There’s Plenty Of Debt Ceiling Drama. Don’t Fall For The Fake Kind.

INSIDE: E. Jean Carroll ... Sidney Powell ... Dick Durbin
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: Microphones belong to different media outlets are set up on a stand in front of the West Wing of the White House January 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Donald Trump will anno... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: Microphones belong to different media outlets are set up on a stand in front of the West Wing of the White House January 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Donald Trump will announce his pick for the Supreme Court associate justice nominee at the East Room this evening. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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`A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.

No, Today’s Meeting Is Not An Epic Showdown

I don’t want to turn into a curmudgeon about the news coverage of the GOP’s debt ceiling hostage-taking, but the bigs aren’t making it easy!

Here’s how they’re portraying today’s White House meeting between President Biden and the congressional leadership:

NYT: “critical face-to-face confrontation”

WaPo: “urgent bid to avoid default”

WSJ: “high-stakes meeting”

I’ve mentioned before that I find news coverage of negotiations of any kind to be painful. Contract negotiations, labor negotiations, legislative negotiations – it doesn’t matter which. The coverage ends up overdetermined, overwrought, and often just plain wrong. It’s not hard to see why.

Every negotiation is different, but rarely do they satisfy the demands of news coverage for movement, dynamism, and incremental developments. Instead, negotiations are typically slow, tedious, and not much happens until suddenly it happens.

In contrast to what’s actually happening, news coverage tends to want to frame negotiations as steady movement toward a resolution, or as a hardening of positions that shows everyone involved to be unreasonable.

What’s actually happening instead? It’s invariably two sides at loggerheads for an extended time until the pressure builds and a complex combination of factors – fatigue, resignation, clarity about what’s really at stake, and miscalculations coming home to roost – wears the parties down.

That’s what we should expect in the coming weeks in the debt-ceiling standoff. Today is the beginning, not the end. It’s the start of the public-facing phase of the hostage-taking. The White House meeting is neither critical nor determinative.

On top of all the other problems with the coverage of negotiations, journalists and editors experience their own fatigue and resignation covering them and end up becoming cheerleaders for a resolution of some kind, any kind, the substance be damned. Just make it be over already! That’s not news coverage.

The coverage of the GOP’s manufactured debt-ceiling crisis is no different, except the stakes are so high and the culpability of the Republican Party so obvious that the usual bad coverage tropes are more damaging, less informative, and skew the public debate in especially misleading and destructive ways.

I’m sorry to report that we have weeks more of the same ahead.

Jury Gets The Carroll Case Today

Closing arguments concluded yesterday in the civil rape and defamation trial of Donald Trump, and the jury is set to begin deliberations today. No big surprises in closing arguments. Here’s a good succinct thread summarizing the day:

Judge Ties Trump’s Thumbs

The judge in Donald Trump’s criminal hush money case issued a protective order barring Trump from distributing discovery materials handed over to him by prosecutors, including on social media.

Stewart Rhodes Wants Time Served

Ahead of his upcoming sentencing for seditious conspiracy, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes is asking the court for leniency, seeking to get away with only the jail time he’s served so far. He’s been jailed since January 2022. Prosecutors are seeking a 25-year jail term for Rhodes.

Still Seeking Accountability For Sidney Powell

Former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell faces a new ethics complaint in Michigan for a “frivolous” challenge to the state’s results in the 2020 presidential election.

Great Read

S.V. Date: Call It Trump’s Coup Attempt, Because It Damned Well Was

Dick Durbin Is On The Case!

After hitting the snooze button for a few weeks, the Senate Judiciary Committee has finally roused and taken off its sleep mask.

Mirroring the move that the Senate Finance Committee made two weeks ago, Senate Judiciary is asking billionaire GOP donor Harlan Crow for a complete accounting of the gifts he’s given to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Welcome To The Party!

The NYT catches on to Republicans’ nationwide voter suppression agenda.

Disney Expands Its Lawsuit Against DeSantis

Disney has amended its lawsuit accusing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and other state officials of illegally retaliating against it for opposing the “Don’t Say Gay” law. It is now alleging that a new law signed just Friday is part of the retaliation campaign.

Texas Outlet Mall Shooter Had Nazi Sympathies

The gunman in the weekend shooting in suburban Dallas had an extensive social media record that showed him fantasizing over race wars.

But sure Republicans, go ahead and prattle on about the mental health crisis in America.

SUV Driver In Texas Charged With Manslaughter

Authorities still don’t have a motive for why the driver of an SUV barreled through a crowed of migrants outside a shelter over the weekend. They haven’t ruled out it being intentional. He’s been charged with eight counts of manslaughter, 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and reckless driving

Ft. Hood Is No More

The Army base in Texas will be renamed Fort Cavazos today, part of the broad initiative to remove the names of Confederate military heroes from U.S. military installations.

First They Came For Christmas

Household appliances are the focal point of the latest ginned-up fake culture war:

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