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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

You can't handle the truth!

Jonathan Schwarz describes a dinner he attended with Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen back when Schwarz was a student at Yale in 1988:
Gary Hart had recently flamed out in the '88 presidential race because of Donna Rice. And Cohen told all us fresh-faced, ambitious, grotty youths this:
The Washington press corps had specifically tried to push Hart out of the race. It wasn't that he'd had extramarital affairs—everyone knew this was the norm rather than the exception among politicians. Hart wasn't at all unusual in this respect. Instead, Cohen said, it was because the press corps felt that Hart was "weird" and "flaky" and shouldn't be president. And when the Donna Rice stuff happened, they saw their opening and went after him.
At the time, I remember thinking this:

1. How interesting that the DC press corps knows grimy details about lots of politicians but only chooses to tell the great unwashed when they decide it's appropriate.

2. How interesting that the DC press corps feels it's their place to make decisions for the rest of America; ie, rather than laying out the evidence that Hart was weird, flaky, etc., and letting Americans decide whether they cared, they decided run-of-the-mill citizens couldn't be trusted to make the correct evaluation.

Now, this doesn't mean Gary Hart wasn't weird and flaky. I assume he was. To me, the desire to be President of the United States in itself means you're a psychopath who should never be President of the United States. Just like you have to be Catholic to be Pope, you have to be dangerous and sick to be president.

But the point is the powerhouse media and their politician lovemates truly do feel there are things normal, grubby Americans simply can't handle. Everything I've seen in my life confirms this—and it's true across the (extremely narrow) political spectrum.

If you're not part of their little charmed circle, believe me, all your worst suspicions about them are true. They do think you're stupid. They do lie to you. It's not necessarily because they fear and hate you, although they do. It's because they think you can't be trusted with the things they know—and if they're not monitoring you, you will break America.
(Note: The bold emphasis was Jonathan's; the italic emphasis was mine.)

I've had similar thoughts about anyone who really wants to be president--he or she has to be a psychopath. To even get close you've got to sell so many liens on your soul that you'll never get it back--which makes the job a lot easier for morons like the current pResident, who never had a soul to begin with. My last few years of following the news closely have convinced me of Jonathan's main point--the media is simply putting on a show, not to enlighten us, but to confuse and control us.