As I write this there are many on the political right, that are awaiting, with breathless anticipation, James O’Keefe and Project Veritas’ release of some new scandalous – probably nefariously obtained – outtakes from CNN. Twitter is all ‘a twitter,’ with the the excitement. Facebook is all aflush. What will this dynamic, courageous, intrepid, controversial, investigative journalist reveal? One senses the ocean of talk radio being chummed with the blood of the likes of Jake Tapper and Don Lemon and Wolf Blitzer. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Ooooooooh. Can’t you just feel it? I can, and it feels so……well….errr…mmmm…what’s the word?….”juvenile” maybe?
I fully expect O’ Keefe’s revelations will be far less enlightening than they will be akin, to the Junior High bully being verbally “burned.” I expect it will also have about the same historical effect, that is to say, none.
I mean really, what are they (these politically rightists) or any of us for that matter, really expecting to learn? That CNN is biased? That they are really biased? Or is it that they are really, really, really, really, biased? As I see it, we already know that, right? This isn’t news, is it? We also know, don’t we, that FOX is too? Right? You know that don’t you? And so is The Washington Post, and so is The New York Times, The New York Post, The Washington Times, Slate, Breitbart, Huffington Post, all of them are biased one way or the other. You know this, right? To be fair, some more than others, but they are all biased. They always have been. And, oh, by the way, so am I, and so are you. We’d like to think we aren’t. I’m not sure why we like to think this. Perhaps it’s rooted in our wanting to think we are smarter than others. That we are somehow better able than others to wade through the “facts” and that our conclusions are somehow more objectively arrived at than the conclusions of those we disagree with. In reality though, I’m pretty sure “we all see what we want to see and disregard the rest.” But I digress……
As far as this CNN/Project Veritas thing goes, we know what we’re gonna see, and it is that CNN is biased. The right will be aghast, and commence with their finger-wagging outrage, and the left will begin their dutiful character assassination of O’Keefe, and begin (if it isnt already in progress) their planned take-down of someone on the right. Back and forth. Back and forth. Blah, blah, blah. On it goes. There may be, indeed, something new, but it will certainly not be “News.”
I’m lead to believe, though, that all of this bias is OK. Despite what some might think, there is nothing in our American tradition, or in our constitution, that indicates things should be different. The press has never been fair, and there is no constitutional mandate for impartiality…..or accuracy, for that matter. In fact, it would seem to me, after nearly 60 years of observation, that “gotcha” journalism is the tradition, and biased accuracy, the expectation – though not the requirement. The only constitutional requirement is that the government stay out of it. This is not to say that they, the government, isn’t also aloud to put forth their own version of things, and to “hit back” as it were, but they can’t stop what’s said, or legally prevent folks from saying it, even if it’s totally wrong or unfair. These traditions and requirements (or lack thereof) are not without drama, but this way of getting information to the public does seem to have worked fairly well so far. At the very least it enlivens the conversation at Martin’s Cigar Shop and Smoker’s Lounge, where I will soon be taking my place.
So, I guess we’ll just have to let James O’ Keefe have another 15 minutes of fame. Enjoy it, be outraged, ignore it, whatever….but you heard it here first, this won’t amount to a “hill of beans.” 100 years from now – no wait, 3 months from now, it’ll all be forgotten. Enjoy your day. The Truth may be out there, but I’m not sure where to send you to find it. Right now I’ve gotta go trim a bowl, and load a kiln.
You can see some of my own pursuit of truth and beauty at www.carlspots.com