THE CLINTON SCANDAL AND THE PRACTICALLY PERFECT PRESS | 1999-01-23
Every person who engages in power politics lives in a glass cage.
With one complete, total, and absolute exception.
From congressmen to lobbyists to big businessmen or anybody else, every aspect of the lives of people with public influence is an open book. Every journalist has the right to know everything about them.
But what does anybody know about the media bureaucracy itself?
What are you allowed to ASK about the personal lives of these people? It is our national myth that politicians are mere humans, but the press is practically perfect. The press alone has no biases, the press alone is incorruptible. The press lives only to inform the public and expose all evil with perfect impartiality.
Because of the incorruptibility of the press, the first amendment protects us all. But no one is allowed to check to see whether those who now own that amendment, the national media bureaucracy, has anything wrong with it.
Not surprisingly, this is just the way the press wants things to stay.
If anyone started looking into the personal lives or the personal political opinions of members of the press, it would be called Pure Intimidation. It would be called McCarthyism.
All the respectable conservatives would agree.
Freedom of the Press in America means 1) the right of the media to know everything about everybody else and, 2) the protection of the press from anybody knowing anything about them.
The press, in case any living person hasn't noticed it, is no longer what it was in 1787. It is one huge bureaucracy, where no member of the press ever reveals anything about another member of the press.
What if Big Oil were taking over every single local service station the way national newspaper syndicates are taking over all the local newspapers?
What if conglomerates the size of Time-Life were in the midst of a national takeover of any other local industries the way the Big Press is gaining control over all local news outlets? Does anyone think the press would assume that every aspect of this titanic nationwide takeover was entirely legitimate and honest and OK? Wouldn't there be at least some suspicion that maybe something somewhere was not being done perfectly?
Wouldn't there be some breath, some small hint, of undue pressure somewhere? There would be a lot more than that. The press would be raising bloody hell. We are having just such a titanic takeover in the national media. Will there be any suspicion about this entire, coast-to-coast, multibillion-dollar process? No way, Jose.
Has anybody heard the slightest hint that the Big Press could possibly be doing anything that wasn't highly ethical?
No way, Jose.
Who is going to question it? Liberals who control the press?
Respectable conservatives who are given that "respectable" title BY the liberal press?
No. No major liberal institution is worried about the tame little cowards known as respectable conservatives.
The national media bureaucracy has nothing to fear from their kept opposition.
But the national media are scared to death right now.
From little Geraldo Rivera, who is on tiny MSNBC trying to become a real journalist, up to Sam Donaldson at the peak, revelations about the personal life of Clinton are causing genuine terror.
There is more to it than just liberal bias.
The sheer desperation of Rivera to protect Clinton is too intense, too personal. There has got to be more to it.
I think the fear is that, if we lose respect for the president's privacy, we may soon lose respect for the media's special right to privacy.
Under Kennedy, it was understood that the President could commit adultery with a Communist if he wanted to, and his privacy was absolute. At least as long as the president was a liberal.
That absolute cloak of secrecy is being lifted.
The question that immediately occurs to anyone in the media is going to be
"Just how high is this curtain going to go?"
In other words, "Will I be next?"
After all, there is nothing that is actually sacrosanct about the private actions of the public figure who happens to be President of the United States. Congressmen who got caught doing sleazy things have always routinely lost the next election. The exemption of the President was merely a matter of a custom that was once unquestioned.
But the absolute protection of the press from any publicity is also merely the result of a custom that is presently unquestioned!
One thing no Great Defender of the First Amendment ever mentions is that, when the first amendment was adopted, newspapers were often viciously opposed to each other. The editor of one paper would not hesitate to tell EVERYTHING about the personnel of the other paper. Back then, the public was kept informed on the press, just as it was kept informed on other things. Today's media bureaucracy is totally different from the press that the first amendment talked about. And no one EVER mentions that today.
Members of the press are public figures. Many, many of them have more power and make a hell of a lot more money than anybody in politics. But unlike anybody in politics or anybody in any other business, they do not have to answer to anybody but their bureaucratic superiors.
The press itself faces absolutely no threat of publicity.
So it is only a completely irrational rule that requires that public opinion about the press NOT be INFORMED public opinion about the press. Discussion of the political opinions of any member of the press bureaucracy is cut short. Their private lives are absolutely private. They protect each other from being questioned the way police officers protect each other from traffic tickets.
