The problems with this article are almost too many to spend time enumerating. McCain is himself a threat to liberty, because he continues to support the U.S. Warfare State and tells falsehoods about the success of previous wars. I linked to a good article about MCain’s warfare flaws earlier this month. McCain hasn’t stopped being a shining example of all that’s wrong with American politics. He goes back and forth, flopping positions, saying nothing, but insinuating everything.
“I hate the press. I hate you especially,” he told interviewer Chuck Todd from an international security conference in Munich.
Well, that’s a good start, right? He sounds an awful lot like President Trump, right? McCain continues:
“But the fact is we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It’s vital.”
Why do we need something McCain hates? What reasonable person says they hate something and then admits we need it? McCain is double-minded. If he had any guts, he would just tell the guy to shove off. I realize that it is possible to hate something that’s good for you, like going to the dentist, but we all know that when someone says they hate going to the dentist, they are just being emotional, not rational. When McCain says he hates the Press and then immediately says we need it, he is demonstrating that he doesn’t have the backbone to to tell the simple truth.
He continues to demonstrate his irrationality by conflating “the Press” with the “free press.” No one is arguing that we don’t need a free press. No one has taken any measures to bind the press—not Congress, not the Judiciary, not the President. Saying we need “a free press” is not the same as saying we need “the Press.” We need a free press and should have a free press, but we also need a just press, a fair press, an honest press, an honorable press. Why does McCain say he hates the press? Surely he doesn’t say so because they are free. Surely he doesn’t say so because he doesn’t have a reason to hate them. Surely he doesn’t say he “hates the press” because he thinks that they are just and fair and honest and honorable. Isn’t it exactly the opposite? Again, if he had backbone, he would simply call them out for what they are. He hates the Press because they are loathsome as an entity. Are there decent, upstanding, just, fair, honest, and honorable members of the Press? Of course, but they are the exception, not the rule. Ron Paul showed that it’s possible to have an honest politician, but that one exception doesn’t eliminate the rule that American politicians—as a whole—are dishonest. John McCain is one of those politicians who proves the rule.
“If you want to preserve—I’m very serious now—if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started,” he continued.
One of the problems with politicians today (and throughout history) is duplicity. They say one thing but the context of their actions over time show they mean another. Or they have unequal weights and measures, handing out inconsistent justice. Or they show favoritism, granting favors based on personal preference or—worse—on what they think they will get in return. McCain is a first-class politician in this sense. He is consistently duplicitous. You see it, right? You hear it? Oh, the press is terrible, but I don’t want you to hate me so I’m going to say nice stuff to you, too. And I’m going to say part of what I really believe but then I’m going to walk it back all the way because I’m scared of you and I want you to be nice to me and I care more about myself than I do about the people of my state who elected me and about the American people at large and really I just want people to elect me again so that I can keep up this posh job with its high pay and with all its power, because, boy, I especially don’t want to lose the power. Wow! I really don’t want to lose that. So I’ll say or do whatever I have to say or do to make sure I don’t lose my money and power and if that means one moment waggling my finger at you like a school marm and then the next moment kissing up to you, so be it.
To be more specific, McCain says a bunch of things that are true, but he strings them together in such a way that the statement as a whole becomes false. (I am assuming that when McCain states an subjective thing such as a feeling, it is true. This is a logical thing that you probably understand, so I won’t go into the logical basis for accepting a subjective self-reflexive statement as true. I will, rather, assume you know this.) Here are some of the truths McCain speaks:
- “I hate the press.”
- “I hate you especially.”
- “We need a free press.”
- “We must have it.”
- “It’s vital.”
- “I’m very serious now.”
- “You have to have a free and many times adversarial press.”
- “Without it, . . . we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time.”
- “I am afraid.”
- “That’s how dictators get started.” (This one is arguable, but I’ll accept it as true for now.)
Notice that I did not include the statement, “We need you,” as explained earlier. Notice also that he doesn’t include words like just or fair or honest or honorable. Some might respond, “But the Constitution only guarantees the freedom of the press, not its justice, fairness, honesty, or honor.” Yes, yes, of course. But that makes one of my points for me, so thank you. McCain—correctly—states that we need a press who is at times adversarial. But that isn’t guaranteed by the Constitution, either. Yes, of course, it sounds great to say we need the press to be adversarial. But why didn’t McCain add words like honest and honorable? I surmise that it’s because he knows very well that saying that would be adversarial to the Press. By constructing his statements as he has, he can say that he himself took on the Press—without really doing so. I told the Press what I thought of them. In order for the Press to be adversarial, they must have an adversary—and John McCain doesn’t want it to be him. But he is happy to feed the insatiable Press another victim by making him their adversary. As long as you leave me alone . . .
So McCain serves them up a platter of Look! Over there! There’s the one you want. Oh, look at how juicy he is! See? You don’t want me; I’m just some scraggly sack of bones compared to him. (And I know that if I feed them enough, maybe they’ll let me live; they may even accept me onto their team so I can live indefinitely without fear they’ll come after me, because their bellies are full. And maybe that way I can get to be on the winning side, because, really, that’s all I care about, and if it ever looks like the Press is losing, I’ll see what I can do to switch sides. I just want power and money, and I’ll sacrifice anything in the world—including you or anyone else I have to—to get them.) See, doesn’t he look yummy? Go on, go get him. Thatta boy! Good kitty. Big kitty. That’s right. See, you don’t want little ol’ me. You don’t want little ol’ John McCain, bag of bones. You want juicy, fresh Donald Trump. Yes, you do. Yes, yes, that’s right.
And the Press is so ready to eat up that platter, especially because what’s on that platter stands as the greatest single threat to their unjust, unfair, dishonest, dishonorable power. Unlike John McCain, Donald Trump has shown that he is willing to be the actual adversary of the Press (in its current incarnation). That’s a role, by the way, that someone needs to fill, so I’m glad someone is willing to do it. For the previous twenty-eight years, the Press didn’t have a real adversary in the President. Maybe briefly from time to time an adversary would arise, but he would either destroy himself (Elliot Spitzer, Sarah Palin) or be eaten alive (Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio). What will happen with Donald Trump? We don’t know yet. But we should all be glad he is taking on the Press. McCain certainly isn't going to.
McCain pretends, of course, that he isn’t actually talking about Trump at all:
“They get started by suppressing free press. In other words, a consolidation of power. When you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press. And I’m not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I’m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history,” McCain said.
Low-balling insinuations that Trump is behaving like a dictator ought to be beneath a member of Congress. Sadly, they aren’t, and even though McCain tried to act like he wasn’t talking about Donald Trump or saying that’s what Trump is doing, the insinuation was clear, and we all know what McCain meant. I’m not saying this is what Trump is doing (wink, wink); I’m just saying.
The Press as we know it is thirsty for power, and they don’t want to lose it, but we will all be much better off if the current Press is fought off and a much better, more honest and honorable press takes its place. If Trump is able to stand up to the low-integrity Press entity that exists today, it will be a good thing for all Americans—and for the whole world. Now, if Trump actually tries to use unconstitutional executive fiat—as his predecessor did so much—to eliminate the free press, I will gladly stand against him in that day. As long as he is merely standing up to the adversarial—and unjust and unfair and dishonest and dishonorable—Press of our day and pointing out their hypocrisy, inconsistency, disintegrity, and greed, I will cheer him on in that fight.