The unnecessary disclosure Friday to Congress via a written letter, which was then leaked to the news media, by FBI Director Mr. James Comey regarding a discovery of emails on a laptop connected to the investigation into Mrs. Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server while Secretary of State has, in addition to greatly influencing the news cycles and likely the presidential election, called into question the integrity of yet another American institution.
2016’s presidential election – beyond it being bizarre and worrisome due to the rise of Mr. Donald Trump, a demented narcissist, and the normalization and mainstreaming of alt-right attitudes, behaviors and speech – has been oh so destructive to the institutions that all Americans depend on to be fair and beyond reproach.
For sure, the news media, cable television in particular, has engaged in malpractice, exposing its viewers not to intellectual dialogue and discourse about the issues they care about most but rather broadcasting infotainment – mostly entertainment disguised as punditry – wherein the subject matter is more convoluted than gossip about a blind earthworm who fucked a one-legged baby chicken in a stolen police car.
Criticism about the coverage of the presidential election range from the candidates and their surrogates, to the viewers and even news media professionals. Mr. Dean Banquet, Executive Editor of The New York Times, last week said of the news media, CNN and Fox News in particular, that they’re “bad for democracy.”
Last month, Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media to fully, accurately and fairly present the news has plummeted to its lowest level in Gallup polling history. According to Gallup, whose been surveying the public’s attitudes towards the media since 1972 and found the highest point of confidence in 1967 with 72% of Americans expressing trust in Fourth Estate, reported in September that only 32% of those polled say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media – last year’s figure was 40%.
“I think there are legitimate reasons why people are distrustful of the media,” Ms. Vanessa Graber, station manager of newly launched WPPM 106.5, a community low-powered radio outlet in Philadelphia which in its radio production classes initiates and encourages news media analysis, told Techbook Online two weeks ago.
The loudest critic of the news media and a host of other American institutions has been Mr. Trump, an incredibly buffoonish sexual predator who, with his many speeches, has suggested that not only is the press rigged, but so is the forthcoming election, days after which Mr. Trump is scheduled to stand trial in a racketeering lawsuit.
Fearing and even anticipating a loss on November 8th, Mr. Trump, without as much probable cause, has declared, not speculated, that there’s widespread voter fraud in cities like Chicago and Philadelphia. Of course, his irresponsible rhetoric has impacted the electorate: according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, 41 percent of voters, and 71 percent of Republicans, said the election could be stolen from Mr. Trump – only 17 percent of Democrats acknowledge the potential of widespread voter fraud.
Mr. Trump and his surrogates, prior to Friday’s revelation which some say ruined Mr. Comey’s reputation, often maligned the FBI, and its director, for not pursuing criminal charges against Mrs. Clinton for her email scandal, wherein data was erased or lost and devices destroyed after being sought by investigators. Indeed, the Trump campaign routinely and publicly second guessed Mr. Comey’s work and caused voters, already leery of government, to be evermore cynical.
Post-Friday, the second-guessing continues, only now it’s a result of acrimony from the left. So, what’s the end game for either party? Because a country can’t exist when almost all of its institutions are seen as illegitimate and constantly maligned in the public square.
Though Election Day is only eight days away, it’s fair to question whether our institutions can survive another week of public castigation. And even if they are rigid enough not to crumble during this high-profile political process, is what will be left of them able to uphold and sustain our democracy?
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
The role of men is changing in the 21st century. Want to keep up? Get the best stories from The Good Men Project delivered straight to your inbox, here.
Photo Credit: Getty Images