Thanksgiving Is Ruined
June 28, 2006
Make the bubble thicker!
TiR plays armchair Machiavelli:
OVP's muzzling of the "treasonous" press would result in a less educated electorate only as a third order, happy side effect.
The first, most central, "big time" payoff would be cutoff of any flow of useful information to (presupposedly) hostile, competitive governmental factions, thereby reducing the ability of intragovernmental (presumed) enemies to act on the information first or at all. (an ethic absorbed in the corporate world prior to joining (temporarily) the public sector?)
Think of the extent to which information is so tightly controlled in DC that the ability of many players to be effective public servants is already undercut because they are forced to rely on press reports to cobble together, in an unsystematic and belated way, basic information that is presumably critical to their effective bureaucratic function. Some examples:
A second benefit of elimination of those meddlesome news outlets would be: Save the POTUS from public embarrassment.
At this point, news reports seem to be the only way the prez gets any information about anything -- when such reports pierce the bubble. Or, put another way (in a realm where public image and private reality are hard to distinguish), POTUS is forced openly to acknowledge and comment on governmentally inconvenient facts only when widespread news coverage and public awareness of those facts makes continued feigned ignorance laughable. But even then, POTUS often maintains (as I suppose he must) the embarrassing position that he first learned the information when the general public did, through news reports. Such examples include:
Would not fewer such awkward moments occur if the public and press were as oblivious, in the same ways, of the same carefully selected and manipulated/censored issues, as is (or pretends to be) the prez?
To staunch his few remaining potential sources of squirm-inducing information would have other advantages too, including as an extension of a current ruling principle, "What you don't know can't hurt you," i.e., If the exec branch doesn't like the facts it's getting, stop gathering them. The broadened, selective looplessness of Bush's life can then serve all the more when necessary for public consumption as an accountability dampener and a soothing melodic line woven into the strains of the Wurlitzer. However, reason # 2 here also overlaps with reason # 1, above: What POTUS (or his advisors) don't know cannot be used to hurt, embarrass or outflank anyone else.