“Do you plan to shoot at the King? A word of caution: Don’t miss.” – Ancient maxim
If one were to assemble all the “journalists” and “pundits” practicing those trades today, and were to pose to them a single, imperative question:
“Would you undertake to assassinate the president of the United States under any circumstances?”
...the answers might not be perfectly, uniformly negative. Some respondents might attempt to further define the circumstances postulated. Some might hedge their positions according to the “character” of the target-to-be. However, not one of those persons would unqualifiedly answer “Yes.” It would constitute a self-imposed life sentence of rigid separation from anyone in any public office.
Of course! If a “journalist” were to admit that he might be willing to shoot at the King, the princes, dukes, counts, and barons would have a reason to fear him as well. It’s a danger no one in a high place would willingly court...and therefore, a possibility to which no one who seeks to practice the trade of “journalism,” in our time so heavily dependent on “access” to the highly placed, would ever admit.
However, what “journalists” are willing to admit wouldn’t necessarily be congruent with what they’d be willing to do.
Another bit of old wisdom pertains to consequences: specifically, that we may reasonably infer from a man’s actions that he intended the foreseeable consequences thereof. This is not quite water-tight: it wouldn’t apply to “gambles” with a significant downside that becomes real. No sane person hopes to fail, especially if failure would carry a large cost.
He who gambles demonstrates a conviction: that in his opinion, the prize is worth the peril. His embrace of the risks involved is conscious and indisputable. That doesn’t soften the blow should his gamble fail. Certain “journalists” and “news media” are discovering that as we speak.
If you follow the political news, you’re probably already aware of this bit of Trumpiana:
The victim of that contemptuous dismissal was Jim Acosta of CNN. That media organ has been tireless in attempting to defame Trump: to cast doubt on his fitness for the office he will assume eight days hence. CNN’s efforts in that direction go back more than a year. It might have been the conscious intention of CNN’s management; it might have been a path unconsciously chosen by its lower-level employees. In either case, the gamble failed: CNN “shot at the King” – and missed.
It’s a solid bet that CNN’s reporters will enjoy very limited access to the Trump Administration, if any. Trump is not known for forgetting a slight.
The major media are not alone in their aversion to Trump. The “permanent government” and both wings of the Establishment in Congress dislike him just as much. What’s notable is the extent to which they’ve been willing to demonstrate that in the wake of his election:
‘I think it’s pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press. First of all, it’s illegal. These are classified and certified meetings and reports,’ Trump said during a press conference at Trump Tower – his first since getting elected.
Then he revealed the details of the stealthy sting he says he conducted on the nation’s senior spooks.
‘I’ll tell you what does happen. I have many meetings with intelligence. And every time I meet, people are reading about it,' Trump complained, possibly referencing reports on his classified briefings, which he has chosen not to receive daily.
'Somebody’s leaking them out,’ Trump said, after inveighing against leaks generally.
‘So I said, "Maybe it’s my office. Maybe my office." Because I’ve got a lot of people … Maybe it’s them?’
‘What I did, is I said I won’t tell anyone. I’m going to have a meeting, and I won’t tell anybody about my meeting with intelligence,’ Trump continued.
He even shielded one of his closest aides from word of the meeting.
‘Nobody knew – not even Rhona, my executive assistant for years. She didn’t know – I didn’t tell her. Nobody knew,’ Trump continued – drawing laughter from collected family members and staff.
Having set the trap, Trump says the word leaked anyway.
‘The meeting was held. They left, and immediately the word got out that I had a meeting. So, I don’t want that. It’s very unfair to the country. It’s very unfair to our country what’s happening,’ he said.
If someone at the helm of one of the intelligence agencies is leaking sensitive information – classified or otherwise – America has a serious problem. It would become far more serious were international tensions to rise further. But let’s not get too far off point. Would a director of an intelligence organ have done any such thing to a president-elect other than Donald J. Trump?
No, I don’t think so either.
Coups often occur within a government. Indeed, a coup undertaken without some degree of support from within the existing government or military will have a minuscule chance of success. The probability that someone inside the corridors of power is plotting against the supremo is proportional to the number of persons in those corridors. The probability that he’ll have confederates is the same.
Any such plotters would naturally seek the assistance of powers outside the halls of State. Today, they would have instant allies in the media and the world of entertainment. They might feel that the odds are heavily in their favor, especially if their tactics had worked to stifle or confound other highly placed persons.
The federal government of the United States is larger than it’s ever been before. Our media, even with the blows they’ve taken from averse public opinion, are many and powerful. The entertainment world commands the attention of millions. And the president-elect, who gained the office against opposition they helped to mobilize, has been unabashed in criticizing all of them.
But their counterstrike was founded on an underestimation of the awareness and shrewdness of their target. They initiated it a little too soon.
I had some fears about Trump. I was unhappy with his vulgarisms and doubted that his temperament would suit the responsibilities of the presidency. At the end I opted for him anyway, on “lesser evil” grounds. Since then he’s impressed me with his Cabinet selections and his unwillingness to conciliate those who attacked him. The episodes mentioned above have reassured me still more.
As with all politicians, when Trump does right, he should hear about it – and those who’ve attempted to “do him wrong” should hear about it too. There are few other feedback mechanisms short of impeachment and trial. This is my contribution, for what little it’s worth.
President-elect Trump, I misjudged you. I won’t do so again. Keep up the good work.