Skip to content Skip to footer

News Media Should Clearly Inform Public About Obstruction, Filibuster

Just months after a decisive election the country is paralyzed, the will of the people is thwarted and the information required to mobilize the pubic to take needed action is not forthcoming.

A NY Times editorial says Republicans need public pressure to get them to stop obstructing … everything. Meanwhile NY Times and other news coverage tends to obscure the source and extent of the problem and the damage it is doing to the country. Just months after a decisive election the country is paralyzed, the will of the people is thwarted and the information required to mobilize the pubic to take needed action is not forthcoming.

On Sunday, May 12, the NY Times ran an editorial, Who Can Take Republicans Seriously? The editorial concluded: “Only when the Republican Party feels public pressure to become a serious partner can the real work of governing begin.”

But news reports, even in the NY Times, tend to obscure the source of the obstruction, often even omitting the very words “filibuster” and “obstruction.”

For example, on the same day as that editorial the NY Times carried this story about Republican obstruction of nominees, with the headline instead calling it “delay:” G.O.P. Delays on Nominees Raise Tension. The story begins by telling the public there is “resistance in the Senate.”

President Obama’s latest cabinet-level nominees are running into deep resistance in the Senate, pitching Democrats and Republicans into another tense standoff over White House appointments.

What does the reader get from that? Government isn’t working, but nothing about why and especially who. The second paragraph — for those still reading — begins to tell some of the story.

Just days after Republicans used Senate rules to block two nominees from moving to the next step in the confirmation process despite the fact that both have the support of a majority of senators, Democrats are planning to force committee votes without Republican consent.

Finally, in the 3rd paragraph, the word “filibuster” comes up…

If Democrats do push the nominees through to the full Senate, they would almost certainly set off a Republican filibuster, which would jeopardize the confirmations and, for now, leave vacancies at the top of two federal agencies.

In the 6th paragraph the extent of the problem emerges,

Nominees at all levels of Washington’s bureaucracy — 117 of them in all, including cabinet secretaries, judges and members of obscure oversight boards — are facing delays.

The NY Times story was … OK. If you read it carefully you will eventually get the idea of what is going on in Washington. Compare to Politico, President Obama stares down the second-term curse, in which obstruction of democracy becomes, “clever and determined Republican resistance on nearly every front,” and, “Obama’s string of bad news.”

Surprisingly, Fox News is telling the story. Saturday’s From boycotts to delays, Republicans using tough tactics to disrupt Obama agenda gets right to the point,

Republicans are using tough new tactics to disrupt President Obama’s second-term agenda and appointments, beginning to step up their fight six months after the party’s presidential election defeat.

Minority Republicans in the Senate this week boycotted a committee vote on the president’s nominee for EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy. Separately, they delayed another panel vote on the president’s pick for Labor secretary, Thomas Perez, for a second time.

The moves were blasted by Democrats as continued obstruction by an obstinate party.

Of course, Fox understands that their readers want this obstruction, so they come out and tell it like it is.

In the United States the power is supposed to be vested in We, the People. But if We, the People aren’t adequately informed we can’t exercise our power to set things right.

We need to update you on where Truthout stands.

To be brutally honest, Truthout is behind on our fundraising goals for the year. There are a lot of reasons why. We’re dealing with broad trends in our industry, trends that have led publications like Vice, BuzzFeed, and National Geographic to make painful cuts. Everyone is feeling the squeeze of inflation. And despite its lasting importance, news readership is declining.

To ensure we stay out of the red by the end of the year, we have a long way to go. Our future is threatened.

We’ve stayed online over two decades thanks to the support of our readers. Because you believe in the power of our work, share our transformative stories, and give to keep us going strong, we know we can make it through this tough moment.

If you value what we do and what we stand for, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our work.