Next time you’re scrolling through your feed during one of the many inevitable political crises to come, pay special attention to how often you see the meme of a dog sitting in a burning house, saying, “This is fine.” Those two panels from KC Green’s 2013 webcomic “On Fire” perfectly encapsulate and poke fun at the prevailing attitude of most politicians. Their house—and their legacy—is burning to the ground around them, and they’re acting as if it’s any other morning. But, as a new video from Vox explains, this predilection for normalcy can have dangerous consequences, especially when it’s adopted by the mainstream media.
It seems, whether they’re covering inner White House turmoil, the GOP healthcare clusterfuck, or a looming constitutional crisis, cable newscasters will use the same neutral, even-keeled approach as they would for any other political story. One would assume a journalist acting as a unbiased, fact-focused party would be a good thing, but as Vox notes, there comes a point where acting like everything is “business as usual” becomes its own form of bias. When they’re casually chuckling at a tweet from the president in which he undermines his own attorney general, journalists are subconsciously telling the audience, “This is fine. This is normal. The house isn’t on fire.”