An Act of Courage or Complicity?

The New York Times decision to publish an anonymous Op-Ed piece from a “senior White House official” is troubling. Reading the piece reinforced many beliefs I have of the Machiavellian nature of the Presidency. But on contemplation, a more troubling aspect of this action by an administration official bubbled to the surface. If we are to believe the motivation is to put country first over politics, the veil of anonymity casts a shadow of cowardice.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html

It would seem the writer is more concerned with protecting themselves, continuing the professed but inconsistently followed policies of the President, and maintaining Republican control of the White House than protecting the country from the deranged and dangerous President.

The American people, for reasons I still cannot fathom, elected Mr. Trump. He is the President of the United States. That the American people should breathe a sigh relief because unnamed, unknown, and unelected officials are manipulating government policy on our behalf is ludicrous.

This shadow government bears a strong resemblance to the “Deep state” so often blamed by the President for his problems.

533-0221040827-a.pngIf, as the writer points out, consideration has been given to invoking the 25th Amendment then that is the only path provided for removing an incompetent, deranged, or dangerous President.

When faced with a moral or ethical crisis within government it is expected those called to such service rise to the occasion and publicly take a stand. If that comes at the cost of one’s position such is the burden of public service.

The New York Times is not blameless in this. The media faces an unprecedented challenge to its survival. The public trend of seeking only that which confirms beliefs, no matter how foolish or wrongheaded, and disparaging different perspectives is dangerous.  There has rarely been a time in history where a free and respected media is more critical to our survival.

Protecting anonymity is often the only way to obtain critical information. The long-protected secret of Watergate, ‘Deep-throat,” is the classic example. But protecting the anonymity of individuals who offer evidence of a dangerous man at the head of our government and profess to know what is in our best interests is a conspiracy to undermine the very foundation of government.

The anonymous writer invoked the name of John McCain as someone we should use as a model for a government of compromise. I admired John McCain.  Millions of Americans admired John McCain. If McCain were still among us, I believe he’d be the first to demand the veil of anonymity be removed for the good of the country.

 

Fake News: You Get What You Pay For

The problem in America is not fake news; it’s not journalists with an agenda, it’s not secret backroom meetings of newspaper editors crafting the most critical, or the most praiseworthy, headlines about the President.

OrwellWe have met the enemy, and it is ourselves.

The New York Times, Boston Globe, LA Times, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and all the other media outlets are for-profit businesses. If nobody buys a newspaper or places ads in the paper to reach those who still buy them, they close.

Same with electronic media. If nobody buys ads on Fox or CNN or MSNBC, they cannot survive. The press provides a product to consumers. Demand drives decisions on content. The old print adage of “if it bleeds, it leads” still applies.

Americans want a flashy headline with not too much reading or attention draining effort to think about things.

They want a simple statement of a “truth” and damn the corroboration or facts.

“The President’s economic policy is driving the best economy in decades.”

Excellent, just as I knew he would. Time to switch to ESPN for the critical stuff.

“The President’s economic policy is the worst in decades, driving the debt to record heights.”

Ah, a disaster. Just like I knew it would. Time to Instagram my neighbor’s cat licking wine from a discarded bottle. LOL, ROFL, IMHO

The dumbing down of much of America has been slowly eroding our society for years. Our idea of the perfect news story is one that holds our attention span for milliseconds, reinforces pre-conceived beliefs and then switches to the famous for being famous, or sports, or Antartica’s Got Talent.

Our society is slowly disappearing into a head down, cell-phone screen hypnotized, zombie-like shell of its former self; insulated and cut-off from any intellectually challenging effort to think.

The ideal news channel is a 24-hour drive-by of a car accident. I can get a quick view of things. I don’t want to see any blood or body parts (unless it is of an opposing opinion.) It doesn’t interfere with my commute or plans for the day.  Then lets me carry on with my life.

Much like the time President Bush, Jr. announced Americans should continue going to the malls while American soldiers fought and died in Afghanistan and Iraq.

There’s nothing to concern ourselves with here. We got this. Don’t worry about it.

The President doesn’t like criticism. Who does? But if he didn’t understand the Presidency is a lightning rod for criticism, he shouldn’t have sought the job.

And remember this, George Orwell may not have been good with dates about when we would reach this point. But, he was prescient in seeing the danger of the government deciding what is real and what is fake.

It’s not the omnipresent Big Brother we need fear, it is our own surrender to mediocrity in thinking about the realities of this country and our responsibility to stay informed by a broad spectrum of ideas and opinions.

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

                                                                                                            George Orwell