The Third Answer

by James Strauss


Recently, Joe Biden, the President of the United States, was questioned about his possession of classified documents dating back years.  Regardless of the obvious fact that the leadership of the USA, over the years, has gotten rid of the registered publication system that kept rigid control of such things, it’s still a crime to possess such documents on an unsecured condition.  The President was grilled by a special prosecutor about the issue as that prosecutor sought to have him indicted for any crime related to his possession.  The President indicated that he could not remember a lot of things.  The prosecutor wrote those things down and when he concluded the case by not organizing a grand jury because there was insufficient evidence, he published his opinions about the President’s lapses in memory.

He portrayed those lapses in memory as being due to age, which also supported very much his republican leanings and the republican need today to make sure the public understands just how mentally incompetent the democratic nominee for the office likely is.   What’s wrong with this picture, as the mass media picks up the story and the only part of the failed investigation covered is how the memory lapse contributes to supporting the ‘fact’ that the nominee isn’t qualified mentally to hold the office.  The mass media, of course, needs the race for the presidency in November to be a real race., just like the same media loves games in all sports that are decided in the last minutes or seconds.  No ‘great’ game in any sport is considered that unless the results in scoring are extremely close.  This is also true in politics simply because close races draw more viewers, and the media game is about securing the maximum viewers at all costs.

Unfortunately, this same methodology was honed and hammered out during the early days of film, radio, and television presentations.  Tools were invented to measure the number, type, age, and more about viewers/. What happened next should have surprised no one.  The news, that part of presentations that supposedly reported on what was factually happening out in the world and at home became more and more slanted to support increasing viewership…until the factual part of reporting and displaying the news was submerged to the point where every fact presented is toddy presented like that of the prosecuting attorney in the Biden investigation.  There was no place for such an opinion about the man claiming to not be able to remember.  That tool was designed and then implemented during the admiration of Richard Nixon.

Nixon’s attorneys found a third acceptable and legal answer to a question that previously was required to be answered by a yes or no.  Nixon’s failure to recall became a historical benchmark, in and out of court, for answering questions without having to either admit or deny anything but by saying he simply couldn’t recall.  Nixon was never accused of being senile or suffering from mental lapses or weakness, but the mass media coverage of such things has changed to the point wherein failing to recall has shifted back toward being a lie while the telling of the lies is also construed as being true to the point where the person being questioned is guilty of either lying, mental derangement or, preferably, both.

Part of this shift in how responding to uncomfortable or incriminating questions has changed is also affected by the fact that the two men vying for leadership of the most powerful country on earth are men of very advanced age.  Eighty is the new fifty when it comes to politics.  But eighty had definite physical attributes and deficits not normally evident when discussing, or even voting for younger politicians.