Now he's citing journalistic ethics in defence of what is a non-stop, drive-by smear job on a certain party leader that I'm not particularly fond of either.
I thought of this fellow, the Fenian in our midst, when I got my morning email from the NYT's Dave Leonhardt. It concerned another smear job, one being waged against Elizabeth Warren in certain scurrilous corners of American journalism (whatever that is today).
Senator Warren claims she was fired decades ago from a teaching job because she was pregnant.
It is certainly true, as CBS noted, that some people have questioned Warren’s account. A story in the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative publication, did so, as did a writer for Jacobin, a socialist publication. But to say that stories have raised questions is not the same thing as saying the questions are good ones.If you carry blatant, almost rabid animus toward an individual you report on, you're not a journalist. You're a hack grinding away on his axe. And, after a while, you become a little boring. Even your late mentor, Joe Scanlon, knew there was a line. (And that, to me, seems like fair comment on a public figure.)
Over the years, people have also “raised questions” about whether the earth rotates around the sun, the moon landing happened, Communism was fatally flawed, Elvis died and Barack Obama is an American. But I wouldn’t recommend putting any of those questions in a headline.
A good rule: Whenever you see the phrase “raises questions” in a story, you should be deeply skeptical of its assertions. The phrase is a crutch that journalists too often use to make implicit accusations they can’t support.
While we're on the topic of those who are not always what they seem, dramatic events of this week reminded me of an old fable about the scorpion and the frog.
"A scorpion asks a frog to carry him over a river. The frog is afraid of being stung, but the scorpion argues that if it did so, both would sink and the scorpion would drown. The frog then agrees, but midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both. When asked why, the scorpion points out that this is its nature."The scorpion of our day has to be the ogre in the White House who taught the lesson to the Kurds in Syria by pulling American forces out overnight, clearing the way for America's ally to be attacked by Turkish strongman, Recep Erdogan.
Trump merely confirmed, quite dramatically, what the world has feared since he took office - America has no allies. It makes common cause with a few like-minded leaders - Kim Jong Un, Viktor Orban, el Sisi, Erdogan, Bolsonaro, all of them thugs - but America's historic allies are suckers if they try that river crossing.
And, like the scorpion, Trump has endangered his own country in the process. How is any nation to deal with a president so bereft of principle, so myopic, so quick to turn on those who have its back?
Forbes' Ryan Ellis put it succinctly. I have substituted "Trump" where he wrote "the government".
Sometimes, very smart people forget thatIn Trump you will have no ally. He's no statesman. He's nobody's friend.
the governmentTrump is not their friend. The governmentTrump can be your friend for awhile, and against your common enemies, but eventually the governmentTrump will sting you just as the scorpion stung the frog.
See Also: The Trump Doctrine - 'You play ball with me and I stick the bat up your ass.'