Home 2019 Elections A Post Faustian Bargain: #BothSiderism Headlines in Face of Manafort Arrest

A Post Faustian Bargain: #BothSiderism Headlines in Face of Manafort Arrest


In some ways, “normal” journalistic practices and habits have been major contributors to the damage that is being done to American Democracy and helping place the Republic’s very existence in question.

Today, the chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign was indicted for “Conspiracy against the United States of America”.

Consider this …

Seriously, step back and pause.

The man who ran the campaign — for six months — of the man who occupies the Oval Office was put into custody accused of what any rational person would call treasonous offenses.

We are living in a dystopia … and there are more bombs to drop.

Over on the Washington Post’s home page, there are a number of articles on Manafort’s arrest. Others focus on Papadopoulos, the Trump foreign policy adviser who has already pled guilty and has been cooperating, it seems, with Federal prosecutors since mid-summer.  In other words, the Post has some serious reporting on #TrumpRussia.

In the center of all this, however, is an article on Tony Podesta’s leaving his lobbying firm, The Podesta Group.  It seems that Tony Podesta – or his firm? – worked with Manafort for several years on international lobbying.  Hmmm…don’t know if Tony Podesta did anything like Manafort’s hiding foreign payments, working to influence (handle?) Trump for Putin,  or other illegal actions, but there seems that there might be something there (as per his stepping aside from his firm).

However, how does The Post promote this article:

Probe shakes both parties

Anyone else ready to scream: WHAT THE EFF?

On one side, we have:

  • Chairman of the Republican Presidential candidate’s (now the occupier of the Oval Office’s) campaign and long-time/high-level GOP operative, Paul Manafort, indicted for conspiracy against the United States along with…
  • a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser pleading guilty to lying to the FBI with released associated material making clear Trump campaign interacting with Russians.

And, on the “other side,” we have…

  • the brother of the former Democratic campaign chair stepping away from his job due to a swirling controversy.

Only in the corporate media could this somehow translate into “probe shakes both parties …”

In fact, what’s really happening – and what the Post should be factually reporting – is:

  • Republicans are shaking with anxiety about potentially having to confront their Faustian Bargain with Trump: their deal with the Devil Trump (either to overlook or to engage his collusion with Russia, criminality, incompetence, narcissism, cruelty, etc.) in exchange for horribly destructive things like tax cuts for the uber-wealthy.
  • Democrats are shaking with nervous anticipation that Trump might not fire Mueller and that the investigations might actually get at some of the Trump criminality and help put American Democracy back on track.

That is a more honest assessment of why Republicans and Democrats are shaking today … but that is not what the Post meant with their headline and with the tenor of the Tony Podesta article (where, it seems, at least for Democratic political elite — they truly are their brother’s keeper).  Meanwhile, I’m busy trying to figure out what makes Tony Podesta a “Democratic power broker.”  Did he run smoke-filled rooms determining who won primaries by stuffing ballot boxes or what?

It seems that, with this, the Post is truly going the extra distance for #BothSiderism:

both sides do it

so, well,

let’s wash our hands of it

and move on.

The question is: Why?

  • To prove they are unbiased?
  • To have a headline that will get click-bait from the Breitbart Alt-Right (fascist)/Alt-Facts (fantasy tinfoil hat) crowd?
  • To curry favor with Trump and/or the GOP?
  • To try to make Teahadist readers happy?
  • To …?????

Is this the Post‘s Faustian Bargain? #Bothsiderism in the search for clicks and a yearning for winning approval & legitimacy from the illegitimate?

Whatever the conceived reason, there simply isn’t any legitimacy or excuse for this.

All The Washington Post editors and journalists should take some time to question what they’re doing. Headlines matter (as do content, but let’s stick with the headlines for the moment) and false balance, false #bothsiderism is a damaging practice and, well, fundamentally not truthful reporting. And, as they are taking time to question/to step back, they should take about three minutes to read Jay Rosen’s “incredibly brief” discussion of how to stop normalizing Trump. Maybe they’ll learn something … and stop normalizing the abnormal with #BothSiderism.

NOTE: Recent post Trump Tweets, Trump Lies, Washington Post Normalizes It All.


This morning’s Wall Street Journal has an article on Tony Podesta stepping down. Well within paper, six column inches … without the headline and multiple references to Democratic Party and John Podesta that one found in The Washington Post. Hmmm … when the WSJ is more responsible on reporting something like this, what does it tell you, Post editors?  As with The New York Times, The Washington Post team certainly has not shown its readership that it has a true understanding of how its massive obsession with EMAILS uber alles helped enable (a likely Russian puppet) destructive narcissistic (and his climate science denying horde) en route to occupying the Oval Office. The Post‘s handling of Tony Podesta — in headline and in the article body — is a clear indication of lessons not learned.




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