Former CBS Reporter Sharyl Attkisson
[Reflections on Sharyl Attkisson’s article “It looks like Obama did spy on Trump, just as he apparently did to me” published in The Hill on September 20, 2017 (incidentally, my granddaughter Rosario Nicole’s fourth birthday).]
Seminal moments in political history, when reexamined, all too often wind up having been crafted of smoke and mirrors and the excrement of male bovines, although why the latter has any relation to negative symbolism is a bit of a mystery, it apparently makes very decent fertilizer. If, when we discovered that we’ve been deceived, we reacted in a positive manner something good, as in the case of real “bullshit”, might come out of the experience but, unlike boomerangs, we appear to keep on keeping on, perhaps even asking for more. Kind of like Pinocchio’s girlfriend begging for more lies during cunnilingus, but with none of the fun.
Take the omnipresent nature of political corruption and the essential media role in assuring its survival. A multidimensional Midas-like experience where lead can be turned into gold or gold into led, depending on the needs of the moment. Perhaps, with the fusion of propaganda and entertainment to create the ultimate behaviorist manipulative tool, truth in the mainstream media just had to become, not relative, but utterly irrelevant, as it has. Wouldn’t it just be easier for both us and the ubiquitous “they” if they just did away with participatory governance and ended the charade? It gets so confusing!
Take partisan abuse of governance and privacy for political purposes, perversion of public institutions meant to protect us so that they instead now keep us in line; electoral imperatives, the FBI and CIA and NSA etc., used as electric cattle prods to keep us on the straight and narrow. Once upon a time a group of purportedly well-meaning old white guys got purportedly together in Philadelphia (in the background the ghost of W.C. Fields snickers) and, suspicious of the potential for tyrannical governance, sought to balance the power of the governors and the governed through intermediation by an independent free press (and also by permitting the citizenry to be armed to the teeth, metaphorically speaking). Unfortunately, almost a quarter of a millennium later, it’s the government that’s become armed to the teeth and the press, well, hmmm. What can one say? It belongs to someone but it’s not us, nor are our interests its interests. The cattle analogy is all too relevant, we are the herd and the mainstream media the cowboys (and cowgirls too, let’s not be sexist). And the slaughter houses need to be fed so we must be processed in attractive bundles for consumption by our betters, you know, the Wall Street crowd and their Hollywood pals, the K Street brotherhood and their cousins on Madison Avenue.
Remember when the cavalry in the form of the mainstream media came riding in to save us back in 72, you know, that Watergate affair; and the politicians in Congress got together to save democracy and liberty and apple pie, and they hung old Tricky Dickie out to dry; apparently repentant of their vacation during the Camelot years? Yeah, that great old battle that turned the tide at the Watergate. Some days, right?
Right? Never let that happen again. Why some dastardly bastards tried to spy on the good old boys at the DNC but they couldn’t walk without stumbling, couldn’t shoot straight and they got their comeuppance. That ought to have learned them!!! Won’t happen again with the mainstream media on the job.
[Cut to commercials, many, many commercials, and then to cartoons, throw in a few lampoons and perhaps a harpoon or two.]
[Cut to the present.]
Watergate? Perhaps it was just a hotel and a stage for keystone Cops
How times change, or do they?
Might it be that for half a century journalism has been a farce, political hackery and villainy; protection of those favored no matter what and persecution of their opponents, no matter what as well?
Sharyl’s article makes one reevaluate Watergate. Or at least it should. It’s hard given how history’s been written and by whom. Hmmmm.
At the time, Mario Cuomo, the future three term New York State governor and father of the current governor was one of my professors, very liberal and very ethical, very fair; then famous only because of his mediation skills. I vividly recall him observing in class one day (he tended to digress) that the media attacks on Nixon, while potentially leading to positive change, were focusing on things no different than those engaged in by both the Kennedy and especially the Johnson administrations. I was a bit shocked, a liberal Democrat seemingly defending Richard Millhouse Nixon. But those days, polarized as they seemed, were a lot different than today.
We revile Nixon as a war monger and as a person who acted as though he were above the law but his actions now seem nowhere as egregious as those of the Obama administration. Or truth be told, the Clinton or Bush administrations that preceded it. OK, or the Reagan and Bush administrations that preceded them. Only the Carter administration provided a buffer of sorts but it was rather short lived. The mainstream media cavalry seems to be on call only during Republican administrations though. One wonders why.
So, about the current administration, not really Republican but Republican-like, and the recently expired Obama administration, cancer-like refusing to relinquish power, transitions be damned. Two very bad eggs in a very frayed basket. Breakfast a looming disaster. Where the Hell’s the cavalry? Oh no, they took a wrong turn and it’s us they’re after; an uncrowned dowager pointing the way riding atop a handsome black stallion snorting fire, but discretely (the stallion, not the dowager).
So, it seems perhaps Nixon was not that bad, perhaps subversion of participatory democracy is all right when one really, really wants to win, he was just the wrong guy, at the wrong time.
Moles, smiling, pop out of hidden holes and clap. The seventeen-sided “Acronymicon”, more efficient and effective than the merely five sided Pentagon, has things well in hand. War is safe from its evilly naïve detractors, profits flowing freely. Bless you Barack, bless you, bless you, bless you.
Hold the phones a minute! What??? What about Watergate and privacy and liberty? What happened to that? Even the hyperbolically and hysterically criticized Trump administration has yet to do more than talk about terrible policies, its actions nowhere near approaching Obama administration violations of public trust for political purpose as disclosed in Sharyl’s article, at least not yet. But the mainstream media not only ignores and glosses over them, but converts them into something positive; a new theory of relativity.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
[Rachel Maddow’s grinning face interrupts the diatribe]:
“Don’t listen to this guy, he’s nuts, a conspiracy theorist, an alt.right/alt.left fake news farmer, only Wapo and the New York Times, CNN and MSNBC really count.
Alice all grown up
[The screen goes fuzzy, like on the old Twilight Zone television show, obviously a broadcast from the other side of the looking glass, Alice, in big Elton John glasses, interrupts the interrupter, she introduces a guest commentator from, of all places, Australia, but she’s married to an American citizen, she comments on the current state of politics in the United States]:
“Obama and his ilk do not represent the left or the right, they just represent ethical and moral corruption sugarcoated with promises they never intended to keep, illusory policies that obfuscated their goal of keeping solutions to social problems at arm’s length, all glossed in cinnamon by an utterly amoral media.”
“We progressives need to understand that and evade the flypaper with which we are constantly tempted.”
Ha ha ha ha; we all know it’s the Russians, they stole the election, couldn’t stand that Hillary was a woman. Ha ha ha, pay no attention to the fake news about President Obama bugging the Trump campaign to help Hillary, that would have been wrong and Democrats are congenitally unable to engage in wrongful conduct. Ha ha ha ha; stupid Trump! Did you get a look at Melania’s heels, now that’s a REAL scandal, Russian made we’ve been informed, another scoop. Ha ha ha.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen). Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.