It may surprise you to know, but I have been wrong in the past. Dashingly wrong. Stupefyingly wrong. So wrong that the mistake could have threatened my future. So wrong that an immediate and heartfelt apology was all that would suffice.
I’m sure this has happened to most people. Humans are able to be counted on to, if nothing else, screw up spectacularly, in the most entertaining fashion.
An apology may or may not solve the issue. You may or may not be able to salvage your reputation, your relationships, your life. If you work hard enough, and are blessed with forgiveness, you may be able to do that.
But that’s for the real world, the place we proles inhabit. There’s another world much more rarified, where we’re not allowed, and where being “right” doesn’t count for as much as one would think it should.
It’s a peculiarity of the American ruling class that people who have been wrong time and again about, well, everything are still taken seriously. They’re still invited on “news” shows to give opinions. Various sectors seek their counsel. Rather than fading into penury, they reap the welfare circuit available only to those who muck up magnificently, but have the right connections.
This past week saw American corporate media at one of its criminally shameful worst. And there is gross competition for how low they can go. Brian Ross of ABC news led the pack in exploiting the grief of James Foley’s family to push utterly offensive nonsense that the White House was derelict in pursuing efforts to rescue James Foley from the grip of the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL/IS). At the heart of this spurious attack is the media’s sensational headline that Foley’s mother claims that the Obama administration threatened them with prosecution if they paid ransom money to the militants to secure their son’s release.
Bam! That framing was all that was needed to shift focus away from the heinous actions of the militants, to the virulent and cynically profitable blame-Obama-for-any-and-all-horror-that-happens-in-the-world syndrome in our political zeitgeist. And like clockwork, the rest of the media, politicians, and many commentators were baited and hooked by this media scam, including, I’m sorry to say, the Foley family itself.
So, Jake Tapper got a bunch of praise for his reporting from Ferguson last night.
Twitter was waxing lyrical about him.
Why? Mainly because he described what he was witnessing.
It struck me that when we start commending any member of today’s MSM for simply reporting what their eyes are seeing, it’s a hell of a sign of how little we expect from them.
In fairness, he editorialized too, which was the main reason for the praise:
“Nobody is threatening anything. Nobody is doing anything. None of the stores here that I can see are being looted. There is no violence.”
“These are armed police. With machine – not machine guns- semiautomatic rifles, with batons, with shields, many of them dressed for combat. Now why they’re doing this, I don’t know. Because there is no threat going on here. None that merits this.”
“There is nothing going on on this street right now that merits this scene out of Bagram. Nothing. So if people wonder why the people of Ferguson, Missouri are so upset, this is part of the reason. What is this? This doesn’t make any sense.”
Yes, we’ve been hearing and reading reporting similar to – and often way more powerful than this – mainly of the citizen kind, since the day Michael Brown was murdered, but better late than never from someone in the MSM.
Are you sensing a but?
It’s a big one, too.
CNN’s coverage from Ferguson all last night was intermingled with repeated references to Tapper’s Woodward and Bernstein-esque scoop: that a NEW version of events, that differed from that of the witnesses, had emerged!1!1!
(ie Darren Wilson’s version of events – Well, blow me down! – although they chose not to highlight that inconvenient snippet of info)
CNN kept reminding us, all through the night, of this ‘bombshell’:
It wasn’t a scoop, of course. Tapper had simply picked up on a call by a ‘Josie’ to Dana Loesch’s show (that ‘Josie’ chose to call Loesch says it all, really) when she said she was a friend of Wilson and had his version of events.
So, that’s all it was – repeat: a friend of the cop who shot an unarmed Michael Brown six times, twice in the head, was passing on what he himself said had happened.
But this is how Tapper hyped it on Twitter:
No mention of the caller being a friend of Wilson who was simply passing on his version of events.
The great irony of the USA; we will go far abroad to protect the rights of selected persecuted minorities, we will speak about fair elections, we will condemn others for their failures in human rights, while in our own country we have long been guilty of these sins ourselves. The leaders and citizens of other countries are well aware of this hypocrisy. When they sit across negotiating tables they will have as ammunition the long voting lines and all of the moves to hinder and deny the right to vote, the many tales of members of an oppressed minority gunned down in the streets, unarmed, peacefully protesting citizens being persecuted by heavily armed police (so much for our much-vaunted constitutional rights), a national media, financed and controlled by a small group of wealthy white men, and a white majority that hates and does all that it can to marginalize and destroy a small minority (that is still less than 13% of the overall population).
What can we dare to say to others when we have not cleaned up our own house, when we are guilty of the same crimes that we dare to take other countries to task? It is more than time that we truly take up all of our country’s ills and make a final push to cure them. For far too long, the sores have been covered with band aids, but it is so easy to pull them off and to see the infection underneath. When Buddhist monks, Amnesty International, and the war-torn and savaged Palestinans are compelled to reach out to help American citizens who are being persecuted from all sides, shows just how bad our unresolved racial issues are. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I love this country; I wish that my country loved me.
The previous President, after the attacks of 9/11, engineered a war with a state which, though abysmal to its own people, had had no direct or indirect link with any terror attack on the United States. It was, if anything, a mortal enemy of the group which carried out the attacks, as that group saw the ruling regime as corrupt and un-Islamic. As the history of that war is being written, the regime sought to stave off war, willing to give the previous President anything he wanted, save for the regime’s destruction. Of course, the regime as it existed stood in the way of the grand plan to remake the Middle East; its destruction, not its containment, was the goal. Anything short of political—and literal—suicide would not suit the ultimate purpose. So the country and the world were lied into a war, which cost nearly 5,000 American lives, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths; a war which was supposed to last a few weeks and pay for itself instead dragged on for nearly a decade, costing over $1 trillion. And the Middle East, far from being remade into a collection of benevolent American satrapies, teetered on the edge of all-out war for the eight years of the George W. Bush administration.
That President, however, was never asked to apologize for the disaster he had wrought. And if ever he had been asked to apologize in a face-to-face interview, he never offered one: no apology for the countless dead, for the treasure wasted, for the lives destroyed. It’s just not the done thing.