Commentary: Northwest Georgia created a political Frankenstein now in the national spotlight. What will we do about it?

Commentary: Northwest Georgia created a political Frankenstein now in the national spotlight. What will we do about it?

Thursday’s Poynter Report (click above) is just one of the dives into a local problem that has grown into a national issue.

 

There’s a click you can make on Facebook that allows you to “unfollow” someone but stay friends. It lets you avoid the rhetoric you’d rather not see but still have access to the person in case there’s a need or a reason to be in touch in rhe future.

That’s been our policy with Marjorie Taylor Greene since she won the Aug. 11 primary runoff and had no Democratic opposition. We knew what was ahead and quite frankly wanted no part of it. Those caustic videos about the school shootings and other hate speech were shared by Democrats and Repubicans alike — quietly, of course — with hundreds of area residents during the 2020 campaign season. They were well known within the district before being discovered by the national media, especially in recent days.

Our take: Headlines and stories such as these feed the fire, the ego, the desire to be in your news “feed” each day. And yet local, state and national media can’t seem to get enough of her. Call it click bait.

We dont need the “clicks,” thank you. Besides, she doesn’t need mainstream media. Early on, the campaign staff —  in a brilliant move — fed exploding social media. She’s done what many businesses and others are trying to do these days — eliminate the “middle man,” i.e., the media, and go right to the consumer or voter or true believer. Apparently Twitter finally sobered up to that fact in recent weeks.

No, this item is more about the collateral damage smearing Northwest Georgia. No matter how you voted or even if you voted last year, this is not just about politics — it is about us, at least as we’re viewed by the rest of the state and country. And as calls grow to expel her from Congress, the stunts that started a year ago along the campaign trail are expanding.

Local politicians — following her Republican rival’s runoff defeat and the Democrat’s hasty exit from the November ballot — quickly embraced her at rallies and party assemblies, pandering for votes as if their own political fortunes were at risk. Did they fear her or her base? You can be sure those front-page photos have been copied and archived for 2022 purposes and beyond.

Others are hopeful the required redrawing of congressional districts in Georgia following the 2020 Census will provide some potential relief. The candidate’s campaign team — again, brilliantly — assembled a strategy to unite a specific genre of voters in the 14th Congressional District’s 12 counties (avid Trump supporters) and it paid off — so much so that she almost won an eight-candidate GOP primary outright.

That victory was official on Nov. 3 or whenever the final, final recount was concluded. She was sworn into Congress and look what’s happened since. On Thursday, the push against her was at chorus pitch. Some examples:

From CNN’s 5 Things morning headlines:

“There is no place for comments like that in our political discourse.” — House GOP Whip Steve Scalise, after a CNN report revealed that Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene repeatedly indicated support for executing prominent Democratic politicians in 2018 and 2019 before she was elected to Congress. A video also has surfaced of Greene confronting Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg in 2019. (From Hometown: He would know. You remember Scalise was critically wounded in a shooting at a congressional baseball practice in 2017).

But, as another CNN story points out, Scalise is among the few Republicans commenting on her. The headline:

“Most House Republicans silent over violent Marjorie Taylor Greene comments as Democrats condemn them.” The story

From The New York Times’ Morning report:

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, indicated support on Facebook for killing or arresting top Democrats before she ran for Congress, CNN reported.

From The Poynter Report, a weekday media trends briefing by Tom Jones:

His opening comments Thursday summed it up as this:  “Marjorie Taylor Greene — the Republican representative from Georgia who has embraced wild conspiracy theories, sympathized with QAnon, and has expressed xenophobic, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic sentiments — is all over the news at the moment.” (Click for full report)

From The Washington Post on Thursday:

“How do you solve a problem like Marjorie Taylor Greene? Democrats want the Georgia lawmaker — who has spread dangerous conspiracy theories, made racist remarks and urged the execution of Democratic lawmakers — to resign. Republicans, however, plan on sitting down to have a stern chat with her. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) confirmed to Power Up he is sitting down next week with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to discuss the comments — including liking a Facebook post calling for executing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the false “Frazzledrip” conspiracy theory.” Expanded report.

From WRCB TV in Chattanooga:

“A Whitfield County Sheriff’s Deputy escorted a Channel 3 crew out of a public town hall meeting Wednesday night and threatened them with arrest after attempting to ask Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene a question… Channel 3’s reporter attempted to ask a question of Greene about the posts and the resolution to expel her from the House, but Greene said she was there to talk to her constituents. That’s when a member of Greene’s staff approached Channel 3’s reporter and told her to leave the event. Greene’s staff waived over a deputy who escorted Channel 3’s reporter and photographer out of the building.” Expanded report.

From Twitter: 

Augmenting the above: A series fo editorials in the Rome News-Tribune and the Dalton newspaper attempting to remind her of the folks back home and the needs of the district en masse. The pandemic, for example.

Did they have any impact? No. Will any of the above outtakes make a difference? No.

And here’s why: Her video from a controlled “town hall” meeting in Rome on Tuesday drew 7,600 emojis (like, thumbs up, love, etc.) and more than 8,000 comments never mind 1,800 shares. Another held in Dalton on Wednesday — the one where the Whitfield deputies tossed a TV crew — is still building. At 11:30 a.m. Thursday, it had 3,200 emojis and 5,600 comments. We didn’t dig into the comments but assume a clear a majority are supportive. We can see some are from out-of-district and out-of-state but most are Northwest Georgians reacting.

The bottom line: This a problem that Northwest Georgia created. It has spread to local government (count the number of area mask mandates aside from the city of Rome, for example) and will continue to swell.

Or will it? This is a local issue that has gained a national audience. It is our problem. What are we going to do about it?

 

 

 

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