The last six years of American history have taught me one thing: do not trust partisan media to hold power accountable.
I realized this last Friday (28 May 2021) when, like millions of podcast addicts I was horrified by Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti’s sudden departure from The Hill’s Rising show. The exit horrified me because Krystal and Saagar are a source of a wide variety of political and other news nobody else covers.
My fears vanished on Tuesday 1 June 2021 when Ryan Grim and Emily Jashinsky took over Rising. Although the styles are different, the show is essentially the same. A pair of journalists sitting in a studio and criticizing the mainstream media and the political leadership of both parties.
For example, Grim and Jashinsky are among the few pundits willing to challenge the media’s mindless worship of Dr. Anthony Fauci and journalists’ failure to expose Fauci’s constant stream of lies. Notably, Fauci missed a Rising appearance scheduled for 3 June 2021.
Then I realized why I really love Rising, it’s the show’s honesty and lack of a partisan agenda. Unlike, most talking heads Rising’s hosts do no make false claims of being non-partisan or nonobjective. Instead, they freely admit their beliefs, then offer an honest critique of power based on those beliefs.
The Ideological Trap
Rising succeeds where traditional media fails because its agenda is to hold power accountable not promote an ideology. In contrast, partisan media such as MSNBC and Fox News fail because the ideology becomes more important than truth.
Remember Against Trump? The National Review’s attempt to drum up opposition to the Donald’s presidential campaign back in January 2016. Today, The National Review; the grand old journal of conservatism founded by the late great William F. Buckley Jr., is full of venal Trump propaganda.
The National Review fell into Trump’s clutches through the ideological trap. To elaborate, all a charlatan such as Trump needs to do capture The Review’s support is to back or put through a few of The Review’s pet policies such as tax cuts.
Consequently, The National Review has no choice but to support Trump despite the ex-president’s blatant corruption, hypocrisy, racism, and incompetence. Similarly, progressive outlets such as MSNBC end up shilling for President Joe Biden (D-Delaware) because the president issues a few leftist executive orders.
How Rising avoids the ideological trap
One way Rising avoids the ideological trap is by giving two hosts with different beliefs equal status.
Grim, for example, is a leftwing journalist at The Intercept, and Jashinsky writes for The Federalist, a libertarian outlet. Giving a conservative and a progressive equal status avoids the echo chamber effect that turns Fox News and MSNBC into propaganda outlets.
In addition, The Hill’s bosses hired hosts who were ideological but outside the political establishment. Ball is a socialist and a Bernie Sanders supporter, Enjeti is a paleocon of the Pat Buchanan variety. Thus, neither was beholden to the Democratic or Republican parties in the way most political journalists are.
Instead of “journalists,” The Hill hires people who are used to criticizing power and holding its holders accountable. Then giving them a platform to criticize power from.
One interesting aspect of Rising was Enjeti and Ball’s criticism of big corporations such as Amazon (AMZN) and billionaires such as Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. Krystal and Saagar were free to criticize Bezos, Gates, and Amazon because they were not part of the present political structure which depends on the billionaires’ money.
Holding Power Accountable
I don’t know if Grim and Jashinsky will continue Ball and Enjeti’s corporate criticism but I think they will. Remember, Krystal and Sagaar became famous by criticizing power.
I think Krystal and Saagar’s departure is good because it shows Rising can go on without them. More importantly, Ball and Enjeti will launch their own show Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagaron 7 June 2021.
Thus we now have two YouTube channels dedicated to holding power accountable. Consequently, the power brokers have more to fail. However, only history will tell if this criticism leads to real political change or reform.