1. A conspiracy theory about a conspiracy theory about conspiracy theorists...Last night, a CBS procedural that I am finally sick of, “Criminal Minds,” appeared to be taking sides in the Trump vs. the FBI wars, with a side-swipe at Alex Jones, not that there’s anything wrong with that. The episode set up a conflict between the Good FBI agents who are the stars of the show, and the crazy, paranoid, anti-government “Truthers” who see government law enforcement as sinister and manipulative. (There was special focus on the ridiculous Sandy Hook conspiracy theory, with one of the tough serial killer hunter breaking down in tears remembering the massacre.) The most vocal anti-FBI character in the episode, who sneered out her every line about the series heroes (bad direction, in my view), was revealed at the end as the “unsub,” the psychopathic killer.
For some reason this was the first time it occurred to me how much prime time network TV serves as a PR service for the FBI, with the virtue, bravery and unquestioned rectitude of the agency and its employees being central to multiple dramas. The propaganda is escalating too: Dick Wolf of “Law and Order” fame is launching a new CBS series called, creatively, “FBI.” You would think, would you not, that this would be an odd time to produce such a series, with the reputation and credibility of J.Edgar’s baby at an all-time, and most deserved, low. However, Hollywood and the entertainment industry now sees its role differently than seeking mere ratings.
There is nothing wrong with TV writers and producers bring their political agendas into our living rooms, and there’s not a thing we can do about it anyway, other than change channels. Rod Serling used to get awfully preachy sometimes on “The Twilight Zone.” This was mighty ham-handed pro-Peter Strzok advocacy, though by CBS, or at least it seemed that way to me.
2. Marital Ethics. This is weird. Ethics Alarms has discussed the unethical conduct of Kellyanne Conway’s husband George, who has become a popular “resistance” and #NeverTrump figure by tweeting virulent criticism of the President, who employs his wife. Now Kellyanne has escalated the problem with an interview criticizing her husband, telling a reporter that his sniping ” is disrespectful, it’s a violation of basic decency, certainly, if not marital vows.” Then, according to an AOL report, she asked that her comments be attributed to “a person familiar with their relationship.” The reporter, correctly, refused.
It is a breach of loyalty and respect for one spouse to criticize the other in the news media. It is cowardly and a breach of honesty to criticize one’s spouse and to try to remain unaccountable for it by pretending the critique came from someone else.
What a fun couple! What a strange couple. What an unethical couple…
3. Headed to the Stunning Lack of Accountability Hall of Fame: Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, D.C., led the Pittsburgh diocese from 1988 to 2006. The recently released report of grand jury findings says that more than 300 Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania molested more than 1,000 children since the 1940s, and that senior church officials, including Wuerl, who is mentioned by name in the report,systematically covered up the abuse and helped to protect the priests. Wuerl, however, does not admit culpability, and in a jaw-droppingly detached interview with D.C.’s Fox 5, indicated that he has no intention of stepping down. “I think I did everything that I possibly could,” he said. “One of the things that we did was that we put into place was a review board so there would be a way of looking into the allegations that would take it beyond just myself and my office looking at it.”
Wow. He did everything he could, and yet children continued to be molested by priests under his supervision for almost 20 years. The usefulness of Wuerl is now to be Exhibit A regarding the Catholic Church’s arrogance, incompetence, stupidity and absence of trustworthiness. Of course he has to resign. Cardinal Law, who oversaw the Boston cover-up described in “Spotlight,” died recently: maybe the high-ranking post at the Vatican where he was transferred is still vacant.
4. Not only an enemy, but a stupid enemy. Today is the day that over 350 news organizations, angry over President Trump’s accusation that the mainstream news media is leading a coordinated partisan effort to undermine his Presidency, engages in a coordinated attack on President Trump with cookie cutter editorials, led by the Boston Globe.
Good thinking, guys.
Meanwhile, here is an example of what is now acceptable journalism. President Trump, see, called Omarosa a “dog,” see, and meant that negatively. Thus NBC’s Brian Williams began his MSNBC show by introducing the Washington Post’s Philip Rucker, and asked his guest, “Does this president really physically not like dogs?” Rucker responded, “That’s right, Brian. He’s actually the first president in more than 100 years who has not had a dog as a pet in the White House.” Then Rucker speculated that Trump when he had a dog in the house when he was married to first wife Ivana, that dog didn’t like him.
I guess that’s one more crucial Presidential norm that President Trump has defied.
In truth, it is very likely that some, if not many, of those Presidential dogs were political props. The tip-off is whether a President owned a dog before moving into the White House, when a staffer could do most of the dog-care jobs. A recent example of that sequence: the previous President, Barack Obama. Obama also said in one of his autobiographies that he had eaten dog meat, a detail scrupulously unreported by the news media when he was running for President in 2008. Of course, that doesn’t mean that he didn’t like dogs…
One clue that this is the case is that many 19th Century Presidents did not have dogs in the White House, including Presidents Madison, J.Q. Adams, Jackson (Andy liked fighting cocks. Of course he did…), Van Buren, W.H. Harrison, Taylor, Fillmore, and Andrew Johnson. All of them kept animals of some kind, except James K. Polk, who like Trump, didn’t have any pets. He just did his job, and extremely well.
Let’s see if the Boston Globe’s next move is to coordinate an effort to lose President Trump’s support from dog lovers.
“We’re not going to Make America Great Again. It was never that great. We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged.”
- What does “engaged” mean here? Employed? Interested? About to be married?
- Has the Democratic Party and progressives become so alienated from their own nation that saying that America was never great is a majority opinion? (A lot of Cuomo’s audience booed, by the way.)
- Is this going to be the Democratic campaign theme in 2020?
- What percentage of the public is as offended by Cuomo’s statement as I am?