The blanket of secrecy that was supposed to protect Clinton is the same one the press hides behind. The media wants things back the way they were. But the modern threat to that security blanket really became obvious with the Clinton scandal.
Matt Drudge came up with the blue dress and would not let the whole thing die. Again and again, the media tried to kill the story. Again and again, the Internet revived the story. With people like that out there, the press could not do its usual job of spiking any exposure about a liberal president. The press is horribly upset about this, and every time media bureaucrats get together on CNN, they bemoan the fact that these people on the Internet will not obey their rules.
It is only a matter of time before even the blanket of protection our practically perfect press hides behind is torn apart by the new information sources.
God bless the Internet!
WORDISM: JOE AND AYN RAND | nationalsalvation.net
In response to my remarks about how he should not just walk away rather than apologize, Joe responds in two comments I put together here in two paragraphs;
The difficulty is in the elimination of falsehood. Man prefers falsehood. This is to say that man prefers blindness. It is extraordinarily simple and rewarding beyond belief to glimpse truth. But the veil of falsehood must be dropped. The resistance to the dropping of the veil of falsehood is ordinarily enormous. A man can live his entire life wrapped in the veil of falsehood. But truth exists. It goes nowhere. It bows to no one. It makes no compromise. Truth does not hurt as has been said by some. Jesus said it frees. That's true. It does free. That freedom simply means we are no longer bound by the falsehood that previously bound us. That falsehood is practically unlimited. Joe knows this is true.
Many years ago Joe Rorke said that there were two things that he did not want to be. He said he did not want to be a teacher and he did not want to be a preacher. Joe Rorke is not a teacher and Joe Rorke is not a preacher. Joe Rorke is nothing more than a voice in the wilderness. Truth may pass through Joe Rorke but Joe Rorke is not truth. Joe Rorke does not possess truth. Nobody possesses truth. Truth is.
Comment by joe rorke
It would be both tiresome and false for me to say Joe's approach is the Objectivism of Ayn Rand.
But the arguments he presents here I became used to over forty years ago from that group.
The argument Joe presents here is that the world consists of Joe Rorke and truth.
So one's outlook is based on 1) oneself and 2) objective fact.
As I told the Objectivists, these are wonderful points, but it all runs into one objective fact:
It doesn't work.
In the real world each Objectivists is willing to fight his own battle and leave the problems of others to them. He has no obligations.
Like all forms of Wordism this would work fine if everybody in the world went along with it.
But in the real world, if they didn't have other people who have moral obligations to defend them, Objectivists would be slaves inside a week. As I told the Objectivists, what I see is their being chained down as galley slaves - after all, which one is going to be the one to take on the slave driver FIRST - and then finding ways to minimize their effort at pulling their particular oar.
They pronounced me Irrelevant to truth.
Robert Ardrey discusses a troop of baboons where some males, who had not earned the right to breed yet, went out and led the leopard away from the troop. Some died doing it, as they knew they would. Obligations to something besides purely abstract truth are essential to the survival of every social animal.
On the other end, we have the "power comes from the barrel of a gun!" crowd. They say military heroism is the only ethic. Obedience is the only ethic. So after the obedience crap of the group that calls itself the Greatest Generation, Objectivists were an intellectual relief of gigantic proportions.
I AM a preacher. IAM a teacher. I don't think I have made a secret of that.
Joe says I manipulate. The Objectivists call me a "thug," which means someone who would use force to make people defend society. Both are right.
If Bob's Blog is a success, it will manipulate the hell out of you. You will be a force for what ***I*** want you to be a force for.
Lawyers tell me I would take the law into my own hands.
They are dead right. The only Constitution I recognize says that We the people are taking power without any Great Principles or any appeal to the Lord or the King.
Innocent people get punished because we are human. Many say that it is better for one innocent person to go free if a hundred guilty ones have to be acquitted, too. The problem with that is that it doesn't work. Every time one of that hundred commits a crime, it will punish another innocent person.
This is all a balance. It is messy balance and a nasty one. Every Wordist contrasts this with the perfection he offers. All of the Wordist approaches that offer us some kind of perfection are a human disaster. Joe wants no part of this balance. He wants to be Joe.
As long as there are patsies out there who will make it possible for Joe to be Joe, this will work just fine. At this point Joe is more valuable to the balance than any of the self-sacrificers, but our world would be useless and helpless without them.
