On the Media
On the Media
Oct 23, 2020
The Games We Play
52 min

With the election underway, both camps are pushing their “get out the vote” messages. This week, On the Media looks at the origins of the modern presidential campaign, and how livestream technology is transforming the look and feel of voter outreach. Plus, how a mysterious network of fake news sites duped real journalists into creating propaganda. And, the empty, recurring trope of Republicans "distancing" themselves from Trump.

1. Makena Kelly [@kellymakena] explains the rising role of fandom in politics, and how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's event on Twitch this week was a landmark in online organizing. Listen.

2. Greg Mitchell [@GregMitch] and Jill Lepore on how modern methods of seeding lies and hysteria into a campaign can be traced back to a single race in 1934. Listen.

3. Priyanjana Bengani [@acookiecrumbles] on the emergence of "pink slime" news outlets, which take legitimate journalism and use it as a cover for more nefarious goals at home and abroad. Also featuring Pat Morris and Laura Walters [@walterslaura]. Listen.

4. Bob [@Bobosphere] explains why outlets need to stop saying Republicans like Ben Sasse are "breaking" with Trump. Listen.

Trump, Inc.
Trump, Inc.
WNYC Studios
Midnight Regulations
This story was co-published with ProPublica. Sign up for email updates from Trump, Inc. to get the latest on our investigations. Six days after President Donald Trump lost his bid for reelection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture notified food safety groups that it was proposing a regulatory change to speed up chicken factory processing lines, a change that would allow companies to sell more birds. An earlier USDA effort had broken down on concerns that it could lead to more worker injuries and make it harder to stop germs like salmonella. Ordinarily, a change like this would take about two years to go through the cumbersome legal process of making new federal regulations. But the timing has alarmed food and worker safety advocates, who suspect the Trump administration wants to rush through this rule in its waning days. Even as Trump and his allies officially refuse to concede the Nov. 3 election, the White House and federal agencies are hurrying to finish dozens of regulatory changes before Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. The rules range from long-simmering administration priorities to last-minute scrambles and affect everything from creature comforts like showerheads and clothes washers to life-or-death issues like federal executions and international refugees. They impact everyone from the most powerful, such as oil drillers, drugmakers and tech startups, to the most vulnerable, such as families on food stamps, transgender people in homeless shelters, migrant workers and endangered species. ProPublica is tracking those regulations as they move through the rule-making process. Every administration does some version of last-minute rule-making, known as midnight regulations, especially with a change in parties. It’s too soon to say how the Trump administration’s tally will stack up against predecessors. But these final weeks are solidifying conservative policy objectives that will make it harder for the Biden administration to advance its own agenda, according to people who track rules developed by federal agencies. “The bottom line is the Trump administration is trying to get things published in the Federal Register, leaving the next administration to sort out the mess,” said Matthew Kent, who tracks regulatory policy for left-leaning advocacy group Public Citizen. “There are some real roadblocks to Biden being able to wave a magic wand on these.” In some instances the Trump administration is using shortcuts to get more rules across the finish line, such as taking less time to accept and review public feedback. It’s a risky move. On the one hand, officials want to finalize rules so that the next administration won’t be able to change them without going through the process all over again. On the other, slapdash rules may contain errors, making them more vulnerable to getting struck down in court. The Trump administration is on pace to finalize 36 major rules in its final three months, similar to the 35 to 40 notched by the previous four presidents, according to Daniel Perez, a policy analyst at the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center. In 2017, Republican lawmakers struck down more than a dozen Obama-era rules using a fast-track mechanism called the Congressional Review Act. That weapon may be less available for Democrats to overturn Trump’s midnight regulations if Republicans keep control of the Senate, which will be determined by two Georgia runoffs. Still, a few GOP defections could be enough to kill a rule with a simple majority. “This White House is not likely to be stopping things and saying on principle elections have consequences, let’s respect the voters’ decision and not rush things through to