I am kind of like a politician. The less I know about anything, the more I can say about it. – June 12, 1928 Will Rogers
I often jokingly cite another sentence like this. I don’t know the source but it goes something like this
You don’t have to know what you are saying as long as you say it with authority – Unknown
These two phrases seem to belong hand-in-hand. Whenever I dare to watch one of the cable news channels, and that seems to be less frequently as recent years have passed, I am constantly reminded of these two sayings. To hear a politician saying something that I’m sure he knows is outright false and managing to keep a very straight face in the process is simply amazing to me.
Have those yahoos lost all sense of what is real and what they make up? They say whatever they think their audience wants to hear. Then they get on their campaign bus and say exactly the opposite thing at the next stop. The sole purpose of all this is to get elected and thereby get their share of political power. Only in government, and a few boardrooms, can someone flippantly talk like $1 billion is small change.
This I think brings up one of the basic problems with our political environment today and that is a lazy news media. Almost every one of these politicians has at least a handful of news reporters that follow them around on a daily basis. They listen to all this and then only report on the most outrageous comment of the day. They don’t do the work required to let the public know what is actually going on in the background. It is just too easy to pick one simple thing to report that seemingly justifies their salaries as reporters.
In studying the history of this country I am convinced that our right to a free press is at the very foundation of our existence for the last two-hundred odd years. The adversarial role of the press keeps the most blatant abuses of power at bay. That is the piece of the puzzle that is usually missing from all the start-up democracies that come and then go down in a flash. There is no one there to keep the politicians honest. With the twenty-four hour news cycle and no one taking the time to check their sources of information are we losing this valuable commodity in our society also?
But what do I know….