Yankee doodling to the media: how ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ became a rallying cry against news bias

About 250 years ago, a political insult from British troops during the American Revolution was turned into a battle cry by the colonists. “Yankee Doodle Dandy” was intended to mock the Continental Army as unsophisticated dandies, but maligned militiamen turned it around to mock the British after defeats like Yorktown. The song is an enduring example of how symbols of contempt can become symbols of defiance.

In a funny way, “Come on, Brandon!” it has become an equally unintentional political battle cry. It stems from an October 2 interview with race car driver Brandon Brown after he won his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race. During the interview, NBC reporter Kelli Stavast’s questions were drowned out by loud and clear chants of “F *** Joe Biden.” Stavast quickly and inexplicably declared, “You can hear the chants from the crowd, ‘Come on, Brandon!'”

Stavast’s denial or misinterpretation of the obvious instantly became symbolic of what many Americans perceive as a media bias in favor of the Biden administration. In fact, some media outlets immediately praised Stavast for her. “save without problems“And be a”quick thinking reporter. “But the episode was reminiscent of a reporter standing in front of burning buildings during last year’s riots and calling them peaceful protests. In fact, even the original profane chant seemed directed at both the media and Biden, creating an undeniable backdrop for news coverage.

The three-word slogan is now stamped on T-shirts, coffee mugs, and even billboards. An anti-Biden “Come on Brandon!” hip-hop song topped the iTunes charts; soon, there were four of those songs with the same chorus. The title song was banned on sites like YouTube and Instagram for spreading “harmful false information. “However, the effort to prevent people from listening to the song only fueled interest and movement.

The media backlash has also lived up to the underlying narrative, with commentators becoming increasingly strident in denouncing its use. NPR denounced the chant as “vulgar,” while writers for the Washington Post and other newspapers condemned it as offensive; CNN’s John Avalon called it “non-patriotic,” while CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart compared it to coded rhetoric of the Nazis, Ku Klux Klan and ISIS.

However, the more the media has shouted, the more people have caught the chant.

Then a Southwest Airlines pilot reportedly used the expression at the end of a signature with passengers on a flight from Houston to Albuquerque. Associated Press reporter Colleen Long was apparently so furious that she demanded access to the cockpit and was nearly ejected from the flight. She admits that “I was asking you to open the closed cock well and it probably sounded crazy!” Cathleen Decker, editor of the Washington Post described the use of the slogan as a “substitute for @SouthwestAir booth vulgarity.” The Liberals called for an investigation and the pilot’s firing. CNN analyst Asha Rangappa even compared the pilot to an ISIS sympathizer: “As an experiment, I would love for a @SouthwestAir pilot to say ‘Long live ISIS.’

But what if the pilot had simply knelt in protest at the Biden administration as passengers got on or off the plane?

Well, many of these same commentators have supported the kneeling NFL and insisted that any effort to prevent their protest was racist or a denial of free speech.

As I wrote earlier, employees have no right to protest at work, whether at Starbucks or at sports arenas. However, when then …President TrumpDonald Trump Republicans are poised to sweep Virginia, wowing Democrats Five takeaways from a bleak night for Democrats New Jersey’s gubernatorial race is too close to call for MORE condemned the NFL kneelers as unpatriotic, some Democrats in Congress called for his impeachment. When the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg Katie Couric: CNN shouldn’t have let Chris Cuomo “ regret ” his brother Andrew during the pandemic Katie Couric dismisses the early coverage of the book as a “ weird and deliberate misinterpretation ” Katie Couric says Felt ‘betrayed’ by Lauer after sexual assault allegations MORE He also criticized the kneelers, journalist Katie Couric edited most of her comments.

The fact is, neither the Southwest pilot nor Colin Kaepernick has a legal right to protest at work. I also think it is inappropriate for a pilot to use his position – and the captive audience on his plane – to proselytize or do politics.

“Come on Brandon!” is both a critique of the media and of President BidenJoe Biden Five Takeaways from a Bleak Night for Democrats Youngkin Wins Virginia Governor’s Race Michelle Wu Chosen as Boston’s First Mayor MORE, Nevertheless. Many in the media have embraced advocacy journalism and objectivity rejected in reporting; In his opinion, readers and viewers should now be educated rather than merely informed. Many reporters reject “both sidesism, ”The need to offer a balanced account of the news. Therefore, Twitter and most media companies killed stories like the Hunter Biden laptop scandal before the 2020 presidential election. After Biden’s election, some The media belatedly confirmed the authenticity of the laptop..

We live in an age of unprecedented censorship by private companies. The media have shown that you can have an effective state media without direct state regulation, because today’s media adhere to common narratives for ideological or economic interests, without the threat of state coercion.

The Biden administration and the National Science Foundation are funding research for a new tool designed to give the media an even more immediate response to “disinformation.” $ 750,000 grant to Temple University tracks news reports as part of a “Trust and Authenticity in Communication Systems” initiative. But the effort to “rebuild trust in the nation’s news” is based on the denunciation of content that could result in “unwanted negative results” such as “the unleashing of a polarizing and uncivilized discourse, the misinterpretation of the audience. , the production of misinformation and the perpetuation of false narratives. ” “These algorithms promise even greater consistency in messaging and framing the news.

In other words, “Brandon” will become even more popular, because such efforts are not really working.

Censorship and media bias have never changed minds or shaped lasting public opinion. You can’t make the audience hear “F *** Joe Biden!” but think “Come on Brandon!” Biden’s popularity has collapsed despite a protective and enabling means, with 71 percent of the public believe that the country is going in the wrong direction., According to a survey. The reason is that the media now sing with the same choral book, while most Americans have turned it off.

That brings us back to “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and the dangers of teasing. Many Americans interpreted the false account of race day as an act of outright contempt for viewers who were expected to simply believe what they were told was happening, despite seeing and hearing something else. Instead, they have now used that phrase as a rallying cry for defiance. It is their way of telling both the president and the media to “be careful with the music and the pace” because they march to a different tune.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find their updates on Twitter. @JonathanTurley.


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