
There are multiple examples of Krystal and Saagar not pushing back on a guest’s narrative and of them failing to ask the right questions or being dismissive of someone’s views (including some people with positive Bernie views). However, I will focus on just one issue to clarify my point: that of impeachment.
Admittedly, I was very much on the fence when the first talk about impeachment began to surface. I also bought into a lot of the arguments that it would energize Trump’s base and that the Senate will never vote to find Trump guilty much less remove him from office. I have since come to see this in a different light so I want to focus on my issues with “Rising” on this topic as an example of their less than frank coverage of some issues.
There are basically two arguments that Krystal and Saagar use against impeachment.
The first is a question that Krystal repeatedly raises, “Is this the hill that Democrats want to die on?” The idea that Representatives doing their job which is to protect the Constitution is not “the hill to die on” is a barren one. Win or lose, at least they will have done their job, and even if they lose the battle that doesn’t mean that they will have lost the war. A wound needs to be exposed to air in order to heal. Just showing that many of the Republicans (and some Democrats) in this current Congress are bereft of integrity and chose to uphold Trump over the Constitution and even their own party principles is well worth it.
The Ukraine case is about election interference, yet the hosts of “Rising” and many of their guests seem to think waiting for an election to get rid of Trump is preferable . . . ignoring the fact that he is already interfering with the process. Not calling him out on the actions he has already done just means he will do more of it. In fact, Ukraine is not the only country Trump has been seeking election help from according to other reports (see coverage on Australia and Italy and Pompeo’s visits).
Keep in mind that the Ukraine solicitations didn’t just spring up during the July 25 call. This has been a long running campaign to get the information Trump wants. The fact that he was looking for oppo research rather than corruption is borne out by the fact that he didn’t use the legal resources available to him.
A recent “Rising” episode had Chris Hedges on the show. The questions centered around the talking point about an “elite” (Biden) being attacked was the impetus of the impeachment probe. While Hedges does believe that the elitism is an issue it is not the whole story, but the right questions were never asked. The viewer comes away thinking that Hedges does not approve of impeachment when in fact he does as can be seen in this Democracy Now! episode (at 6:50 and 19:54). Hedges’ point about impeachment is that it is not an end to issues facing us in and of itself. That is what “Rising” missed in its skewed questioning.
In one “Rising” episode, Krystal mentioned that they had been a lot of push back in the comments about their coverage on this topic. That was it . . . a mention and a shrug and a laugh.
Note: The whole episode is worth watching just to hear Hedges refer to Bernie as a moderate.
The second argument that Krystal and Saagar use is concern trolling for Bernie’s and Warren’s campaigns. An occasional reference to this would be acceptable, but that is not what is happening. There have been quite a few episodes with Krystal, in particular, lamenting over this with Saagar expressing sympathy. This has now expanded not only to their Twitter accounts but also to their new sub-station.
For Pelosi, the fact that sanders and warren candidacies will be hurt by impeachment is a positive. She has made her contempt for their policies clear. https://t.co/hA1UlZo4Xp
— Krystal Ball (@krystalball) November 14, 2019
I do not know about Warren (much less care), but Bernie can handle his job AND a campaign. It won’t be the first time. He has a huge movement that can fill in for him when he cannot be out and about himself. Video appearances are not unheard of, and Bernie has top notch surrogates. He also has all of us.
Just guessing, but Bernie probably already has the outline for at least one blockbuster speech for the Senate floor debate. It is not like he is going to just disappear as Krystal and Saagar seem to be suggesting.
It is not like Biden is going to come out of his cocoon. It is pretty much the consensus that the new billionaire entries aren’t going to draw off people who support Bernie or stop him from gathering more supporters. It will become apparent that Bernie, once again, has been underestimated. The whole gnashing of teeth is being overdone.
The point of this example of their coverage of the impeachment on “Rising” is that they DO have their limits. The question that we as viewers need to keep in mind is “What else is being limited?”
Krystal and Saagar claim to be free to express their own views, but are they really? Why don’t they just give the topic a lick and a promise and move on? Why spend so much time on fighting against impeachment unless they are being instructed to do so? It is not like there aren’t some really pressing issues that need to be covered, and that are not being beaten to death by everyone else.
Critical thinking skills are most needed when we are being sucked into the bubble.