"A rose is a rose is an onion." Hemingway's famous dig at Gertrude Stein seems to sum up today's journalistic dilemma.
BuzzFeed's 'onion' and the perils of sloppy journalism, the 24-hour news cycle and decreasing revenues, are summed-up nicely - according to a recent Washington Post article - by the Special Council Office's issuance of a partial transcript of Michael Cohen's testimony at his plea hearing to warn BuzzFeed's Jason Leopold that his story was not accurate. But, with the scoop bit in his mouth Leopold and Buzzfeed proceeded anyway, and were promptly made to regret it (even though they remain unable to recognize their error).
The Post story predicts that the Mueller report is "almost certain to be anticlimactic". But, that statement could also be fraught with pitfalls in that the President's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has been quoted as saying the report would be "horrific" for Trump.
Because democratic institutions, like a free press, are under daily assault by Trump and his minions, the press sometimes convulses like a host organism attempting to ward-off a parasitic attack. Democratic institutions are struggling to function effectively in an atmosphere of incessant lying and incompetence.
As the press attempts to process the machinations of a malevolent and venal administration on a partially self-imposed time frame, mistakes, no matter how infrequent, are made. While the Trump administration has no ethical standards and no compunction about lying, the public expects media to wade through constant lies and disinformation and get the story right. And, as has been often demonstrated, a story that is accurate, but contains a narrative that is critical of the administration, is labeled "fake news" by Trump and his spinmeisters.
An 'onion' that might turn-out to be a 'rose' - of sorts - is highlighted by the "Covington kids" episode. The New York Times' Frank Bruni opines that "Our hasty condemnation of these teenagers reveals the cold truth about hot takes." Well, in this particular instance anyway, the "hasty condemnation" may be warranted.
The version of events that seems most credible is that of Native-American elder and Vietnam-era veteran Nathan Phillips. Phillips maintains that he stepped between a group of Catholic high school youths and members of a small group of "Black Hebrew Israelites" who were taunting the youths, as a means of defusing the situation. The mostly (entirely?) male students, many wearing MAGA hats, appeared to turn their attention to Phillips, blocking his path while chanting "build the wall" and performing the "tomahawk chop" (a gesture utilized by sport-event fans attempting to inspire favored teams who have adopted native-themed names, some overtly racist (e.g. "Redskins").
The most obvious question arising from this incident is: where were the chaperones charged with guiding the students through the events of the day? Also, who exactly thought is was a good idea to bring these young men, apparently loosely supervised, to a "March for Life" rally? And, why is the Catholic Church, which, if it ever had any moral authority to weigh-in on ethical matters, has long ago abdicated it - inserting itself into the debate surrounding women's reproductive rights?
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