tie the next guys’ hands,” said Susan Dudley, who led the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget at the end of the George W. Bush administration. “One concern is the rules are rushed so they didn’t have adequate analysis or public comment, and that’s what we’re seeing.” The Trump White House didn’t respond to requests for comment on which regulations it’s aiming to finish before Biden’s inauguration. The Biden transition team also didn’t respond to questions about which of Trump’s parting salvos the new president would prioritize undoing. Many of the last-minute changes would add to the heap of changes throughout the Trump administration to pare back Obama-era rules and loosen environmental and consumer protections, all in the name of shrinking the government’s role in the economy. “Our proposal today greatly furthers the Trump administration’s regulatory reform efforts, which together have already amounted to the most aggressive effort to reform federal regulations of any administration,” Brian Harrison, the chief of staff for the Department of Health and Human Services, said on a conference call with reporters the day after the election. Harrison was unveiling a new proposal to automatically purge regulations that are more than 10 years old unless the agency decides to keep them. For that proposal to become finalized before Jan. 20 would be an exceptionally fast turnaround. But Harrison left no doubt about that goal. “The reason we're doing this now is because,” he said, “we at the department are trying to go as fast as we can in hopes of finalizing the rule before the end of the first term.” Read Isaac Arnsdorf's full print story at ProPublica. Track more of the Trump administration's midnight regulations here.
18 min
The New Abnormal with Molly Jong-Fast & Rick Wilson
The New Abnormal with Molly Jong-Fast & Rick Wilson
The Daily Beast
Julia-Louis Dreyfus: We’ve ‘Talked About’ Making More ‘Veep’
The gods of comedy have heard your prayers—and just might make them come true. “Veep,” the greatest political comedy of all time, could return, somehow, some way, in some form, if only for a short while.  “We've certainly discussed it,” star Julia-Louis Dreyfus tells Molly Jong-Fast on the latest episode of The New Abnormal. “Everybody's sort of gone off now and everybody's doing other projects and so on. But I don't rule it out entirely, doing some sort of ‘Veep’-related thing. I mean, there's an area that we could jump back into. I think [showrunner] Dave [Mandel] and I have talked about it.”  Mandel adds, “We left just enough sort of like there's some time jumps in there that you could definitely—” “Go back into,” Dreyfus offers. “Yeah. You could kind of color in and answer a couple of questions. So I think anything is possible,” Mandel says. Not so long ago, Mandel and Dreyfus were wondering aloud how possible it was to do political satire with Trump in the White House. How do you parody a parody? Now, Dreyfus says, “There's always an opportunity for satire and we're hopeful that with the Biden administration, you know, things will sort of settle down and then we can be the outrageous ones.” “Yeah. It requires a baseline of normalcy. And if we can get back to that, if we can get back to a time where you're not thinking about the president every six minutes, I think maybe we can get back to some good old fashioned political satire,” Mandel adds. “But [the Trumpists] made it difficult. They raise the bar on stupidity on a daily basis. So it was very hard to out-stupid. You know what I mean?   In the meantime—this weekend, in fact—the ‘Veep’ cast is getting back together to recreate one of the craziest, most prescient episodes of the show. In it, The Beast’s Kevin Fallon noted, protesters are planted [who] “alternately chant to ‘count every vote’ and ‘stop counting the votes’ as new information trickles in, changing their message based on which strategy would be more advantageous to them.”  Sound familiar? But here’s the truly crazy part. That’s "an episode from the fifth season of ‘Veep,’ so many years back," Dreyfus says. 2016, to be exact. "Yes, ‘Veep’ is real. It's a documentary. And it's about real life," she jokes. The re-read of the episode——featuring guest stars Patton Oswalt, Kumail Nanjiani, Mark Hamill, and Stephen Colbert—is a fundraiser for a group looking to boost turnout in the upcoming Georgia special elections. Dreyfus thought it’d be cool to "read the very script that seemed to become reality the last couple of weeks. Let's read that, a sort of an uncut version of it." The cast did a similar thing in advance of the general election. Maybe they’ll get used to being back together. Maybe it’ll become a habit. Maybe, maybe, just maybe…  The gang also talk to Matt Tyrnauer, who directed Showtime's limited-series "The Reagans," about the myth of "Saint Reagan" and how he held the press in a "fog of war" to earn him his esteemed reputation which the crew find undeserved. Want more? Become a Beast Inside member to enjoy a limited-run series of bonus interviews from The New Abnormal. Guests include Cory Booker, Jim Acosta, and more. Head to newabnormal.thedailybeast.com to join now.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
