In 44 B.C., when Marcus Junius Brutus plunged his dagger into Julius Caesar and the dying leader of the world’s major civilization muttered “Et tu, Brute?” politics was clearly identified as a blood sport. Public assassinations, quiet coup d’état take-overs, declared civil wars, street riots and many sinister activities to gain political power were and are characteristics of a blood sport with profound consequences.
While daggers, poison and various lethal devices are used in other nations to create political change, the 21st century has brought us a new weapon — modern communication networks. The weapons are words and the methods are profound. Today’s Brutus may be your nightly TV news anchor, a college professor, or a skillful writer presenting opinion via print media.
Yes, “the pen is mightier than the sword”, according to novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton. These words were written in 1839 for his historical play, Cardinal Richelieu. With modern TV screens, plus streaming images and photos generated by the citizenry at large on laptops and mobile devices, the pen is joined by unrelenting audio and images created to mold people’s thinking.
Most public opinion regarding public policy can be segregated between the extremes of an ideological spectrum, either right (conservative) or left (liberal), and the middle has a tendency toward one or the other. Give and take cracker barrel discussion has been smothered by passion. Opponents today are unyielding with the certainty that there is no merit whatsoever to opposing viewpoints.
Wikipedia notes that the Media Research Center (MRC) is a politically conservative content analysis organization based in Reston, Virginia, and founded in 1987 by L. Brent Bozell III. Its stated mission is to “prove — through sound scientific research — that liberal bias in the media does exist and undermines traditional American values.”
Not so fast, retorts the left. In response its supporters have organized The Center for American Progress (CAP) in 2003 as a left-leaning think tank. CAP sponsored the organization of Media Matters for America in May 2004 to combat the conservative journalism sector. The force behind the information is David Brock and his group has been funded by notorious billionaire George Soros, a dedicated globalist.
Fabrication, distortion and outright lying make up much of the progressive message. Brock put a couple of notches on his belt with a takedown of notable personalities, beginning with New York radio icon Don Imus, who was off the air for months after insensitive comments about black female athletes from Rutgers University. Heavy hitters such as the late Roger Ailes, creator of Fox News Channel, and former FNC show host Bill O’Reilly, eventually run off the air by a New York Times report followed by advertiser boycotts, are among those who have endured the effects of the Brock smear machine. Media Matters frequently targets FNC host Sean Hannity, who has endured multiple advertiser boycotts.
Just like the gladiators in a Roman arena who are trying to kill each other for the entertainment value, today’s combatants have few rules and no ethics. Ask Bernie Sanders, a naïve socialist with gobs of popular support, if he ever had a realistic chance to win the recent Democrat party nomination. In today’s political world his answer will continue to be politician-speak double talk. But it was Bernie’s blood on the floor when all was said and done after the 2016 nomination season.
Political blood sport has a new chapter in the conflict as the laws of our nation are used against opponents by an investigator (“Special Council”) commissioned at the highest level of the Federal justice system. To the public, that individual has a stated objective of finding truth. The designee is granted extraordinary powers as well as unlimited funding and the media seems to delight in the process. Special Council Robert Mueller’s investigation into so-called Russian collusion was launched following a recommendation by the Department of Justice that followed months of speculation about Russian hacking of Democrat party data and possible foreign influence on the 2016 Presidential campaign.
Caught in the “investigation” can be many second- and third-level individuals, who can be charged with inconsequential process crimes that carry long prison terms. These folks are encouraged to “cooperate”, which means they will testify under oath about a higher up in return for a slap on the wrist by the Court. Blackmail, for sure. The nonspecific statute is a mighty tool in the prosecution toolbox.
The public quickly forgets pop culture star Martha Stewart’s and Bush 43-era White House official Scooter Libby’s jail time. The FBI can lie to an interviewee during a meeting, but the subject goes to jail for a false statement to the agent. And to prove a point the government can bankrupt an individual through defensive legal fees, ruin careers and with a shrug walk away when the process is finished.
Now that politics is defined even more so as a blood sport, predicting the future is uncertain. Reason and rationality are cast aside (thus, we see current Democrat members of the House presenting baseless articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump). Wisdom in the collective opinion of the people might be the only way to counter the destructive nature of political blood sport.
If not, well, Et Tu, Brute.
– Walter B. Bull Jr.