What doesn’t bother the heck out of us in this country bothers the heck out of me.
Prime example: Last week, businessman Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate in a special election for Montana’s only House seat in Congress, knocked a reporter to the ground then jumped on top him and wailed away like Mike Tyson, screaming “I’m sick and tired of this!”
Sick and tired of what? Questions? Good god, that’s what reporters do. They ask questions then write stories that keep us informed about what’s going on. Without those questions, and without a strong, legit media, no one would know diddly beyond the range of their own eyes and ears.
More to the point, without those questions the darkness of ignorance – and I mean the dictionary definition, which is “a lack of knowledge or information” – would creep across the land, and in that darkness corporations and self-serving politicians would run amok.
Sort of like they are today.
Sorry to sound a bit dramatic, but it’s true.
It’s also true we need a strong media. We need people asking questions, challenging authority, informing us, etc. One of the very best things about this country, in fact – one of our strongest defenses against tyranny and ignorance – is a free press.
The Founding Fathers understood that. It’s why the First Amendment is first.
Since everyone claims to be a patriot these days, you’d think the nation would be horrified by Gianforte’s actions. In particular, you’d think the people of Montana would have been horrified to the point they refused to elect him.
But of course they weren’t. They elected him handily, and now Gianforte, his temper and his misdemeanor assault charge will soon be members of Congress – the highest body in the land.
Ain’t we proud?
I can hear some of you saying, “OK, but Montana is Montana. They’d elect a ficus plant before they’d elect a Democrat.” That’s true, but did you catch what happened at Gianforte’s victory party? Gianforte apologized, saying he’d made a mistake by assaulting the reporter. (A mistake is what you call it when you’re the one doing the punching.) To which someone in the crowd said, “Not in our minds.”
That’s a stunning thing to say. And equally stunning that no one shouted him down or disagreed. But based on what I saw online in the days following the assault, the person who said it spoke for many on the alt-right, which clearly wouldn’t object to more beatings of journalists they don’t agree with. I suspect they’d be in favor of jailing reporters, as well.
Anti-“lame stream media” rhetoric is nothing new, of course. But it’s been turned up a notch since the current inhabitant of the White House declared the media to be “the enemy of the people.”
What bothers me is there’s been no equal and proportionate response from the rest of the country. Where are the people coming to the media’s defense? Where are the patriots saying, “Dammit, they can’t do this to the media – we need what they do.” Where are the people rushing to re-subscribe to newspapers or watch TV news in order to keep the darkness at bay?
We have more important things to be bothered about, apparently.
Shame on us.
Image credit: Daniel R. Blume