59 min
Political Gabfest
Political Gabfest
Slate Podcasts
Neutral Laws of General Applicability
It's conundrum season! Pass along your most pressing conundrums here: www.slate.com/conundrum. Our annual Conundrum holiday show is coming soon. Emily, John and Jamelle discuss presidential pardons; coronavirus exemptions for houses of worship; and David joins in for a conversation with Australia's former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about disinformation. Here are some notes and references from this week’s show: Jamelle Bouie for The New York Times: “It Started With ‘Birtherism’” Greg Nunziata for The Atlantic: “Republicans With Any Love of Country Must Acknowledge That Trump Has Lost” Spencer S. Hsu for The Washington Post: “Court-Appointed Adviser in Michael Flynn Case Says Justice Dept. Yielded to Corrupt ‘Pressure Campaign’ Led by Trump” Amy Howe for SCOTUSblog: “Christian School in Kentucky Asks Justices to Intervene in Dispute Over In-Person Classes at Religious Schools” Emily Bazelon for the New York Times Magazine: “The Problem of Free Speech in an Age of Disinformation” A Bigger Picture, by Malcolm Turnbull  To celebrate our 15th anniversary we'd love to know about your clever, politically themed, original cocktail! Please send us the details here: www.slate.com/cocktail Here are this week’s cocktail chatters:  Jamelle: Jamelle chatted about the superior experience of watching films on a Blu-Ray player, as opposed to streaming. John: Caroline Lange for Food52: “A History of The American Milkman”; Matt Novak for Smithsonian Magazine: “The Milkman’s Robot Helper”; Atticpaper.com’s prints from the Mid-century advertising campaign “Beer Belongs”  Emily: The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans  Slate Plus members get a bonus segment on the Gabfest each week, and access to special bonus episodes throughout the year. Sign up now to listen and support our show.   For this week’s Slate Plus bonus segment David, Emily, and John learn about navigating water sports in shark-infested waters from Former Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull. You can tweet suggestions, links, and questions to @SlateGabfest. Tweet us your cocktail chatter using #cocktailchatter. (Messages may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)   The email address for the Political Gabfest is gabfest@slate.com. (Email may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.) Podcast production by Jocelyn Frank. Research and show notes by Bridgette Dunlap. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1 hr 14 min
The Ezra Klein Show
The Ezra Klein Show
Vox
Best of: Frances Lee on why bipartisanship is irrational
There are few conversations I’ve had on this show that are quite as relevant to our current political moment as this one with Princeton political scientist Frances Lee. Joe Biden will occupy the White House come January, but pending the results of two runoff Senate elections in Georgia, Democrats either won’t control the Senate at all or will face a 50-50 split. In either case, an important question looms large over the incoming administration: Will Republican senators negotiate with Biden in good faith? Lee’s work is an indispensable framework for thinking about that inquiry. In her most recent book, Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign, Lee makes a point that sounds strange when you hear it but changes everything once you understand it. For most of American history, American politics has been under one-party rule. For decades, that party was the Republican Party. Then, for decades more, it was the Democratic Party. It’s only in the past few decades that control of Congress began flipping back and forth every few years, that presidential elections became routinely decided by a few percentage points, that both parties are always this close to gaining or losing the majority. That kind of close competition, Lee writes, makes the daily compromises of bipartisan governance literally irrational. "Confrontation fits our strategy,” Dick Cheney once said. "Polarization often has very beneficial results. If everything is handled through compromise and conciliation, if there are no real issues dividing us from the Democrats, why should the country change and make us the majority?” Why indeed? This is a conversation about that question, about how the system we have incentivizes a politics of confrontation we don’t seem to want and makes steady, stable governance a thing of the past. . Book Recommendations: The Imprint of Congress by David R. Mayhew Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time by Ira Katznelson Congress's Constitution: Legislative Authority and the Separation of Powers by Josh Chafetz Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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