I tried to avoid this as long as I could, but being a writer, I found it impossible to stay on the sidelines any longer. Writers write, so, here I am – writing.
What bothers me most is that I can’t seem to avoid these missives, no matter how hard I try. I keep telling myself that I won’t get involved, I won’t buy into the trash, I won’t keep chiming when I read lunacy because my thoughts are for naught anyway. I mean, whose going to listen to a nobody writer putting his observations on his website Think31.com (shameless plug) that few read anyway. Hell, one person who does read called my efforts conspiracy theory – which may or may not be a compliment.
That aside, the reason I write for Think31 is not to take a partisan side, although it may seem that way to, well, partisans, but really, it’s to address what I perceive to be injustice or something so partisan that it needs to be countered if, for nothing else, an attempt at balance – an alternative take in these polarizing times. That’s my sole purpose. Anyone that knows me, knows this to be true, especially when it comes to my political scribbling. But what I am finding out is that it doesn’t matter…people will believe whatever they wish to believe regardless how questionable or overwhelming the “evidence” is. We can convince ourselves of anything, and like a thoroughbred with blinders, only focus on what fits our political outlook, especially in this political cycle. Truly, fascinating and at times, pathetic to watch.
Let’s take this latest controversy about what Mr. Trump allegedly said about the military. There are so many that have jumped on the “he did it” bandwagon it’s astonishing. I have no idea whether he said it or not. What I care most about are actions and policy, not what someone may or may not have said at one time or another. Things are said all the time in private, not meant for public consumption, and anyone reading this who says “not me” are liars in totality. You know it as well as I do. But…
So, what do we have?. A reputable reporter with a solid track record, Jennifer Griffin, reported that Mr. Trump made disparaging remarks about dead soldiers, and avoided driving to the American cemetery to honor World War I dead. There’s more to the story, but the key point is that the allegations were corroborated by four sources wishing to remain anonymous. The reasons they gave were that they didn’t want to be inundated by mean tweets, constant questions, and the like.
To make things more interesting, all of the major cable networks, including Fox (which for some reason seems to carry more cachet among those on the left when they report things like this), also seem to have corroborated the story…with anonymous sources of their own. This means that Jennifer Griffin’s anonymous sources were corroborated with other anonymous sources, all who said the story is true…a story that apparently happened two years ago and was never reported.
I am not saying that what Ms. Griffin said isn’t true, but let me present another alternative. Does it not seem strange that all of the sources…all of them…do not want to come forward to stand and say what they heard publicly? This is a story of potentially significant consequences, not to mention horrific disrespect to our military men and women by their Commander-in-Chief, yet none will come forward? Not one.
Some will say that sources should remain anonymous and journalists need those sources to stay that way for obvious reasons. I get that, but how then does that give the story any credibility at all, especially when the allegations are this disparaging? One would think if said sources were so aggrieved at least one would be willing to come forth.
There are a couple of other items to note as well: John Bolton, no friend of the president, came out and stated without hesitation that he was there and nothing of the sort was stated, at all, end of discussion. Does that not carry any weight at all, especially among those that so willingly wish to believe anonymous sources to the contrary? If you believe one, why not the other? In fact, numerous people have publicly stated that nothing of the sort was stated by the president, nothing at all, yet they are not to be believed, only the anonymous accusers…interesting.
Further, since it was published in The Atlantic, there had to be truth to it. The Atlantic is quite well known, and while it once enjoyed a reputation as relatively non-partisan, that has shifted quite a bit. Laurene Powell Jobs (yes, that Jobs), purchased the Atlantic, and has given over $500,000 to Joe Biden’s campaign. Conflict of interest? Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor who allowed the article to be published is also a significant Biden supporter. It all seems so convenient, doesn’t it?
The same tactic was used during the “whistleblower” scandal not long ago. That source was never named either, and while there are some protections for whistleblowers, this particular case didn’t warrant those protections, yet they were given nonetheless.
Anonymous sources, it should be pointed out, are anonymous to the reader, but not to the writers or, presumably, the publisher. However, this implication has such far reaching consequences that it seems reprehensible an article would be published such as this without anyone willing to go on the record to confirm it. Even if you cannot stomach the president, does it not seem just a bit too convenient?
There is more, much more, but this piece would go on forever. The point is that no matter what’s printed by me or anyone else, the fact is that Mr. Trump has a history of defaming those he doesn’t like despite their military service; see John McCain. That alone makes the story plausible, but does not make it true on its face. Therein lies the problem. Those that wish it to be true will believe anything that comes their way in order to defame a person they loathe, making justifications for the existence of any disparaging story in any way possible. Nothing will change their minds, ever. The same can be said for those that are in the “Trump camp”, looking for any way to get him “off the hook”.
All I’m saying here is that if one looks objectively at what’s been presented, both sides of it, it is rather difficult to believe the story is true. It seems little more than a hit job deliberately aimed at whittling away the pro-military vote before the coming election. If I were to tell you that you’ve been accused of saying something by four anonymous people who wished to remain anonymous, there is no doubt in my mind you’d call into question my motivations, and rightfully so. More than likely, you’d dismiss them out of hand, with extreme prejudice. If that’s the case, why would anyone not at least examine all of the parts here…all of them…and come to a rational conclusion which says there must be more than heresay and the word of anonymous sources for allegations of such magnitude to be considered true. Maybe they are…and if so, those that made such allegations should stand and be counted so that Mr. Trump can be held accountable.
Sadly, this won’t be the case. Heresay to justify our political outlook is the elixir of the masses. This is where we’re at now, and I, for one, am disheartened. Our minds are closed, not to be pried open no matter how much evidence, or lack of it, is presented on either side of the divide. There is no way out, and in the end, no way up unless we hold journalists and ourselves to a higher standard. At present, accusations on both sides are as a playground argument with clearly defined sides and no winner. Well, the playground is closed due to Covid, so maybe we should all go home and rethink some things. I thought we were supposed to be grown ups?