08:40:28 pm on
Wednesday 20 Nov 2019

Schoolyard Bullies
AJ Robinson

For years, I wonder what happened to the free press. I know it morphed into the media. Back when I was a kid, I watched Walter Cronkite and other reporters, on shows such as Face the Nation and Meet the Press, ask tough questions and get answers.


My dad was a no-BS man.

At the time, I didn’t always understand every topic of conversation. My dad was a big fan of the news shows; he showed me the way. Dad wanted the truth regarding what was going on in the country and the world; he was a no-BS man.

Granted, when dad didn’t like what they had to say, he grumbled. Still, he accepted that they were doing their jobs and reporting honestly. Honesty, what an idea is that.

For years, I noticed a shift in how the media reports news; I wondered why. Well, just the other night, watching a wrap up of the latest democrat debate, I figured it out. The media are schoolyard bullies and nothing more; threatening until the going gets tough.

Yeah and it was very sad to recognise and worse to acknowledge. Thinking back to my childhood, in Arlington, Massachusetts, I remembered that all bullies share something: they’re cowards. Oh, they’ll pick on someone smaller and weaker than them, but they back down and become good little boys and girls once a teacher or someone stronger stands up to them. I figured this out myself and scared off a bully that was picking on me.

The media is acting the same way. When it comes to The Great Orange, “Moscow Mitch” or any other Republican leader, the media are good compliant lap dogs that accept everything said and never ask a truly tough question. If they ask a tough question, worthy of, say, Walter Cronkite, they are put in their place, by the source, back down and most definitely never ask a hard follow-up.

Those that dare ask tough questions receive a good beating, metaphorically. Some news sources, such as Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, are too polite. They actually answer tough questions and, thus, they face tougher questions that lack simple answers.


There are some truth tellers.

The likes of Sanders and Warren give good, sound and articulate answers, but that’s a problem. Answers that actually make sense aren’t reducible to a nice little ten-second sound bite. Slogans, such as “Build the Wall” or “Lock her up,” work nicely, whereas talking of Medicare for all, relieving student debt or immigration reform take time and require digestion.

For me, this is yet another dysphoric aspect of our modern life, no honest and forthright press. I wrote, before, how Nixon and the members of his administration had to give “non-denial denials” or long convoluted answers when talking to the press. If they didn’t dance around the truth, the press would aver they were lying.

For Trump and his minions, that’s not an issue; the press, today, doesn’t care if a source is lying. How many lies is Trump up to now, over ten thousand? Yet, have you ever heard a single member of the media actually speak the words, “Mr. President, you said (blank) and that’s a lie.” How long has it been since a reporter asked him of his tax returns; he’s lied about those so many times that the media have given up and that’s sad.

We have reached a time where facts and truth are meaningless, but only to one side of the political divide and that, too, is both sad and scary. I have no confidence in the future of our republic, at least as things stand now. I see four more years of Trump, more lies and destruction of our cherished institutions and, quite possibly, horrible economic depression, at the very least, recession.

Trump will leave office in glory to the cheers of his minions. They’ll hail him as an excellent leader, the greatest president of modern times; all lies, of course.


De facto traitor and conman.

Someday, years perhaps decades from now, people will know him for the traitor and conman he is. Still, I must wonder: will the media bother to report it? As it stands, now, I doubt it. They’ll be afraid of some adult in the room yelling at them.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

More by AJ Robinson:
Tell a Friend

Click above to tell a friend about this article.