The Fool and the Statesman

Published: October 26, 2012

By Jim Lichtman
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One day a fool and a statesman were featured on a television broadcast. While the fool had been featured on many, manybroadcasts over the last year, the statesman – ever mindful of thinking before speaking – chose to stay out of the spotlight.

The fool carefully primed the media pump by telling many,many people – especially Fox News’s FOX & Friends – about a very, very big announcement he was going to make:

“I have something very, very big concerning the president of the United States,” the fool said.

Meanwhile, the statesman contacted only one media outlet – CBS This Morning – to say that he would have something to say about the presidential race.

Needless to say, the media buzz was both immediate and electric… for the fool’s announcement. The statesman, well while he was well-regarded by most citizens of a great and glorious land, they had come to expect him to be a moderate and reasonable voice on all matters political, (which is code for: not very exciting).

Meanwhile, the fool has everyone in the media elite (and not so elite) anxiously awaiting his announcement. Billed as “a bombshell,” the fool’s moment came Wednesday evening via our most “trusted news source,” YouTube:

“President Obama is the least transparent president in the history of this country. There’s never been anything like it. We know very little about our president. I’m very honored to have gotten him to release his long-form birth certificate, or whatever it may be.

“Now, many, many people have questions, and very serious questions. I have a deal for the president, a deal that I don’t believe, he can refuse, and I hope he doesn’t.

“If Barack Obama opens up and gives his college records and applications, if he gives his passport applications and records, I will give to a charity of his choice – Inner city children in Chicago, American Cancer Society, AIDS research, anything he wants, a check, immediately, for $5 million.”

Meanwhile, while many, many people in the media reported the fool’s announcement throughout the evening, the next morning and beyond, only one news channel first reported the statesman’s announcement (with a few follow-ups by other news agencies):

The statesman, a former four-star general, chairman of the joint chiefs and secretary of state, politely made his announcement on CBS This Morning:

“I voted for [Barack Obama] in 2008 and I plan to stick with him in 2012…”

Explaining his position, the statesman added:

“When [Obama] took over, the country was in very, very, difficult straits. We were in one of the worst recessions we had seen in recent times, close to a depression. The fiscal system was collapsing. Wall Street was in chaos, we had 800,000 jobs lost in that first month of the Obama administration and unemployment peaked a few months later at 10 percent. So we were in real trouble.

“The auto industry was collapsing, the housing was start[ing] to collapse and we were in very difficult straits. And I saw over the next several years, stabilization come back in the financial community, housing is now starting to pick up after four years, it’s starting to pick up. Consumer confidence is rising.”

In the meantime, many, many other media sources continued to repeat the fool’s announcement:

“He’ll be doing a great service for the country if he does this. If he releases these records, it will end these questions and indeed the anger of many Americans. They’ll know something about their president. Their president will become transparent, like other presidents.”

The statesman continued to plod along, albeit, ever so calmly:

“The unemployment rate is too high, people are still hurting in housing but I see that we’re starting to rise up.”

The fool continued:

“So, all he has to do to get $5 million dollars for a charity or charities of his choice is to get his colleges to immediately give his applications and records and also to release his passport records. When he does that, to my satisfaction, if it’s complete, this check is delivered immediately.”

The statesman:

“The president got us out of one war, [is] starting to get us out of a second war and did not get us into any new wars. And finally I think that the actions he has taken with respect to protecting us from terrorism have been very, very solid. And so, I think we ought to keep on the track that we are on.”

The fool:

“One caveat: the records must be given by October 31st at five o’clock in the afternoon.”

The statesman:

“I think I’m a Republican of a more moderate mold. That’s something of a dying breed I’m sorry to say.”

Whether you agree or disagree with the statesman’s choice of candidates is not the point.

The moral of the story for citizens: No one should listen to a habitual fool even if he’s worth $2.9 billion.

Moral for the news media: Pay more attention to statesmen and stop giving airtime to fools.


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