We talk about what people are talking about — albeit always respectfully. And so…
There will be no current charges.
Before speaking — or semi-civilly sharing “there’s still time!” — note that I have not identified of whom we speak…
If in regard to Pres. Trump, we know the special investigation under Robert Mueller has concluded that “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” The report has been given to the U.S. Attorney General, who will decide what is legal for the public to know.
If in regard to actor Jussie Smollett, we know the charges were dropped yesterday in an unscheduled hearing. Smollett then declared he has been “been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.” Note that a judge has granted a motion to seal all details of the cases, meaning the public will not know more.
Do we wish what happened was different?
Do we wish for more consequences for each?
Do we wish for more consequences for only one?
Why would we treat the situations differently?
And why do we sit here thinking we know better and we know what really happened and we know what exact consequences should be administered?
With all due respect, I find myself a bit uncomfortable with all we claim to know.
Let me not suggest that one must react the same; my question is more as to why — and if we are aware of what other motivations — our own and the media’s — have been in play. Unfortunately, we have accepted a developing societal ambiguity that strongly influences our reaction, as we seem to have muddied the middle between politics and the rule of law; we no longer consistently recognize — and sometimes not even value — the distinct difference.
Take a glance at the media’s reaction less than 24 hours after the announced completion of Robert Mueller’s investigation. Look solely at the headlines from two of New York’s most popular papers…
From the NY Post: “The Collapse of the Democrats’ Big Lie”
From the NY Times: “Trump’s Shamelessness Was Outside Mueller’s Jurisdiction”
Here are two of the most subscribed-to newspapers in the country; each headline is evident of a more politically-motivated mantra than of a factual account of the rule of law.
Friends, no doubt this is a frequent, Intramuralist refrain; it is also a sincere refrain. If your news is coming solely or primarily from left or right leaning sites, you are not getting an accurate representation of the news. That means CNN, HuffPo, WaPo, Palmer Report, MSNBC and more are manipulating your emotion from the left; Breibart, The Blaze, Drudge Report, FOX News, the Washington Examiner and more are manipulating your emotion from the right.
Want a more trusted news source? Try the Associated Press, C-SPAN, The Economist, Reuters, and USA Today. None are perfect, but each is believed to be far less biased than those listed above. The bias of the others is blurring the distinction between politics and the rule of law.
Also amidst those above headlines, the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal (CJ) ran the following editorial, entitled “Journalism Dies When Reporters Choose Sides.” They shared the insight of one of journalism’s most recognized, twentieth-century voices, Ted Koppel. Koppel spoke of what the news has now become: “We are not the reservoir of objectivity that I think we were.”
“… The Left always cites Fox News in this regard. He [Koppel] singled out the Washington Post and the New York Times, saying that they have gone overboard in their bias, transforming themselves into anti-Trump advocates. ‘We are not talking about the Washington Post [or New York Times] of 50 years ago,’ Koppel said. ‘We’re talking about organizations that… have decided, as organizations, that Donald J. Trump is bad for the United States’…
When journalists don’t consider themselves bound to old norms of objectivity, there comes an absence of restraint that is inherently corrupting…
Koppel made clear that he does not disagree with the verdict that Trump is ‘bad for the United States.’ He means only that the Post and Times abandon their journalistic responsibility when they take sides so blatantly…”
Hence, the quandary and the questions for each of us:
Are we recognizing the difference between politics and rule of law?
And do both we and the media even care?