Background Briefing: October 5, 2021


How the Press is Helping the Republicans Frame the Infrastructure Debate

We begin with the way the press is framing the wrangling over the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill focusing on the price tag instead of what the legislation will achieve while calling it “massive” and “unprecedented” when it pales in comparison to FDR’s “New Deal” and LBJ’s “Great Society”. Joining us is Peter Dreier, Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College and we look into how the press is continually implying that Biden has “thrown in” with the left when in fact Democratic progressives are being pragmatic and it would be more accurate to point out that Senators Manchin and Sinema have “thrown in” with the right. The author of The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame, we discuss his article at The American Prospect, “The New York Times’ Misleading Headline of the Year. Biden hasn’t thrown in with the left. The left backed his compromises; the center right has not.” 


Will Home State Pressure on Sinema Stop Her From Tanking the Democrats and Biden’s Presidency?

Then we speak with Kai Newkirk, a progressive organizer in Tempe, Arizona who co-founded Democracy Spring and has trained thousands of people across America in movement organizing and nonviolent direct action and he has just co-founded a new campaign, “Either Sinema Votes to End the Filibuster OR We Fund a Primary Challenger.” We discuss the growing opposition to Senator Sinema in her home state of Arizona and whether losing the support of her Democratic base might move her to support Democratic priorities and not tank the party’s chances for reelection and the Biden presidency. 


As the Supreme Court Moves to the Right, the Majority Wants You To Believe They Are Not Partisan

Then finally with the Supreme Court’s new term having started on Monday, we examine the attempt by the court’s right wing majority to have it both ways by moving the court to the far right while protesting publicly at they are neutral and not “partisan political hacks” as Justice Barrett has tried to suggest. Joining us to assess the court’s pending radical and reactionary shift to the right on abortion, guns, national security and religion is Adam Cohen, who served as a member of the New York Times editorial board and as a senior writer for Time magazine whose latest book is Supreme Inequality: The Supreme Court’s Fifty-Year Battle for a More Unjust America.