Contrarian hot take insanity

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There’s nothing the political media hates more than a “boring” race. In that sense the real trouble in 2024 is that Donald Trump, who for years had been the media’s ratings meal ticket, has frankly become boring. He goes long stretches hiding from public view, and when he does surface he merely mutters about sharks and batteries.

This leaves the media to try to get ratings out of President Joe Biden, who is “boring” in the good sense of the word. If you’re a citizen, you want a President who’s solid and trustworthy and doesn’t post unhinged tweets in the middle of the night that could start World War III. But precisely because Biden is boring, the media has to make up complete nonsense about him in order to hit its ratings marks. And that’s now reaching a fever pitch. Here’s the thing, though.

I remember back in the summer of 2016, when it started to become clear that the FBI was going to exonerate Hillary Clinton in her essentially imaginary email scandal. The media (on both sides) had been milking that fake scandal nonstop for a year and a half, and the media knew that scandal was about to go away. So during that stretch in which the media knew that exoneration could happen any day, the media went for the most over the top “Hillary is finished” contrarian hot takes it could come up with. If they weren’t going to be able to milk the narrative much longer, then by golly, they were going to milk it for every last drop during those final days where they still could.

This reminds me of the current phony scandal about leading Democrats supposedly forcing President Biden out of the race. The media knows that no such thing is going to happen. Whatever the Democrats’ odds are of winning with Biden (and they’re pretty good), the prospects of winning by switching to a new candidate this late in the game are abysmal.

To that end, leading Democratic Governors already announced this past week that they’re riding with Biden. We’re going to see similar announcements this upcoming week from leading House Democrats and leading Senate Democrats. Then the imaginary “Biden is going to be forced out” scandal will be over. And the media knows it.

So here, in these final days in which the imaginary “Biden is being forced out” scandal can still be milked for ratings and page views, the media is shooting for the moon. This weekend we’ve seen some of the most over the top cartoonish headlines and predictions one could imagine, one headline after another stating with absolute certainty that Biden will drop out.

This kind of contrarian hot take volcano eruption from the media is typically a sign that the phony storyline in question is about to be finished. And so even as the media continues spewing hot lava nonsense today and tomorrow, ignore that and watch for actual news. Watch for House and Senate leaders to come out in strong support of President Biden. And watch for the media to either ignore this, or pretend that it’s some kind of shocking twist.

But more importantly than anything, keep your eye on the prize. The media is off doing its own circle jerk thing for ratings, as always. But that’s not reality. The persuadable voters in this election, the ones whose votes are not already locked in, the ones who will decide this election like they decide every election, are not people who stare at cable news or political Twitter all day. These are people who are reached through things like TV ads (funded by your small dollar donations), phone banking, voter registration efforts, and so on. So if you want to win this election, focus on those tasks. Now let’s go win this. Donate to Palmer Report

New: Palmer Report is moving to a reader-supported format with a significantly reduced number of ads so we can reach a broader audience at this crucial time for our democracy. Donate to Palmer Report via PayPal (click here) or GoFundMe (click here).