One good thing to keep in mind in this era of escalating frenzies is to wait some time before reacting to any news story. More and more the first reporting of a seemingly straight news story is either underdone or flat-out wrong. There is no sense in spending the calories whipping up some righteous outrage for something that will need a “correction” in a few hours or in a few days. Far better to sit back and wait for things for things to play out before hopping on Twitter and re-tweeting what will be discovered to be patent falsehoods.
In the old days, before Dan Rather was outed as a deceptive, deceitful fraud, we the people had a degree of faith in the News. Reverence for the news was taught to us by our fathers and grandfathers, who spend evenings with their heads—maps in hand—bent toward the wireless to hear of troop movements. The News, during wartime was a way for the homefront to connect with the troops, their brothers and uncles and fathers, and to root for victory. And the News was disseminated in a fairly measured way—it wasn’t that reporters and editors were lying, but they would embargo a story for the safety of the national interest. It was understood that whatever was reported on the front page was being reported to the so-called enemy. But it was also understood that reporting would be as fair as possible under the circumstances.
Today, while we still have wars—albeit more distant, less personal, and where victory doesn’t amount to very much—the News isn’t very interested in troop movements or shifting alliances. They are interested in Getting Trump. They have spend untold resources and man-hours to frame the man as weak, petty, unbalanced, daft, stupid and utterly impeachable.
Up to now, the News has fed this narrative at such a fever pitch that a strata of voters believe in “Russian collusion”—that somehow, a presidential candidate that had less than 1% chance of winning the general election was able to draw upon the nearly unlimited resources of Vladamir Putin to pull off an astounding victory. The story of the presidential candidate who had a 99% chance of winning, who had a demonstrated relationship with Vladamir Putin, and whose husband was enriched by $500,000 for a speech to a bank in Moscow, is of absolutely no interest. And this doesn’t even begin to raise questions about Uranium One. If you haven’t heard of Uranium One, it is because the reporters of your go-to news sources are particularly and spectacularly lazy.
In the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller’s office’s unprecedented correction to a Buzzfeed article about what Trump said or didn’t say, some are “waking up,” to use the vernacular, and wondering why they were so susceptible to believing the News as it is breathlessly presented. Yes, the moment when one realizes that one has been duped, and duped big-time, is difficult. The first few swallows of pride are bitter. But with a cleansing quaff of Truth, not only the palate—but the eyes—clear, and the world can looked on anew.
On the heels of the Buzzfeed debacle was the report of the Catholic high school boys from Kentucky showing bad behavior or disrespect to a drum-beating Native American. What is devastating about this episode was how eager the conservative blue-check brigade was to pile on, including the organizers of The March for Life, to defame the teens who traveled a great distance to stand for the unborn. The negative comments reverberated throughout the Twitter-verse until someone had the sense to view the entire video, and then there was a collective belated oopsie. There was no bad behavior or disrespect exhibited by the boys from Covington.
Sorry, but oopsie isn’t going to cut it. For the media that is unabashedly liberal and left, they don’t have to apologize (expect perhaps on the advice of counsel). If they do issue a sincere apology and show honest contrition without coercion, the credit will be theirs. It must be noted that mainstream reporting is perfectly at ease in painting strong, patriotic, Christian, pro-life young men as lowlife weasels.
But for the conservative commentators who eagerly boarded the bandwagon—shame, shame, shame. Why? Why did you throw away disregard for the Truth so easily? Why did you believe the initial reports? What happened to your critical thinking skills? Did you think you were going to warm yourself to the mainstream media? Did you think they would see your tweet, and respond with “Hey, Mr. Blue (conservative) Checkmark, why don’t you come up and see me some time?”
Guess what, Mr. Blue (conservative) Checkmark? The liberal left hates you. They’ve always hated you, and they always will hate you. Even as you contort yourself into the uncomfortable and unnatural shape of a Never Trumper, they will still hate you. Even if you do a full conversion and start calling for the death of white people and buying stock in Proctor & Gamble (parent of Gillette) they will still hate you. It is better that you come to grips with the level of this distaste, and rise above it—and not to bend your opinions to the will of your enemy. As you might have already observed, when you dance to their pipe, it doesn’t end well.
For the rest of us, for the readers and followers of News, the lesson is as it always had been—don’t form an opinion at the first reporting. Wait for the story to play out, and wait for the weaknesses and biases to emerge. Don’t fall for fear porn. Don’t leap for immediate calls to action. Don’t overreact. Everything will all be all right.
Please join me in welcoming Gaudia Certaminis, a keen observer of the times.