A Jewish friend of mine didn’t think my lifestyle was Jewish enough. It bothered him. He didn’t like where I dined, who I married, my whereabouts on the Sabbath – things like that.
Once I got so annoyed I confronted him, took his measure, like Spencer Tracy used to take the measure of Katherine Hepburn. I forget whether I actually grabbed his collar and twisted, but I wanted to. “Look,” I said. “Let’s do what Einstein used to call a ‘thought-experiment.’ Forget I’m Jewish, OK? Pretend I’m a Baptist who loves Jews.”
And it worked! He told me that made him feel better.
Similarly, a Communist diplomat tried to tamp down my utter contempt for all Communist news media; an unbroken tapestry of lies. “To you in America,” he said, “the mission of newspapers is to inform and entertain. We have a different view completely.” He continued, “We view all media as tools to strengthen Communism. That’s it. Nothing more!” OK, no new warmth, but at least some new light.
I never dreamed we’d ever need that kind of “light” to explain American media. But here we are!
My partner and wife, Sara Pentz, has given us a title for a much-needed book. Write the book and you’re welcome to the title. It’s simply “Eighteen Seconds,” and it tells a depressing story. The “Catholic Rebellion” against the Obama administration can easily cause Obama’s defeat. Lots of Catholic voters; angry, motivated, energetically led – that’s big news and big politics. Forty-three Catholic entities, including Notre Dame University and the Archdiocese of New York, launched their push-back Monday before last.
By late Friday afternoon, all three major networks combined had devoted exactly 18 seconds to that story!
Ignorance is the sperm of apathy. If you don’t know you can’t care. Media bias used to be giving your preferred side a slight edge. Three networks, folks; Monday to Friday; 18 seconds, total. This is the most egregious example of unashamed mass-media protection of a candidate in our history. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation; open-heart massage; in front of what used to be an intelligent nation; accompanied by zero embarrassment.
And it’s working. Instead of a true picture of political America, we have a Salvador Dali pocket watch half-dripping off a table. You probably suppose that Obama, with the advantages of all incumbents, has an equal or better chance of winning than losing. If the whole picture were permitted out there, Obama would be on political life-support.
We watch elegant little debates on whether North Carolina’s landslide against gay marriage and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recall challenge are “predictors” of next November’s result. What rot! We are being systematically insulted by major media. They want us to believe, “Well, maybe North Carolina will repudiate the Obama crowd on gay marriage, but then they’ll surely return to support Obama for president; as will Wisconsin voters after they ‘re-elect’ the first governor who put public-employee unions in their place and balanced the budget without raising taxes.”
That dog-food remains in the bowl, but the media keep showing us empty bowls and happy dogs!
The Democratic Party is coming apart like a well-kicked toadstool. As Gov. Scott Walker maintains his lead, Wisconsin’s desperate Democrats are openly criticizing the national party for lack of support. Hordes of big-name Democrats join Ed Rendell in expressing “disappointment” with Obama. Openly! That’s like getting bitten by your own dog! Newark Mayor Cory Booker, maybe the smartest and nicest man in politics, after he calls an Obama ad “nauseating,” is made to look like a 1956 Soviet dissident recanting after torture. Sorry, there’s not enough space here to light a candle; barely enough to curse the darkness. In short, if you’re not an Obama fan, what you’re not being told would thrill you.
I’d love to see every newspaper in the tank for Obama “come out” on the same day with a front-page “Declaration of Transformation” in which they would openly declare, “Since the founding of American journalism there’s been the notion that our opinions shall be confined to the editorial page and all else will be fair, factual and objective. This notion has become quaint. Hence, this Declaration of Transformation. We hereby acknowledge what many have long suspected: that we have transformed ourselves; that we have renounced that doctrine of journalistic integrity and re-surfaced as tools of advocacy, brazenly propagandizing for who and what we deem best for America.”
They did it in Hungary. When the Freedom-Fighters seized Radio Budapest from the Communists in October 1956, listeners were treated to the following: “We wish to announce that we have lied. We have lied constantly. We have lied in the morning, we have lied in the afternoon, we have lied at night. We have lied on AM, we have lied on FM. This is the first time we have ever told the truth.”
Thought experiments aren’t foolish. The angry diner demanded to speak to the manager of the coffee shop. “This is the worst vanilla ice cream I’ve ever tasted,” he declared.
“That’s not vanilla, sir,” replied the manager. “That’s butter-pecan.”
“Oh,” sparked the suddenly happier customer, “For butter pecan it’s great!”