On being played for a sucker

P.T. Barnum, the late entrepreneur, once said: “There is a sucker born every minute.”  Barnum intended the term as one of derision, defining an individual as hopelessly stupid or, at the best, naïve.  Said another way, a sucker is an individual who is found easy and vulnerable to be separated from his or her money or other valuables through some kind of trick, be it a three-card Monte game or an email from a Nigerian prince who offers huge sums of money in exchange for your bank account numbers. 

In separating the items of value from the sucker, Barnum and others absolved themselves of any culpability because it was the sucker’s responsibility to avoid being played.

Being played as a sucker used to be a humiliating and shaming experience.  Hearing “shame on you!” used to be a cause for behavior self-correction to permit re-entry into civilized company or face longer periods of derision or shunning.

Apparently, not any longer.

In her article in yesterday’s AT, Clarice Feldman summarized how the Obama administration, led by the Svengali wannabe Ben Rhodes, duped the mainstream media (and the rest of us) into an agenda that could undo generations of hard work by patriots to alter the balance of power in the world. 

The smug shenanigans of Ben Rhodes, et al. should remind us of the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” scene in the 1940 Disney classic Fantasia, where the self-appointed wizard unleashes an army of brooms to carry water, along with huge unintended consequences.

Similar behavior by Rhodes and fellow sycophants, as documented by Clarice Feldman, should lead us to ask whether a real-life parallel exists.  

But first maybe we should ask – demand? – that the MSM (along with the Beltway elites – yeah, including Congress) look at itself in the mirror and ask, “Now what?”

Are there unintended consequences looming?  But before considering all the potential outcomes, we should start with something a bit more basic.

Start with some integrity and leadership by admitting their role as dupe to the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Rhodes.   

The New York Times should not congratulate itself for its reporting on the duplicity it “uncovered.”  The NYT is just a symbol of all the MSM that chooses to carry water for any administration in return for “exclusives” of any sort.  Quid pro quo.  Aka selling one’s soul. 

The NYT should apologize and beg forgiveness for not doing its job in the first place.  That expression of mea culpa by not only the NYT, but the entire MSM should be accompanied by a demonstrable resolve and example to us all that it seriously is working to regain its soul.

That is exactly what the NYT and MSM did: they sold their souls by pandering to the Beltway elites.  Collectively, the MSM failed to exercise its duty to uncover chicanery and to inform the rest of us without any bias.  No need to search for the guilty or to fire people.  Just admit the error and change the behavior to allow re-entry into civilized company.  

The MSM should find itself at a fork in the road.  

Choosing which fork to take may – and should – determine whether the MSM survives as a credible entity or chooses to remain a host of suckers.  Does the MSM choose to continue to sleep with the Beltway elites, or does it admit its collective shame and start doing its job to protect us from the predators in the Beltway?

And for the rest of us?  Have we not similarly sold our souls to the Beltway elite for the free stuff?  Are we content to let the MSM take all the blame and become irrelevant?  Or are we content to remain suckers as well and join the MSM as willing fellow travelers on the road toward irrelevancy?

Paul Bosakowski is a semi-retired civil engineer and proud curmudgeon.  He has beautiful kids and grandchildren and does not want them to be played any more in the future than they already have been.