Outside Reading — A Thousand Thumb-Suckers About Civility edition

No One Expects Civility From Republicans by Michelle Goldberg

Writing for The New York Times, Michelle Goldberg astutely details the abominable double standard that leads to aghast cluck-clucking any time someone says something unkind about Republicans and shrugging excuses when those on the right end of the U.S. political spectrum engage in verbalized malice or outright violent insurrection. At a time when the Republican party is engaged in eager sedition against the nation’s foundational democratic structures, there are still pundits insisting it is the responsibility of Democrats to reach across the aisle and strive to understand the supposedly noble and heartfelt convictions of citizens who cast their ballots for the lifelong criminal currently occupying the White House to have a second term. The commensurate urging for Republicans to sympathize with the voters of their respective opponents may be out there somewhere in the discourse. If so, it is a vanishingly small chunk of the chatter. At the same time, there are surely a fleet of national reporters committed to spending the next four years on the assignment of seeking out red cap–adorned cranks in small-town diners and dutifully transcribing their statements of ongoing support for a certain narcissistic bigot who has irrevocably damaged our country’s most valued and venerable institutions.

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Republicans Mount Attack On Mail-In Voting Rules by Michael Wines

Although there are clearly a lot of lunkhead true believers out there who are under the delusion that legal actions seeking to overturn a free and fair election are a sound way to operate in a democracy, it’s equally clear that ulterior motives are at play. For the pillar of ineptitude still officially on the top of the U.S. government’s org chart, the court cases are one more grift, an opportunity to soak his devotees for cash donations. For other Republicans, the stealth goal is far more insidious. The patently false accusations of election improprieties are being leveraged against the fundamental right of citizens to vote. Reporting for The New York Times, Michael Wines explores the fetid fulminating of GOP officials and the anti–voting rights legislation they are concocting for no other reason than to preserve their unearned hold on power.

The Real Reason Local Newspapers are Dying by Lyz Lenz

On her own platform, Lyz Lenz publishes a discussion with Allison Hantschel about the sorry state of local newspapers. The two jointly and correctly push back against the common narrative that the struggles of newspapers is primarily attributable to the dominance of the web-based sources for sharing information on current events and advertisements for basic goods and services. The greed and mismanagement of the business entities managing local newspapers — especially corporate behemoths and predatory hedge funds — has done far more damage. In the small college town where I got my undergraduate degree, the daily newspaper was taken over by Gannett several years ago and quickly reduced to a shell of its former self. The paper went from a modest yet respectable publication to a glorified pamphlet. A recent edition I came across had a total of eight pages in its front section with zero stories written by local journalists. That level of miserable negligence does far more damage than any quantity of online competitors.

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