Wow! It feels like it’s been 87 months (approximately) since I last posted! My apologies for the extended departure, though I must say that it almost felt like a vacation. “Almost” because there was a bit of stress involved. Frankly, I came across a number of small things here and there that I thought would be worth posting about, but not having posted in such a long time made me feel as though I should post anew only with something “big” — which, of course, I never had time to do.
So, scratch that! No “make up” posts, just a return to writing something when it catches my eye. My apologies to those in my area who have come out here frequently to see if there is anything new only to see the same old thing!
What crossed my mind today — and I have seen reflected in a few places — was the sad state of what we call news reporting, nowadays. This weekend, President Obama’s now-former “green jobs” adviser (or “czar” as some like to call ’em) Mr. Van Jones was forced (by superiors or circumstance) to resign.
There are two facts about this situation that are remarkable to me.
First, the fact that a man with the a history and a set of stated goals and political beliefs such as Mr. Van Jones’ could be given such an influential place in the halls of American government is absolutely astonishing to me. I’ve tried to come up with something that the previous administration could have done that would seem equivalent — perhaps appointing Dr. James Dobson as Education Czar or Pat Robertson as Director of Faith Based Initiatives, I don’t know. It’s hard to come up with something that quite fits the bill. And I’m speaking simply as one observing American political theater, not as someone with a dog in the hunt… Even many on the political left apparently saw the appointment of Van Jones as a “hopeful” turning point in politics: moving us to a place where fiery radicalism — even deep and apparently never-disavowed sympathies towards communism and “revolution” — were not an obstacle to striding within the halls of power and influencing policy. (I pick this up from the David Sirota quote in the WSJ’s excellent opinion piece, “Obama and the Left”.)
But the other story is that the “standard” news sources generally dropped the ball. Or more than that, they seemed to have been unwilling to even walk onto the playing field.
The President’s choice of Van Jones to head up one of his signature issues, now empowered by mega-bucks from the “stimulus” giveaway, is newsworthy as far as I am concerned. But the growing public unrest about the man and what his presence may (or may not) imply about the values of the President who chose him is certainly newsworthy by almost anyone’s standards — a truth validated by the fact that the unrest has brought about Mr. Jones’ resignation. People do not resign from positions of power like this over non-newsworthy, run-of-the-mill grousing. Where was the “fourth branch” of government in all of this?
James Taranto well summarizes the embarrassing truth:
As the Washington Examiner’s Byron York reported on Friday, neither the New York Times, the Washington Post, nor the evening newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC had so much as mentioned the controversy. Those who relied on the traditional mainstream media, that is to say, first learned of Jones’s existence upon his resignation. Glenn Beck is now the adversary media; the traditional press can scarcely even be bothered to report the news.
Even I — admittedly, not as sharp a fellow as I would like to be — realized that if the greater public knew what Mr. Jones’ background and stated goals he wouldn’t last and would have to resign.
Perhaps the major news outlets concluded that the situation was not newsworthy. The fact of Mr. Van Jones’ resignation is bears witness that such a conclusion is false. It was newsworthy in a big way; and it went virtually uncovered by the “standard bearing” sources of record. The New York Times proclaims that it publishes “All the News that’s Fit to Print” yet a public outcry grows large enough over a few weeks to take down a handpicked and influential adviser to the President on one of his signature issues, and it isn’t newsworthy until after the fact? (Byron York makes it seem even more ludicrous.)
I’m not trying to be political. Sure, I have personal opinions about the President’s choice of Jones, and about his several other czars — even about the proliferation of such czars. The weeks ahead should prove to be interesting political theater with regard to such guys and gals, as the public’s attention is beginning to turn to them and to what they might imply about the views of the president who has selected them. Few will think about what their presence says about our entire political system, itself, but maybe some will; most will see them as a chance to attack one party in an effort to benefit the other. I’ve said before that I believe America is prophesied to face a crushing lack of leadership, and it will be due to her unwillingness to seek the face of God and national repentance, not due to any particular party in or out of power.
But anyone of any political stripe would have to agree on these two things: (1) the fact that someone with a history and a set of stated goals and agendas such as Van Jones’ could be placed in such a position of influence and power in an American President’s administration is astonishing, and (2) the major news outlets that are supposed to represent the “fourth branch” of government completely abdicated their presumed responsibility. They promise to give us backstage access in political theater, yet here they failed to even open the curtains for the show, itself.
I used to think that talk of the mainstream media’s growing irrelevance was a bit overblown. I figured that you could still get news there, but you’d just have to remember that it would be biased. But now I’m starting to wonder. The “Media-Powers That Be” often criticize those who get their “news” from opinion sources: Talk radio, blogs, etc. But how can they legitimately criticize such folks when major news stories are reported only in those very sources?