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POULSEN: Post US election, and the sky hasn't fallen yet

Image Credit: Chuck Poulsen
November 18, 2016 - 12:08 PM

 


OPINION


A few tardy thoughts on the election, befitting someone who has turned 70 this year, just like Donald Trump. Guys our age don't think as fast as we used to.

Hillary, as all know, won the popular vote but not the vote in the electoral college. This is the fifth time an elected president has not won the popular vote, the last being Dubbya in 2000.

It's renewed calls for an end to the electoral college, but I wonder how many of those dissatisfied with the system realize - logically speaking - that change would also call for the end of the senate, which gives every state, regardless of size, two senators.

What country in its right mind would want to abolish its senate?

A Far Side kind of thought about the sacred U.S. constitution: No one alive ever voted for it.

Trump has waited until after the election to do the long-predicted pivot to sanity. He's become the voice of reason and calm. He will not scrap NATO but wants others to pay their fair share.

Members are supposed to pay two per cent of GDP to NATO. The U.S. is on top of the list at 3.6 per cent. Of 27 member countries, 22 aren't up to their two per cent, including Canada at one per cent. Only four countries pay less of their GDP than Canada. We're pikers!

Hillary's use of emails was stupid, if not criminal. FBI director James Comey said there was no intent to commit a crime and that was that. Of course, he reopened and re-closed the investigation just before the election and Hillary is laying the blame for her defeat at Comey's desk.

Trump didn't get any more votes than Mitt Romney last time around. Hillary got far less than Obama. Regardless of all the analyses about rural versus big city and elites versus bumpkins, it wasn't so much Trump winning the election as it was Hillary, with her very own basket of deplorables, losing it. She was the worst candidate the Democrats have put up in a lifetime and more.

The much more important issue than emails is Bill and Hillary's foundation, through which donors allegedly got special favours from Hillary when she was secretary of state, and Bill made a whole bundle of shady money speechifying for the Arabs. All of which has been called "pay-for-play."

There may, and should be, a special prosecutor appointed to unravel what is undoubtedly a mountain of complexities to the whole thing, which, not the emails, could send Hillary (and Bill) to jail, i.e., criminal intent.

This much seems to be beyond dispute:

Hillary said that when she and Bill left the White House they were almost penniless. As of last year, Bill and Hillary Clinton had a combined net worth of $111 million dollars. The lawyers call this a prima facie case (based on first impressions). $111 million is a lot of prima facie.

Will Obama pardon the both of them even before they have been charged? Not if you believe Ed Klein's book: Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas.
The Clintons and Obamas all despised each other, says the book.

On the other hand, Obama may be thinking about how much he can make after he leaves office in January and thinking: "Let's just forget all this investigation stuff about former presidents."

Some 28 per cent of Hispanics voted for Trump. Not a surprise. How would you expect those Hispanics who went through the system legitimately to feel about fellow Mexicans who wanted to jump the queue?

Adios, amigos, is how they felt.

I have been in the media my entire working life and I've never before seen such an abrogation of responsibility to provide fair and balanced news coverage.

It seemed to be everywhere. Hard news reporters and their editors thought they had a right to tell, almost assault, readers and viewers with what to think.

I won't drag out all the reports but one representative survey done by the Media Research Center found that Trump enjoyed significantly more airtime on broadcast networks than Hillary, but almost all of it - 91 percent - was negative.

New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. admitted the paper failed in its job to meet basic journalistic standards and promised to "rededicate" itself to fairness. He might start the process by resigning.

In Canada, the National Post and Globe and Mail - the so-called national papers - were equally guilty of trying to shape the news rather than reporting it. They imposed a form of censorship on the news. They failed you totally in the basic tenets of their craft: opinions are for columnists and the editorial page but hard news should be done straight up and with complete and balanced information the reader can then decide upon.

The reporting of this campaign was a step back in time of over 100 years when bullying newspapers practised what became known as yellow journalism.

What should happen is that a whole lot of people - deplorable journalists and their bosses - will be fired.

What I think will happen, is nothing.

And that's as worrisome for society - in the U.S. and Canada - as the worst you might think of Trump.

— Chuck Poulsen is a retired newspaper reporter who lives in Peachland. He can be contacted at poulsenc30@hotmail.com.


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