Thursday, February 28, 2008

Do They Really Think I'm That Stupid?

First of all, let me say that, unless I have some type of epiphany myself, I will not vote for John McCain. There is a 94% chance that the name I check in November has not yet even been announced. So this is not a McCain campaign ad, nor one for anyone else that you see every night on national news.

This, rather, is about an American institution's self-redefinement (I just invented a word, I think). Once, the Press was in the business of informing us. Remember Walter Cronkite signing off every evening, "And that's the way it is..." It might not have been, but everyone still thought that was the purpose of the Press back then.

Somehow, in the past 30 years, the Press has decided that, instead of reporting the news, it is supposed to create news. I will quickly clarify that a free American Press has always been in the middle of history. Thomas Nast was able to topple some big and corrupt officials with his journalism -- and sometimes, it was just pictures. There is nothing as important as having someone "on the spot" to tell us what is actually going on. Sometimes, that clarification, that truth, is what actually makes history.

That is the reason the First Amendment protects a free and uncontrolled Press. That's why I keep capitalizing "Press" as I write this. It is a valid and necessary institution, and that is why the framers of the Constitution provided for its protection, along with some other necessary institutions in the First Amendment.

Then there's the New York Times. I think their motto is, "We make our own news so we don't have to look for any." Take a recent and now-well-known scenario. Some time in this long, boring, ineffective, drawn-out thing that some people say resembles a presidential campaign, the NYT decided to endorse some candidates. One was John McCain. Everyone probably knows that when the NYT endorses a Republican, it's really saying "This one would do the least damage to our own ideology." No one expects them to really like the candidate, and that was true with McCain, and everybody knew it; not only that, no one really had a problem with it. Most Republicans would rather not get a NYT endorsement anyway. It's kind of like being endorsed by Farrakhan or the KKK, but that's another story.

The problem is what the NYT did to its own endorsement. The "breaking story" last week about McCain's supposed "affair," which obviously is cooked up with the poorest National Enquirer style of pseudo-journalism, was already in the works months ago. The NYT planned on running this story months ago. When they published their supportive endorsement of McCain, they already knew they would soon publish this other story.

"Hypocrisy" is an over-used word, but I guess it will have to do here. The plan is so transparent that even some hick backwoods boy with an accent like me can see through it. The NYT endorsed McCain even though they don't want him to win. They set him up as a straw man, looking for someone they thought would be easy to beat.

This is okay in chess. A queen sacrifice can win a game, but nobody expects ethics in chess. The story was irresponsible and disgusting for its content, its intent, and its timing. However, I think the story was disgusting, most of all, because it insults the intelligence of the American electorate. To think we wouldn't notice this. People from all sides of the political spectrum recognize what happened here.

Is this enough for the NYT? No, they still have other ammo. Today, we read that the NYT now doubts McCain's legal ability to be president: He was born in the Canal Zone. Of course, he was born to American parents in an American-occupied zone, parents who were on active military duty. But the NYT doubts McCain's qualifications for president because he wasn't born in the continental United States.

Perhaps the strangest part of this is that a paper with such an esteemed reputation probably knew where McCain was born. So unless they have had a sudden change in viewpoint, this paper, such a bastion of intelligence and understanding, Endorsed a candidate for president, knowing he was unqualified to fill the position.

I'll add that I have no problem with McCain's heritage here. He has a legal right to run for president. He was born to American parents on official American soil. But the NYT says there is doubt. However, they endorsed him for president. Isn't that admitting to some type of overt stupidity?

I was, however, in reading the "endorsement" article of the NYT, surprised to find that they never used the word "qualified" to describe McCain. In fact, the article says what I have stated before: "We really hate him, but we don't hate him as much as we do all the other Republicans." If you want to read the article for yourself, you can find it at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/opinion/25fri2.html?ref=opinion

I'm not going to vote for McCain. But if I was "undecided" and considering him, the NYT would have just convinced me. Their brazen transparency, and their willingness to strap a bomb to one of their own candidates is not journalism. I'm trying to think of a word for it, and one fails me. But it's not journalism. And the NYT is not the Press. If it deserves to be published at all, it should be at the Wal-Mart check out stand, where they put all the other publications that I never buy, but read the covers for entertainment as I wait my turn to pay China some money. I use the word "entertainment" here loosely, like when I say that reruns of the Brady Bunch are entertainment.

1 comment:

rymn said...

wow, I had originally figured that you would have to look a little deeper at the article the NYT published to find what you were talking about. You are correct though. It blatantly says what you say it does. It is rather obvious too that they are shooting themselves in the foot with this article. My mother being a journalist (and myself being a columnist for my local campus newspaper), I do know something about the timing of columns and such.

Also, on a separate sort of note. I grow weary of the constant talk about the war in Iraq. I know, as most of the public does, that it has not been handled and continues to not be handled properly. Yet, history tells us that when politics gets involved in war, things drag on and victories are cheapened and vague. I would really wish that our candidates could talk about some new issues, something that I might have a part in affecting under the leadership of a bold leader (but this is just one of my small rants...).

I really do enjoy your column here. It causes me to dig deeper into things.

Keep up the good work.

~Rymn Wolfe