In part because I’m an old fart (that rhymes!) who harbors this comedically outdated notion that high-quality, professional journalism plays an essential role in the functioning of a successful democracy, I’m a 30-year subscriber to the NY Times. Underpaid substance abusers with drivers’ licenses toss one on (or close to) my lawn every morning, along with a Miami Hurled (mostly for the comics).
Understandably, once in a while they screw it up. One day this week, instead of a NY Times, I get a NY Post, a truly ghastly specimen of tabloid. But I do give them credit for their occasionally brilliant and entertaining headlines. E.g., “Nopening Day” on the sports page.
I pick through the paper anyway. I’m a big fan of newspapers, so even a bad one is worth a critical look.
I encounter a truly upsetting column – I won’t mention the hack’s name or provide a link – that suggests Noo Yawkers are suffering from a tsunami of negative social media aimed at enforcing the statewide policy to “socially distance” with fear, despair, and terror. He characterizes this as “horror mongering” for attention, and wants it toned down, if not shut it off. And he finds it especially irking that the perpetrators cloak their motives by claiming they’re performing a public service.
Perhaps he’s just a sensitive soul – lotta those on the NY Post, right? — or as dense a Covidiot as President Pinocchio – but how is it even possible to condemn tweeters for harping about a plague that’s slaying citizens by the thousands, in a city where medical staff at hospitals is reduced to wearing makeshift trash bags because there aren’t enough HazMat suits or masks to go around? Stay off the streets, they’re saying, echoing the Ongoing Official Message. Stay inside and help us all stay alive! How is this a bad thing?
He condemns their attitude, because he has deduced they’re getting a thrill out of scaring people. How he comes to his conclusion is unclear. But his motive is obvious: with every tweet and call-out, he’s reminded how inept, wrong-headed, and lethally dangerous the Trumpf administration’s approach has been and continues to be. While we already know that Trumpanzees can’t handle the truth, ever, he reminds us they don’t like to hear that we know they can’t.
There’s no question this country has been terribly managed throughout this pandemic. Leadership played it down, wingnut media spewed misinformation and outright lies, and official efforts squandered precious time that is costing us lives and liberty. Unqualified, uninformed, and incompetent people abound in positions of authority, threatening entire lives. Of course people are outraged, helpless, and terrified, and need to vent. We don’t need patronizing crap that dismisses our fury at this administration’s gross incompetence and the horrors that result. Stick your politics back up your ass where you hatched them.
Sure hope I get a NY Times tomorrow.