Harrop: Biden may win, but it won’t be thanks to media elite

The New York Times and others played into the identy-politics messages unfairly leveled at Biden.

By Froma Harrop / syndicated columnist

As I write this, we don’t know the winner of the 2020 presidential race. By the time you read it, we still may not know. There are votes to be counted.

What seems very apparent, though, is that Democrats did not enjoy the romp that they and some political prognosticators had expected. They were running against the much-disliked President Trump during a public health crisis and spreading economic despair.

Joe Biden made a few mistakes, but he was fine as a candidate. His problem is his party, what Democrats seem to stand for in the eyes of too many. And those impressions are set by elite media, largely based in Manhattan and estranged from the rest of the country.

Just in time for the election, Vanity Fair put Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on its cover. AOC represents parts of working-class Queens and the Bronx, but her base is largely the liberal gentry who’ve moved in. Along with her mentor Bernie Sanders, AOC calls herself a democratic socialist. From the Vanity Fair treatment, you’d forget that she was just one cog in a 232-member Democratic House caucus.

There is nothing particularly socialistic about AOC’s ideas, nor even Sanders’. It seems more a fashion label. But then you have them appearing as spooky apparitions in Republican ads.

Of course, she won reelection. Max Rose, a tough-talking veteran who, two years ago, triumphed in a law-and-order district in Staten Island, was not so lucky this time around.

After the George Floyd murder, The New York Times took on an obsession with police brutality that lost all sense of balance and nuance. There were horrific cases of police misconduct, to be sure, but also tense, complicated situations. The Times saw no gray areas. If something happened, if someone made a complaint, the police, it seemed, had to be at fault.

It’s a bad thing to shoot a harmless person who’s clearly mentally ill. But if the deranged person is waving a machete, things get complex.

The low point was in July when, during the Black Lives Matter marches in New York City, The Times put together videos of confrontations between police and protestors. “N.Y.P.D. Says It Used Restraint During the Protests,” the headline read. “Here’s What the Videos Show.”

Who took them? The Times didn’t say. There was no context. One snippet showed an officer pushing a woman to the ground but not what came before. Was she a victim of abusive policing — or had she kicked him right before someone pressed the record button?

Identity politics are political poison, but identity topics — gender and race — ruled The Times’ front page and opinion page for months. There were a lot of self-pitying “Do I have a place in America?” pieces. One columnist actually berated Democrats for choosing Biden after someone made a wild accusation of sexual impropriety. The accuser, it turned out, was a disturbed woman with a troubled history.

No one has to subscribe to The Times, and it still provides serious political and economic reporting that, for me, justifies the monthly charge. But its naive sociology-department analyses of a messy world get amplified through other media and become the nation’s idea of what liberals think.

And that can haunt Democrats on election days. These conspicuous liberal voices set an agenda that doesn’t even appeal to many of the “oppressed peoples” they profess to champion. It turned out that blacks and Hispanics also worry about crime. Look at the vote count in Miami.

While we still don’t know who won the election, this much is clear: It should have been a lot easier for Democrats to knock off Trump.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. Email her reached at fharrop@gmail.com.

Talk to us

More in Opinion

Randall Tharp’s month recovery coins after battling a fentanyl addiction.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Fentanyl crisis should force rethinking of approach

A continuum of care, that includes treatment in jails, is imperative, says a journalist and author.

Editorial cartoons for Thursday, Sept. 28

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Patricia Gambis, right, talks with her 4-year-old twin children, Emma, left, and Etienne in their home, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Maplewood, N.J. Gambis' husband, an FBI agent, has been working without pay during the partial United States government shutdown, which has forced the couple to take financial decisions including laying off their babysitter. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Editorial: Shutdown hits kids, families at difficult moment

The shutdown risks food aid for low-income families as child poverty doubled last year and child care aid ends.

Sen. June Robinson, D-Everett, left, and Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, right, embrace after a special session to figure out how much to punish drug possession on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in Olympia, Wash. Without action, Washington's drug possession law will expire July 1, leaving no penalty in state law and leaving cities free to adopt a hodgepodge of local ordinances.  (Karen Ducey/The Seattle Times via AP)
Editorial: Robinson smart choice to head Senate budget panel

A 10-year legislative veteran, the Everett senator displays a mastery of legislation and negotiation.

Migrants trying to reach the United States, set up a camp in Lajas Blancas, Darien province, Panama, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
Fact check: No, migrants aren’t getting $2,200 a month from U.S.

A viral tweet by Rep. Lauren Boebert is a zombie claim that started in 2006 in Canada.

Covid response skeptics mastered critical thinking

A recent Herald editorial reflects what is off with our mainstream mindset… Continue reading

Arlington Mayor Tolbert knows value of city’s youths

As a recent Arlington High School graduate (Class of 2020) and a… Continue reading

Comment: End of pandemic child-care aid will expose huge problem

Putting even more of the costs of child care on parents will mean many employees will opt out of jobs.

Comment: No act of God, disasters a collision of human failures

The climate changes caused by greenhouse gases are compounded by poor decisions and inaction.

Most Read