The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for June, 2020

This Week in Authoritarian Newspeak

I’m not saying all protests are intelligent, or that they cannot be criticized. The problem is that, like “political correctness,” the term “cancel culture” paints all civil rights activism with a broad brush and shuts down thoughtful discussion. The right rules in part by means of Orwellian Newspeak concepts that masquerade as objective phenomena, but are really just name-calling.

Now, there is a real tendency for large numbers of people on social media to demand that someone be fired, but this can be good or bad; it depends entirely on the specifics of the case. Social media is full of toxicity and abuse, and I think a lot of issues can be addressed without calling for someone to lose their livelihood (though there are cases where public figures should step aside, and it is perfectly legitimate to express this).  

For further thoughts, I’d check out this essay in TIME by a Muslim woman in Toronto. And as Paul Krugman recently tweeted, “The rage over ‘cancel culture’ is also, I think, part of this syndrome; some people can’t stand the idea that they should be asked to, say, avoid insulting women or minorities, as if that were a terrible imposition.”

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Suburban Invasion

Right-wing disinformation outlets have been whipping up hysteria with false rumors about antifa and the Black Lives Matter movement planning to cause mayhem the suburbs. We’ve already seen at least two cases now of people driving converted school buses (known as “skoolies”) being targeted for harassment. A multiracial family on a camping trip to the Olympic Peninsula had locals try to trap them in the forest. The Columbus, OH police department issued a wildly misleading social media post about a hippie bus owned by street performers, which got picked up by the likes of Marco Rubio. Per TPM: “According to the juggler squad they’ve been repeatedly harassed since the social media posts went viral as terrorized Fox News watchers spot the bus and mobilize their defense.”

Trump and his media boosters have been screeching about the “autonomous zone” in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood (where I briefly lived once), which has been a peaceful space of mural painting and festive consciousness-raising. Fox actually published digitally-altered and misleading photos about the demonstration to make it seem violent and chaotic.

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Ivanka, Speech Defender

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Beat the Press

Most people have probably seen the footage of CNN journalist Omar Jiminez being hauled off in the middle of a live broadcast. You can view the video of Kaitlin Rust being fired on here, and I encourage you to view the Australian reporters being attacked while filming yesterday’s peaceful protest near the White House, if you haven’t seen it. The CBC has a good interview with Linda Tirado, who is much more chipper than I’d be a couple days after losing an eye.

It seems there should be more discussion linking Trump’s violent rhetoric about the press with what we see happening now. As Eric Boehlert notes:

Incredibly, some in the press still won’t make the public connection between Trump’s violent rhetoric and physical attacks on the media. Over the weekend, the New York Times and the Washington Post detailed attacks on journalists covering the protests. Yet the articles never mentioned Trump and his rancid anti-media attacks.

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Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

 

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