Right wing media attacking socialists for doing everyday things has become its own genre of content. But the latest Bernie Sanders bombshell might be Pulitzer-worthy.
— New York Post (@nypost) May 27, 2021
According to the story, which aggregates reports from Edward-Isaac Dovere’s forthcoming book, Sanders prefers king-sized beds in his hotel rooms, a specific number of blankets, and other luxuries like *checks notes* green tea and honey. He also prefers his room at a crisp 60 degrees, “even if it meant opening a window in winter or manually overriding the hotel’s climate control system.” What a monster.
Attacking Sanders and other self-proclaimed socialists for demanding even the slightest creature comforts is nothing new. The stories are all brainless attempts to smear politicians they don’t like, and they almost always fail. Articles like this exist solely to garner social media response, and that’s exactly what this did. As of this writing, the Post‘s tweet has more than 3,500 retweets and 2,500 replies. There’s definitely a certain number of saps in there playing along, thinking this is some kind of epic own. But almost all of the replies are clowning the paper for publishing this dreck.
Fox News and other right wing outlets have made a cottage industry out of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, too. Just last week she was spotted illegally parking her Tesla “outside the Whole Foods near her posh apartment complex in Washington, D.C.” It’s not clear what was the biggest part of the story—AOC’s Tesla, the illegal parking, or the fact that she shops at Whole Foods. That’s how big the scoop was. But the story had about as much juice as the Sanders one. “Woman parks electric car in front of grocery store for a few minutes” and “old man likes his hotel rooms a little chilly” don’t really move the needle. Those sound more like Onion headlines. The difference is you can reliably expect better coverage from The Onion.
Matt Bors’ comic “Mister Gotcha” sums up the effort to smear socialists—or anyone critical of American society—succinctly. Certain conservatives think anything a self-proclaimed socialist does within the realm of capitalism makes them a hypocrite. The only issue is that American society is completely capitalist. Everything exists within the realm of capitalism. It’s always there, driving our decisions and thoughts, consciously and subconsciously. It’s virtually impossible to escape, especially in America, and even more especially if you want to change America.
It doesn’t really have to get that deep, though. The Post article isn’t dumb because its author didn’t consider capitalism’s engulfing nature. It’s dumb because it’s bad aggregation designed for rage clicks. They want people to angrily reply and tell them how stupid they are, just as long as they click through. And the only people taking it seriously are the brain geniuses making the same dumb argument in that Bors comic. Any participation in society is hypocritical, therefore invalidating whatever opinions you may have about said society, especially if they’re critical or hurt my feelings. The logic is flawless, at least until you start thinking. But as long as we keep replying (and writing about it, heh), they’ll keep coming back for more.