“But if your man is really innocent, what’s the worry?”
—The New York Times in an editorial, “Fox News v. Robert Mueller”
Yes, the New York Times really printed that, under its banner.
There goes my head.
As much as I have learned to distrust the objectivity and motives of the New York Times, I did not expect the traditionally liberal paper to make a sinister argument typically associated with totalitarian regimes. This is nothing but a rephrasing of the traditional “nothing to hide” rationalization for obtrusive state surveillance, as well as illegal police searches and abusive prosecutorial methods.
“If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear” is such a cliché of oppressive state action that it has its own Wikipedia entry. It is often attributed to Joseph Goebbels or “1984,” though there is no documentation for either. It was uttered by villain Pius Thicknesse in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”:
“As your new Minister for Magic, I promise to restore this temple of tolerance to its former glory. Therefore, beginning today, each employee will submit themselves… for evaluation. But know this: you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide.”
In the film version of the novel, the actor (Guy Henry) playing Pius was cast to evoke Goebbels. (above).
Progressive writer Upton Sinclair used an inverted version in 1918 in “The Profits of Religion: An Essay in Economic Interpretation” (1918):
“Not merely was my own mail opened, but the mail of all my relatives and friends—people residing in places as far apart as California and Florida. I recall the bland smile of a government official to whom I complained about this matter: ‘If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.'”
The statement adopted by the Times editors as well as the attitude behind constitute a rejection of democratic values and an endorsement of state sponsored fear and subjugation of individual rights. “It you are innocent, why worry?” literally stands for the proposition that one is guilty until proven innocent, which is an accurate description of the position of the Times, the mainstream media and “the resistance” regarding the baseless allegation of “collusion” with Russia to steal the election from Hillary Clinton. In the context of the editorial, which dismisses legitimate questions about the objectivity and conflicts of interest among Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, the argument is especially disingenuous. If one is innocent, one shouldn’t worry if a biased team of lawyers is trying to find a way to make you look guilty?
It is also head-exploding that the New York Times editors didn’t hear ringing ethics alarms as soon as that despicable thought began forming in their heads. It has been the motto of evil doers and the rationalization of smirking power abusers for centuries, back to the Spanish Inquisition and before. Are they really this corrupted? This blinded by hate?
I regret that I have yet to complete my planned post here about the astoundingly sloppy manner in which Mueller has assembled and monitored his team and the degree to which its conclusions are now sure to be tainted by justified public suspicion that the investigation was neither fair nor unbiased. The unpleasant fact that the Get Trump mob has to accept is that there have already been sufficiently serious conflicts and indications of bias to free a murderer who was convicted by evidence gathered by a similarly tainted investigation. Fox has been hyping the recent developments involving misconduct on Mueller’s team, but the Times claim that there is no problem at all is rank dishonesty. Then, incredibly, the Times editors, while not quoting Goebbels, certainly channel him in their final line.
By the way, the President of the United Sates isn’t Fox’s “guy,” he’s the Times’ guy too, or should be if the Times editors had any respect for our elections and institutions.