The New York Times ran a story by reporter Robert Jimison on Friday that was immensely sympathetic to the fiery progressives in Congress unable to make political progress against a “far right” that “wrought havoc”: “Left-Wing Freshmen in a Right-Led House.”
When Representative Becca Balint saw on an encrypted text chain she uses to communicate with other Democratic women that Republicans planned to try to censure a fellow progressive, Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, for participating in a pro-Gaza rally last month at the Capitol, she was angry.
Then Ms. Balint, a first-term Democrat from Vermont, got word that the formal reprimand was going to be filed by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, the hard-right Republican from Georgia -- and she saw her opening to hit back.
After documenting the tit-for-tat drama over dueling censure resolutions against Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Jimison wrapped up the anecdote:
….But Ms. Balint’s determination to pursue it offered a glimpse of how she is trying to break through in a House dominated by the far right.
The paper actually put an unflattering label on a Democrat (albeit with an “ultraconservative” to balance it out).
The Vermont Democrat, along with a number of fellow freshmen on the far-left flank of the Democratic Party, have formed a progressive clique of sorts in the minority, turning to one another for support as they toil to figure out their place in a chamber driven by ultraconservative Republicans bent on undermining Biden administration policies and blocking progressive priorities.
Journalist Jimison showed no nose for news or controversy, only humanizing empathy for Congress’s beleaguered left-wing:
Still, the sudden demise of her censure resolution reflected the difficult task Ms. Balint and her progressive colleagues face in getting their progressive priorities heard. It is a lonely job, which the group -- which also includes Representatives Greg Casar of Texas, Maxwell Alejandro Frost of Florida, Robert Garcia of California, Summer Lee of Pennsylvania, Morgan McGarvey of Kentucky and Delia Ramirez of Illinois -- tries to make more manageable by sticking together….
They keep a meme-filled group chat and celebrate birthdays with nights out dancing or at a karaoke bar.
The seven, like many liberals on Capitol Hill, have struggled to gain traction on what they came to Washington to accomplish. Of the 45 pieces of legislation members of the group have collectively introduced since the start of the 118th Congress, none has been signed into law….
Newcomers to Congress struggle even in the best of times to find their footing on Capitol Hill, a place driven by seniority, relationships and legislative skill that most freshman lawmakers lack. But this congressional session has been extraordinary for its chaos and dysfunction, exacerbated by the influence of right-wing Republicans who have pressed their leaders to move as conservative an agenda as possible and wrought havoc when they have not gotten their way.
Shockingly, this incredibly flattering story was relatively balanced as far as labeling, thanks to the inclusion of a single “far-left” descriptor and “left-wing” in the print headline, as well as a scattering of the word “liberal,” though those labels were still outnumbered by the more euphemistic term “progressive.”
The Times favors littering their political stories with “right” or at least “conservative” labeling (like this amazing 2012 Times piece in which the term “conservative” is used more often than the conjunction “and”).