We are seeing a real infantilization of Western culture, and with infantilization, comes the lack of critical thinking and rationality.
James Comey once had a lofty position as Director of the FBI, the same title J. Edgar Hoover once ruled with an iron fist. We absolutely know that Hoover frightened presidents, including Richard Nixon, whose infamous and fateful tapes had revealed as much.
So let’s get the idea out of the way that presidents and FBI directors are friends on a superhero team, children.
You have one group of exclusively white men (FBI directors) butting heads with the all-but-one white men presidents. Alpha males with paper crowns up against other Alpha males with paper crowns. FBI directors work up the ranks; presidents grab votes.
When I worked as a journalist, I had dealings with the FBI twice: once when I wrote a cover story for a magazine called Vent about the ten best places to work in the US and how to get a job there. Unfortunately, the magazine folded one month before this massive undertaking was published, but one of the places was the FBI.
I got my interviews, and I cannot say they weren’t informative (each agent is vetted extensively pretty much from the cradle on), but I did feel like I was being talked to as if I was a child. The article never saw the light of day, and I wasn’t happy, considering the amount of work and coordination that went nowhere, but the tone of the interviews stayed with me.
The second time was more indirect. There was a journal where I submitted an article about dealing with the press. It wasn’t accepted, which was fine, but the tone of the letter and the reasons were patronizing, and the letter pretty much said the media needed the FBI than the other way around; so something like my article wasn’t needed because for a journalist to lay out the dynamics was self-serving.
Excuse me, but when the FBI exploits the press to do their jobs, that is equally self-serving.
There was that same patronizing tone and logic, and the exercise was very instructive.
When you work up the ranks, you develop a sense of superiority. I have seen it elsewhere and frequently. I am certain Comey had underestimated Donald Trump who comes off as a silly and self-indulgent eccentric, but isn’t. Trump’s firing of Comey was pure theatre, and sent a clear message that he didn’t know everything or could size up the man who was in the White House by means of a “popularity contest” (which isn’t how elections are actually won).
The press, as usual, missed all of the nuances and dynamics. They are taken that Comey thinks that Trump is morally unfit to be president. They are obsessed with Trump’s tweets slamming Comey, which is just another misdirection.
ABC’s very mediocre and kid glove interview of Comey is a study of the confirmation bias, and a true interview doesn’t have that structural flaw. Comey made a lot of statements and innuendoes that could have been challenged, the biggest assumption was that the butting heads was somehow out of the ordinary. J. Edgar Hoover’s reign would indicate otherwise.
People in power clash and often, especially if they hold a powerful position, and then must defer to a superior. The problems began when one man underestimated the other — a man whose job it is to read people and size them up in order to arrest them for their complex criminal activities. That Comey was blindsided in his termination was more than just newsworthy — it was a public game of Go.
That should have been the actual starting point for the interview because the brings far more complex questions about the dynamics of power, and how savvy was a FBI Director that couldn’t profile his own superior. Was Comey fit for his position when he couldn’t get a read on Trump? Is there a systemic flaw that was inadvertently revealed by this peculiar incident, and could a criminal or a collective exploit that weakness to cause harm to the US?
That would have been the questions to ask. This was a book promotion, making it advertising, and someone shilling his book is going to lay it on thick with insults. That’s not news.
But Comey was asleep at the wheel when Trump outmaneuvered him — and that’s more concerning. Hoover, for all of his flaws — was always a step ahead.
But when we think like children, we don’t look for the problems — we just want to be amused and validated — ABC could have done far more than just help someone sell more books, but that’s wasn’t going to happen because in an Age of Propaganda, people don’t want to see that reality…