When we were in high school, we all read the classic poem “If,” a spot-on description of maturity by Rudyard Kipling. It starts, “If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you...” This line was written in 1895, but we face the same challenge in America in 2018, as the vast majority of those in the mainstream media and popular culture appear to have gone out of their ever-loving minds.
If you’d like to read the entire poem and contemplate the nature of real character, a rare and wonderful thing, here it is. Then come back, and we can resume our discussion. Don’t worry; you will not be tested afterwards.
Now, back to the media. The press started losing their heads the night Donald Trump was elected President, and as time goes on and the “crimes” they want to see him impeached for are found to have been done TO him, not BY him, and as he stands on the brink of perhaps some of the most stunning accomplishments in decades, they finally have gone completely insane.
We saw the insanity at the White House Correspondents Dinner, which went completely off the rails with the choice of a “comedy” performer who didn’t realize that abortion jokes are a comedy killer and who personally attacked political adversaries with a venom never seen before in that type of show. It was so shameful, they may not even have the dinner next year. Who besides these cold-blooded piranha-fish would attend?
We saw the insanity in the way news outlets fed on NBC’s untrue story (Fake News!!!) about investigators “wiretapping” Michael Cohen’s office. They went wild at MSNBC and CNN, speculating breathlessly about what might have been taped and what problems this posed for the President, and on and on. (Again, they behaved like the cold-blooded, toothy little piranha-fish they are.) Not surprisingly, NBC was shown to be wrong; Cohen’s phone was apparently not tapped, though investigators did get a record of who called whom and the length of the calls. I’d make the argument that they shouldn’t have had even THAT; it certainly could be useful to investigators trying to set up a perjury trap with a subject –- say, a sitting U.S. President –- who didn’t know they had it and wasn’t prepared for questions about it. But, the point is, in their zeal to find something dangerous to Trump, NBC failed to get the story right.
We saw insanity again at Thursday’s press briefing, the day after new Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, in an interview with Sean Hannity, made what many in the media interpreted to be a contradiction of the claim that the President had made no payments to Stormy Daniels. (In fact, it’s perfectly plausible that Michael Cohen made the payment to her himself, as he said, and later was reimbursed without Trump knowing the details.) The reporters in the room went completely out of control, unable to stop asking different forms of the same ridiculous question that would have required the press secretary to act, essentially, as Trump’s legal counsel. (Full disclosure: the press secretary is my offspring, but I would be saying exactly the same thing no matter whose offspring was at the podium.) Over and over, they attacked her credibility.
Kipling had a line for that situation, too: “If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools...” It’s a trap Sarah can see a mile away, and they are the fools for even trying. This press secretary has said she prays and reads devotionals before her briefings; I wouldn’t be surprised if this poem were one of them. (The poem ends, “you’ll be a man, my son,” but anyone with half a brain takes the words “man” and “son” to be gender-inclusive.)
Some good news on the media front: not everyone in that profession is stark raving loony. Here’s a great piece in National Review that acknowledges the craziness of the “resistance” but details how the investigations are falling apart and singles out a few real journalists worthy of the Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on Comey, Clapper, the “dossier” and all that madness. Spoiler alert: contenders include Mollie Hemingway, Tucker Carlson and Mark Penn, three professionals who have all kept their heads so well that I’d guess they remember their Kipling.
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