The Issue With Interrupting Ted Cruz’s Dinner Wasn’t One of Civility, It Was the Media’s Reaction
On Monday night, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his wife Heidi sat down for dinner at Fiola, the upscale Italian restaurant in Washington, DC where the upper crust in the nation’s Capital shovel $145 Prix Fixe down their gullets in peace. A place where lobbyists can bump elbows with the lawmakers they need to encourage to vote their way. An establishment that offers braised octopus for $225.
But before Cruz — the human equivalent of a Razor scooter slamming into your ankle — could unhinge his jaw and devour his “Caribe chocolate ganache tart” without chewing, his meal was disrupted by Democratic Socialists of America and local anti-fascist activists calling him out for his unflinching support of Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“We believe survivors,” they bellow. Another shouts, “Beto is hotter than you, dude.” Which is objectively true and if you disagree you’re lying to yourself.
His expression is one of urgency. As he hurries to the exit, leaving his wife a few paces behind him, he frantically — and condescendingly — offers prayers to the protesters. Maybe he got this confused with a mass shooting?
The video was soon posted to the Twitter account “@SmashRacismDC,” and promptly went viral. As of Tuesday night, it had over 12,000 retweets and nearly 4 million views.
But the responses reflect the deepening chasm between the growing population of Americans who are economically disadvantaged and the powerful elite.
In come the corporate media pundits. A class of people so widely despised, it’s a miracle they’re still on TV. Alas, capitalism.
This week we saw pundits fall over themselves to defend one of the most powerful and influential people in the country — Cruz — who will soon appear side-by-side at a rally in Texas with the President of the United States, who has no trouble affording basic necessities, having his voice heard or having his views represented, so that he may eat a meal millions Americans could never afford at a restaurant they’ll never have the privilege of entering with a lifestyle they could only dream of.
In a country where 40% of people struggle to afford basic necessities like rent or food, where the bottom 90% of households have an average income of $34,074, the top 1% enjoys an average annual rake of $1.3 million. Wealth inequality is at its most extreme ever, with the top 1% of Americans controlling 40% of the nation’s wealth.
And millions of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck.
Statistics like these are just white noise to the media elites securely bonded to institutions that coddle bloviating tryhards that brag about making “eight figures”, trusting them to provide unbiased examinations of Americans who struggle to people struggling to keep the lights on. Partially because they’ve heard Bernie Sanders (I-VT) hammer them so often they’ve just tuned the criticisms of his supporters out. Their status in the upper echelon acts as a blinder to the issues plaguing the classes beneath them. Their collective consciousness is, at best, responsive only to internecine twitter spats between political operatives, colleagues, and self-serious grifting ideologues.
When presented with demonstrations that express clear political demands, they offer empty platitudes about civility and “norms.”
“This is counterproductive,” offered Ana Navarro, the CNN pundit who famously bragged about her father being a member of the far-right, murderous Nicaraguan Contras, a group responsible for a litany of atrocities.
“It makes everything worse,” exclaimed Ari Fleischer, a multi-network staple and the man who sold George W. Bush’s 9/11 response to the media, which which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Afghanis and Iraqis.
This is the same group of people who used Tim Russert’s funeral as another networking opportunity, which was revealed in Mark Leibovich’s 2013 exposé into the smarmy DC media and political cesspool, This Town. The people who used a family’s time to mourn their deceased loved one to swap business cards and line up their next cable news hit.
Underlying that spectacle is a sticky web, entangling politicians and media alike. But what Leibovich ultimately revealed was how extensive the overlap was. These groups fawn over each other at the same cocktail parties, occupy the same green rooms.
At the end of the day, the collective self-aggrandizement among the political and media elite, and the collective mutual defense of their reprehensible contemporaries is an ever-present trend, always re-emerging during times of mild discomfort, is a disservice to the millions of Americans who face actual and tangible problems. To the pundit class, any American with the nerve to demand responsive political leadership is out-of-line, and it’s better for them to turn the TV on, and enjoy three paid shills spitting out previously agreed-upon talking points.
They’re concerned because they might be next.
The media has a moral obligation to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, but the corporate media’s unflinching defense of the elite does a disservice to everyone that relies on them to hold the powerful accountable. The United States is a country where millions languish in poverty and millions more are met with systemic hurdles to escape it, making the problem cyclical. They’ll never escape it.
Ted Cruz’s discomfort lasted 90 seconds.
The problem for the impoverished is often permanent. They will die in squalor.
They will remain uninsured. The media won’t acknowledge them.
And that is the most uncivilized part of it all.