That photo up there is a shot I snapped tonight when I left the house to see a movie with my dear friend Betz. I have been a bit down lately, and a night out with a wonderful lady friend seemed like the perfect remedy. Except we saw that Manchester by the Sea movie I linked to the other day and dear, sweet, jesus, I’m not sure I would suggest it. The acting is superb — I’m not gonna lie. But it is the most depressing film I have ever seen. And that is no exaggeration.
But enough about the photo and my evening.
Last night, I saw this Atlantic article pop up in my feed. It’s an excerpt of a speech by Marty Baron. Did you see Spotlight? (You know, it won Best Picture and all…). Anyway, in case you missed it, it’s a movie about how the priest/sex scandal came to light and about the reporters and editors that fought so hard against the Catholic Church to find the truth. Baron was the real-life editor in the film, and he was my boss while I was at the Miami Herald. He, to this day, is the most intelligent, firm and intimidating editor I’ve ever worked for. I have tremendous respect for him, to say the least. So when I saw the headline declaring his advice to journalists during the Trump Era, I had to read it. I suggest you do the same.
No really, I’ll wait.
I’m not kidding, please go read what he said.
Seriously. Read it now so the rest of my post makes sense.
Ok. We all caught up?
So I read that last night, and then I just could not sleep. My mind was spinning. Not because I disagree with anything he said (I agree wholeheartedly), but because I’m so scared that it doesn’t matter any more.
If Watergate were to happen this March, and Trump were caught doing something illegal, and the press found proof… who would care? Almost half of our nation just voted him into office knowing full and well that:
+ He had charges against him from a woman saying he raped her when she was 13 (but the case was dropped due to death threats against her family and loved ones)
I could go on, but frankly, I’m exhausted. These are the examples that come to my mind first. And I didn’t even get into the relationship with Russia.
Now, imagine if Regan or Bush or Carter or any president in the 70s or 80s would have been caught with ONE of those attributes. I cannot imagine they would have been elected. I cannot imagine they would have made it past the primaries!
So where this gets me, is… so what if the press catches him doing something? I feel like it doesn’t matter. People who voted for Trump (yes, even you family members still reading along here) overlooked ALL of those things above because you are more interested in your personal desires for this country (fewer taxes, less regulations on the environment so there will be more oil development, pro-life issues, etc etc etc). But now, how is this man to be held accountable to anyone? He is refusing press access and has painted the press as the enemy.
Many of his supporters are also saying the press is the enemy, but shouldn’t we want our leaders to be questioned? Shouldn’t we want someone to have an eye on them? Doesn’t this attack on the media, this complete ignorance of first amendment rights and this need to attack anyone who has a viewpoint alternative to his own terrify you?
Because it terrifies the hell out of me.