If there’s one thing many politicians – although mainly Republican these days – are not, it’s meek. They don’t shy away from confrontation regardless of whether or not the facts support their point of view. And any politician’s inherent tendency is to lean towards political expediency rather than what is right or wrong. So it’s no surprise that these brash politicians when confronted with the many uncomfortable issues they must discuss, would rather pick fights with the media then actually debate certain topics. After all, the media is an easy punching bag these days, and as a group is a convenient strawman.
We’ve all heard it from the likes of Palin who can’t utter a sentence without blaming a vast left-wing conspiracy which she calls the ‘lamestream’ media. But can you blame her? They actually asked her tough questions when she was running for office, and she wasn’t able to handle herself. So, as many unprepared politicians do these days, she shot the messenger.
But in any democracy, a free and independent press is a necessary component of the system as a whole, and demonizing the very people whose jobs keep us all safe by exposing that which otherwise would remain obfuscated, is hardly the right way to go about things. In other words, demonizing the press for doing its job is bad for everyone – everyone but the unprepared politician.
Now, I’m not saying that the press should get a free ride. When asked whether he was running a comic book campaign for presidency, Donald Trump justifiably took umbrage. Now, I don’t like Trump. He’s a terrible person for a lot of reasons. But let’s face it, the question was bullshit, especially in that setting. But is the ‘lamestream’ media at fault, or was the specific person just doing a crappy job of moderating a debate?
The larger issue here is whether or not it’s okay to demonize the media, and lately the political right has made great sport of doing just that. But the media has a purpose, and if you’re running for office in the US or anywhere else, you should know how to handle an uppity reporter. It comes with the territory. And if you can’t, well then, perhaps you should seek other employment.
The same right wing politicians who criticize the media have also attacked the idea of political correctness. But let’s face it, this argument is just another strawman for an unprepared leader. Being politically correct is a good thing. It keeps us on the right path. For instance, political correctness keeps us from offending African Americans by not calling them negroes, blacks, or other offending terms. It keeps us from referring to the mentally challenged, handicapped and minorities with bigoted or demeaning language.
If someone is complaining about being politically correct, they probably offended someone and would rather not apologize. Probably because they don’t really care who they offended. When Trump was told that Muslims in America were a problem and that Obama was one of them, he was criticized for failing to correct the bigoted older man who asked the question. Instead of doing the right thing like John McCain in 2007, he defended his right to not correct every disparaging remark he hears about the President from his sophomoric supporters, and instead attacked the concept of being politically correct.
But in this case, isn’t being politically correct also the right thing to do in the first place? President Obama really isn’t a Muslim. Muslim as a group in the US really aren’t a big problem, and there certainly aren’t any known terrorist training camps. The problem here isn’t political correctness. It’s Trumps willingness to allow his idiotic supporter to continue to believe not only that President Obama is a dangerous Muslim, but that he’s actually looking into things that can be done about it.
To the logical, thinking person, this is a clear cut case of right and wrong. After all, how can it be right to allow a supporter and voter to remain in the dark about facts? How can it be right to purposefully allow falsehoods to permeate the voting public? Obviously it’s not, and doing so is indefensible, but Trump’s attack on the strawman concept of political correctness shifted the argument away from truth and that was the end of that. Now we’re talking about political correctness by the lamestream media, not Trump’s naked demagoguery and foolish supporters.
I think it’s time we drew a line in the sand. The media isn’t lame. It’s not always great, but it serves an invaluable purpose. If you’re not ready to answer any question a reporter hurls in your direction, then you’re not up for the job as a politician. And if you’re beef with the media at large is their focus on political correctness, you’re probably trying to change the subject from a sticky and uncomfortable position, you’ve taken. The media isn’t the problem, nor is the concept of political correctness. You’re the problem. Hopefully the voters wizen up enough to see that.