Don Rogers: The Gray Lady goes mad
September 19, 2018
Who's the author?
Is the piece treason or deeper patriotism trying to blunt a train wreck of a presidency? If so, this person hasn't done much to help, harm or reveal anything we didn't already know.
Policy still is set on whim, communicated in the wee hours by tweet. We're still buddies with Russia, near enemies with Canada and Germany. Friendlier with North Korea than South.
Taxes continue going down. There's no stopping the Supreme Court from turning right. The EPA still scoffs at the science showing global warming. As for the swamp, the creatures caught are mainly all the president's men, scales real.
My real problem lies with the standard bearer for top-shelf journalism, The New York Times. They’ve made some remarkably poor decisions.
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From what exactly has the anonymous commentary in The New York Times protected us? How does sliding the odd order off a forgetful president's desk help?
Looks more like Radar O'Reilly let loose in the White House, an episode as funny as "MASH." Yesterday's top sitcom has evolved into the ultimate reality show. Jokes have consequences now.
Yessir, America's surely getting great again or sliding fast, one lost order after another. But what does this have to do with us in Nevada County, really?
Shifts in the cannabis business toward legality here are rippling regardless through the normal business community. Local restaurants and nurseries and drilling enterprises all report sharp drops in their cash business. Banks still await a green light to accept accounts. Yet legal cannabis enterprises outpoint other business development around here if judging by annual reports.
The kids are more or less happily back in school, Constitution Day rolls around as ever, it still doesn't rain this time of year, and here comes a new wave of election candidates and measures that most eligible voters will ignore everywhere but maybe here. We're good voters, give us credit. Of course, cynics will note this is one of the few happy outcomes of being a geriatric county.
I guess I'm saying who cares which senior Trump official wrote anonymously about what has already poured out of the White House? At least Woodward in "Fear" put his name to the same junk. As did Wolff in his "Fire and Fury." And Comey in his tell-all. Every president collects such insidery lice.
Trump lost me long ago with the birther nonsense. Messy desk syndrome just stacks up with the rest of it, more humorously than most.
My real problem lies with the standard bearer for top-shelf journalism, The New York Times. They've made some remarkably poor decisions.
Reporting in the news pages that the president is "a liar" was bad enough. It's one thing to cover and identify false statements; that's part of the job. Presuming essentially to read a mind, well, this goes beyond the mission to report empirical truth as gathered and vetted in the pale science and high art on deadline we know as journalism.
The news side of The Times revealed itself as another Fox News and CNN, more advocate than credible news source. But it's been very good for their business, declaring war on the president.
In doing so, they've managed to confirm what the president pegged them to be, to fall to his level, succumbing to his taunts. Well, they're not the first.
How should they conduct themselves? Well, like the standard-bearer for topflight journalism they presume to be. Tough but fair. Covering all the transgressions while avoiding the temptation to pile on. Ignoring the jibes, keeping out of the sandbox, staying focused. Um, not taking sides?
Leave it to the novelists and biographers to do the mind reading. Should be easy enough. We're talking checkers, not chess.
Now The Times commentary staff, apparently feeling left out as the newsroom ventures out beyond the pale, has committed their own rather mind-boggling bit of hubris.
Lots of people who submit commentaries and letters to the editor ask for anonymity. That's only natural. Who wants to deal with blowback?
But nothing is lower than talking smack from behind a curtain. No journalistic organization in its right mind would run such an anonymous opinion piece for the simple reason of accountability, a hallmark.
So, yeah, I'm floored. What happened to what was supposed to be the best of the best in my hallowed profession?
Who wrote the piece? I couldn't care less. How could The Times go so brain-dead and run it?
Don Rogers is the publisher of the Sierra Sun and The Union in Grass Valley. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4299.