Too much cheating coverage
TRAVERSE CITY — So, let me get this straight. We’re outraged that Michael Bloomberg is spending his own money to run for president but we’re OK with: 1) Trump spending his millions to run in 2016; 2) Trump encouraging and accepting the help of the Russian government; and 3) Trump using $2.82 million from a fundraiser for veterans for his campaign. Gotcha. We live in the Upside Down, to quote “Stranger Things.”
– The endless “the Astros cheated” coverage has more to do with bored baseball writers having little to do until spring training really gets than about real outrage. Yes, the Astros cheated. But baseball players have always cheated. Cheating is baked into the game’s DNA. Corked bats, spitballs, pine tar, steroids, throwing games, pretending to catch the ball etc. Even the league itself cheated last year by using a juiced ball to increase home runs and drive up interest. And teams like the Tigers cheat fans by not even trying. Sure, the league should have taken away their 2017 World Series crown. But all the fake outrage from players is hypocritical bunk. Would anyone have cared so much if the Astros weren’t good? Doubt it. Time to move on.
– It was great to see 2,000 prosecutors send a letter to Bill Barr, Trump’s personal attorney … er, I mean Attorney General … demanding he resign. It proved to me that not everyone has given up and given in to Trumpery. Chances of Barr resigning? Zero. Why? Because shame died a long time ago in the Republican Party.
– I’m going to really stretch for an analogy here to make a point, but what the heck. Our nation’s principles and institutions are like a sweater, and Trump is stretching them beyond all recognition. He’s stretched the bounds of executive power to the point that he now has precedent on his side, which future presidents will no doubt invoke when they want to do something. He controls one branch of Congress, and in a bicameral body that’s all you need to frolic unchecked. He controls the Judiciary, which now passively does his bidding. The Justice Dept.? Yup, he says he’s proclaimed himself the nation’s top law enforcement official. (I’m picturing Barney Fife here.) It’s getting scary. Oliver Wendell Holmes said: “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” The same goes for government. And sweaters.
– I do wish political pundits and the Democratic candidates for president would stop with the expression “circular firing squad.” Five thousand times is enough, folks.
– And I will keep saying this until local TV people stop saying it: Lost human beings and dogs do not “go missing.” They’re just missing, OK?
– Did you watch the Oscars a couple weeks ago? Or the Emmys? Or the Golden Globes? Or the Grammys? If so, why? I’d really like to know.
– MLive, my former newspaper chain, has decided to do away with online comments. You won’t hear me mourning the loss. Has there ever been a polite, substantive debate in comment sections? They’re where ids go to roam free. A few journalists I know are decrying the loss, saying dropping comments is limiting free speech. Baloney. When papers were print-only, there weren’t comments beneath each story. People could write letters to the editor, and have them printed if they wanted to say something. But those letters were carefully screened. Trolls wouldn’t have been tolerated. People have the right to free speech but they don’t have the right to a platform that isn’t theirs.
– “Lost time is never found again.” – Benjamin Franklin
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Andrew Heller, an award-winning newspaper columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Follow him at andrewheller.com and on Facebook and Twitter. Write to him vis email at email@example.com.