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It’s Like Journalism

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

It is amazing how much of life is mirrored in Seinfeld episodes. 

You may remember the one where Elaine stood in front of the concession counter at the movie theater to get popcorn. She asks if it’s real butter that they put on the popcorn. The sweet girl says, “It’s like butter.” Elaine probes further, “But, is it butter?” She says, “It looks like butter.” Elaine persists. The concessions attendant finally says, “It’s yellow!”

The concession counter at the theater is analogous to our major media outlets. Once you’re in the theater, you’re a captive market, you’re in their bubble. They can put butter flavored oil on the popcorn knowing many consumers won’t know the difference. Take it or leave it. 

For generations, the mainstream media have taken that attitude toward their readers and viewers. Political journalism gradually became less and less factual. It was like journalism. It looked factual. It sounded truthful. But, it became little more than their opinions dressed up to look like news. If it didn’t fit the narrative, that information was either ignored or the sources maligned. But, it wasn’t real journalism. 

Like the oil on the popcorn, it was yellow. Indeed, historically we’ve known this as yellow journalism. 

The sad result of this trend was manifested in the Mueller testimony this week. Poor old Bob Mueller has lived in the Washington Post, New York Times news bubble for many years. That’s probably why he was totally flummoxed by some of the questions Republicans asked him. He had no idea who Fusion GPS was. The world could see that the questions concerning the dossier and the FISA warrants were foreign to him. We wondered, how could he not know? Well, perhaps he had never heard of them. That side of the story has been ignored by his news sources. The Times, the Post and CNN simply pretended it wasn’t news.  

Truth does indeed die in darkness. Tragically, so does a Democratic Republic. Self government requires a well-informed citizenry. 

Sad as it was to watch, bear in mind that large swaths of the American electorate are in the same boat as the confused Bob Mueller. They simply do not know what they do not know. How could they? They have been been served the yellow oil that looks like butter for so long, they’ve forgotten (or never learned) what real butter tastes like. 

Like cattle in a barn, they have been fed a daily ration of nonsense. For more than two years, they have been told that Donald Trump is an illegitimate President. That he was installed by Vladimir Putin as a Russian puppet. There was unquestionably evidence to support their conclusion of collusion. They just needed the right investigators to keep investigating until they found it. After multiple investigations and millions spent, no evidence was found. 

But, that didn’t stop them.

Something had to be done to revive the narrative. So, Democrat Chairmen drug an aging, ill-informed Mr. Mueller in front of the glaring lights and television cameras. All in a naked attempt to get him to say that he believed President Trump may have been guilty even though there was no proof. The results were as painful as they were predictable. 

It was a pathetic spectacle. Many felt sorry for the once respected former FBI Director. The Democrats and their fellow travelers in the media used and abused him. His reputation will never fully recover. 

The greater and more troubling question is whether our Republic can recover? How can we save our representative form of government when major media outlets daily mislead and misinform, not just significant blocks of voters, but high ranking officials in government? Bob Mueller was a warning siren. It was shocking to see his apparent ignorance of significant facts concerning the real scandal and the silent coup that took place during and after the 2016 election. 

Perhaps this episode will awaken millions of bovines in that barn. Maybe the coming cascade of facts from legitimate investigations into the real collusion will open their eyes. Hopefully they will begin to question things and come to realize that just because it’s yellow, it’s not necessarily butter. 

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