Politicians and the media constantly ask “What’s the matter with the economy?” The answer was on glorious display this past weekend. Ironically, it is the politicians and media who are ruining it.
"The storm of the century" turned out to be "the greatest non-storm of the century," along with one of the most hysterical, exaggerated, manipulated media events of all time. Irene was a . . . rainstorm. A big one, a bad one . . . but nonetheless, a rainstorm.
But a large dangerous rainstorm didn’t fit the agenda of the power-hungry politicians, or their partners in the business of hysteria, the "if it bleeds, it leads" national media doom machine.
Media and politicians need big catastrophes and emergencies to burnish their images and make them seem important. They need to brandish words like "the worst ever" and "the biggest ever" and "the most deadly ever."
The media love these bigger-than-life headlines because they are highly profitable. The bigger, the better — it's all good for business. The more hysterical they can make the public, the higher the ratings. Catastrophes sell!
Politicians also need catastrophes and emergencies — to show they are in charge, looking out for us helpless little people. Politicians desperately need high profile platforms to showcase their leadership skills, to shout “Get out now, or you’ll die. I'm saving your life. I'm the only thing that stands between you and annilihation.”
Emergencies allow politicians to bully, intimidate, and threaten citizens, and to prove how obviously more important and brilliant they are than the lowly citizens. And, of course, if the politician is right, and the worst happens, they’ve got a platform to shout about how much we need them and how indebted we should be to them.
But what if they’re wrong? Shouldn’t they be held accountable for pulling a false alarm? Shouldn’t they be called out for needlessly scaring citizens, shutting down entire cities, entire states, the entire Eastern Seaboard for . . . a big rainstorm? Shouldn’t they pay the consequences for threatening and intimidating their own citizens to abandon their homes and businesses . . . for a big rainstorm?
Shouldn’t someone point out their exaggerations and hysteria cost citizens billions of dollars in lost wages, aggravation, and inconvenience. Or how the billions more were lost by businesses because of the politicians' hysterical decision to close America’s biggest city, sending tourists running for their lives . . . all for a big rainstorm.
Not only was a city shut down for days, the streets emptied, the transportation system shut down, but it will take days after “the nonevent of the century” to get business back to normal.
In the private sector, you’d be fired or retired for a decision this bad, costing shareholders billions of dollars. Any CEO that made a decision like this would be called "weak," "over-reacting," "skittish," and "not fit for leadership." And of course, Congress would demand hearings.
But, not in politics. In politics, the pols have the microphone and the camera, and they own the hearings. Do you want to know why Americans hate politicians so much? Because not a single one will stand up and say “We made a huge hysterical, exaggerated mistake.”
Instead, the pompous egomaniacs will drone on for days with their cover-up story — claiming they saved lives, that things would have been worse without their heroic warnings and efforts, and that we should stop analyzing their mistake, and instead just be thankful it wasn’t worse. That's called "spin."
And how about the media? They got exactly what they wanted. They built a big rainstorm into “the event of the century,” which resulted in record ratings as brainwashed zombies tuned into 24-hour news coverage for days on end, all to watch . . . a rainstorm.
Of course it was a big rainstorm descending on New York, the self-important media capital of the world. The fact that the homes of media stars and celebrities were threatened justified making this a 24/7 national media event.
This is the egomaniacal conspiracy of media and politicians ruining our economy. They are symbiotic (as well as idiotic), and thick as thieves. They desperately need each other. The media needs the politicians and local bureaucrats with intimidating titles to scream and rant about impending doom. That makes for big news headlines and results in massive ratings.
The politicians need the platform provided by the media, and their 24-hour hype machines. The media makes these politicians and bureaucrats into stars, which in turn attracts more viewers, raises ratings, and sells more newspapers. After all, every good TV thriller requires a leading man or woman. Everyone wins — except, of course, the citizens.
So now the cover-up begins. The politicians will lie and deny, defend themselves with the same fervor and hysteria they used to deceive and frighten us, and whenever possible, cite exaggerated costs of the destruction to validate their mistake.
Who will bother to argue about whether the losses were really “in the billions” or "tens of billions," or actually were closer to $18.50? Remember, the bigger the number, the more impressed and intimidated the public will be.
The media will happily go along with it, searching desperately for the biggest puddles, the three wooden piers that fell down, the trees that landed on cars, the power outages, and of course the traffic fatalities and heart attacks — ignoring the fact that these same things happen in every big storm. All to justify 24/7 national news coverage of the "non-storm of the century."
It’s in the media’s best interest to play along with the big cover-up, or else the public might lose faith and blame them too. The media might lose credibility. And God forbid, people might choose to stop watching, listening, or reading.
Next the media will burn the midnight oil asking how they can get the public’s attention off this big scam . . . err, I mean big scare. And the answer will come quickly. "Let’s give the brainwashed zombies more hype . . . a different hype . . . Kim Kardashians’ wedding highlights." And soon, everything will be forgotten.
No one will call out the politicians who once again cost the economy and taxpayers billions . . . and the media who enabled it. Thank goodness we always have the Kardashians to bail us out of trouble. If only we could get them to run the economy.
Wayne Allyn Root is a former Libertarian vice presidential nominee. He now serves as chairman of the Libertarian National Congressional Committee. He is the best-selling author of "The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gold & Tax Cuts." His web site: www.ROOTforAmerica.com.
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