Journalists: Get Off Your Ass And Report!
I finally got around to reading my Economist from the end of the year.
Among the stories featured:
In the Congo, President Kabila refused to sanction an election leading him to declare that he must stay on as President (at least long enough to ensure that his money is safe). Probably another two years. The Constitution says he shoulda left after his two terms ended last month.
In Poland, the ruling “Populists” (rather appropriately known as PIS) announced “reforms” including barring journalists (except for government-run outlets full of PIS loyalists) from speaking to MP’s in thr Parliament building. This led to a protest, which in turn led the PIS members to lock themselves in another room and pass a budget in secret.
Both these stories chilled me to the bone.
In the past, it would have been easy to shrug at both stories and say “ehh, it’ll never happen here.” But today, both actually sound like plausible outcomes in the US of A. Not precisely, but similar situations cannot be counted out.
It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to think that the US Republican Party believes it’s more important to hold on to power than it is to continue our democracy. In the past year, we’ve had a Senate that refused to due its constitutional duty and replace a dead Supreme Court Justice, a GOP Presidential nominee saying he would respect the results only if he won, and a North Carolina legislature that neutered the Democratic Governor with a sweeping power grab. Does anyone really think it’s going to get better from here?
But the scariest thing is that American journalists are not prepared to take on what’s headed their way.
Example one, the press conference: a repulsive display of piss-poor journalism from the laziest bunch of asshats in the realm of reporting, the White House Press Corps. Every one of them should be replaced immediately. They spent more time laughing at Trump’s jokes than they did probing his decision to - in essence -hold on to his companies. Trump played them and they seemed not to care.
From the NYT to CNN to NBC and NPR, everyone is acting like the Trump administration isn’t that different and requires no radical change in style or substance.
This is dangerous.
I’d say this is like if Huey Long had won the Presidency in 1932 instead of FDR (though Huey Long at least wanted to help the little guy).
An egomaniacal demagogue who lies at every turn is moving into the White House. A con man who cheats to win, who thinks women are objects for his pleasure, who has never once in his entire life shown concern for anyone but himself is the President of the United States.
Journalists (especially the TV variety) need to wake up from their stupor. They need to investigate and probe and use every tool at their disposal to expose what’s coming.
This is not politics as usual. It’s time for journalists to think of themselves as adversaries of the government. Because lemme tell you, that’s how the new powers-that-be look at you.