[oldembed width="420" height="245" src="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640" flashvars="launch=47664014^1740^403941&width=420&height=245" fid="2"]
It cannot be overstated in American politics that he who frames the debate wins the argument.
What does it tell you when the media continually frames the debate into a false equivalence of "both sides do it" when talking about finding solutions to America's problems?
The fact of the matter is that both sides AREN'T doing it, and the media is perpetuating this lie over and over.
Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein--neither of whom could be accurately described as bleeding heart liberals--wrote a book on just how extreme the Republican Party has become and tellingly, not one of the mainstream Sunday shows would book them to discuss it, although Mann and Ornstein have numerous previous appearances to their credit. Oh, but they have room to book John McCain over and over.
Mann and Ornstein point out something that won't be said on any other show: the Republicans are vastly abusing the filibuster, for no other reason than to reflexively obstruct anything that might be perceived as a victory for the president:
We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.
When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.
“Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach.
We have big issues facing this country and major choices that must be made on the kind of country we want to collectively be. But those desperately needed conversations aren't going to be had until the media stops pretending that this isn't a problem overwhelmingly caused by one party for their own short term political gain.