But they are worse than useless without the Joes.
Joe and the Objectivists are part of the very balance they claim to rise above.
ON ISRAEL, ONLY THE "FANATICS" CAN MAKE SENSE | 2002-05-18
So the Likkud says they are not going to go halvies with the Palestinians. God gave it all to them and they took the whole thing and they're going to keep the whole thing. That kind of thinking I can understand and respect. Do I agree with them? Frankly, my dear, the Likkud doesn't give a damn.
CAN A MELTING POT REALLY EXPECT LOYALTY? | 2000-06-24
The retired Army colonel who has just been arrested for decades of giving secrets to the Soviet Union is the latest in a long line of security problems. The high rank of that colonel was not higher than the civilian rank of the CIA spy Aldrich Aimes, a White Anglo Saxon Protestant from a good family.
Even liberals are admitting that Alger Hiss, one of the most privileged people in America in his time, was a Communist.
In a Clintonesque twist, Department of Energy hard drives with secrets on them that everybody had been searching for turned out to be in an obvious place, a place that had been searched before. Shades of billing records!!
Then there is Jonathan Pollard, who gave the most sensitive secrets to Israel, and was sentenced to life imprisonment for it. Instead of being embarrassed by such spying, the Israeli government is regularly demanding that Pollard -- whom it regards as merely a Jewish patriot -- be released.
The main argument for Pollard's release on the part of Alan Dershowitz and Pollard's other defenders is that he "just spied for Israel." Obviously, there is nothing wrong with giving secrets to one's real country if you are a part of a melting pot to which one has only theoretical loyalty.
It is hard for those of us who were born here, and whose loyalty is a natural one, to understand these reasons. But you have to remember that none of these people think of America in the same terms we do.
On September 19, 1998, in "Why I Will Not Denounce Southern Racism or American Imperialism," I said
"...only a clown can be loyal to a melting pot. By definition, a melting pot is nothing specific. Anyone who can be deeply loyal to nothing specific is in urgent need of psychiatric care."
Anyone who is charged with enforcing a liberal governmental policy must BELIEVE in that policy. Congress would raise Cain if a person charged with enforcing the Federal fair housing law turned out to be someone who didn't believe in it. But I watched the head of Jimmy Carter's Immigration and Naturalization Service declare that, if it were up to her, America's borders would be open and anybody who came here could stay. She felt no loyalty or obligation to the people who were already here (Please see July 3, 1999 article, "Why Wordists Love to Say, 'That's what America Is All About'").
To a liberal, and therefore to a respectable conservative, no one owes loyalty to the PEOPLE of the United States. The United States, they tell us, is just a set of principles. It is a country that consists entirely of words. During the Vietnam War, peace marchers felt that the Viet Cong were upholding true American principles, so they marched with the Viet Cong flag. Likewise, when Caesar Chavez led his Hispanic workers to strike in the United States, he made their symbol the flag of Mexico.
Millions of liberals joined in Chavez' farm workers grape boycott, and not one of them objected to the use of a foreign flag as their symbol. I cannot imagine that anyone who has attended an American university could find this the least bit surprising. The old patriotism is "out of date." The idea that we are a particular people who deserve a special loyalty is an attitude now denounced as the idea of anaziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.
It is no accident that just such an old-fashioned loyalty was the basis of America's battle against Hitler. While we all knew that Hitler was a dictator, we did not declare war on Germany because of that. It was only when American soil was attacked that the United States declared war on Japan.
And it was then Germany, as an ally of Japan, which declared war on the United States. The United States did not declare war on Hitler. The left, including the Communist Party, was happy to encourage this old-fashioned patriotism as long as it served the interests of their Great Hero and Ally, Joseph Stalin. Loyalty to Americans as a particular people did not become out of date until it was turned against the Communists in the late 1940s.
If you insist that your country is nothing but a set of "principles" -- words -- then you cannot denounce someone who is giving secrets to a country he feels has even more American principles than America does. A Communist certainly believes that. A leftist will not admit that Cuba is any less American than America is. Who can argue? By definition, all those principles are strictly a matter of opinion.
As always, liberals and therefore respectable conservatives, pull out Hitler to justify their position. Hitler, they say, talked about "Blood and Soil," so anyone who says America is more than a private opinion is anaziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews. But the fact is that the United States did not enter World War II until American soil had been attacked, and American blood spilled.