No mention of ‘the rest of the story’ should fail to note the late great American broadcaster Paul Harvey. This from a Time article which noted his death last Feb 28, 2009:
“This is Paul Harvey.” That clarion Midwestern voice was its own time machine; it carried listeners back to radio days of yore, when a distinctive vocal performance was as important as good looks are in TV news today. The opinions Harvey expressed were old-fashioned as well: politically and socially conservative, the musings of a grandpa who’s seen it all — or, as he put it, “In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.”
Less a maker of news than a conduit for popular sentiment about the news, Harvey told King, “I don’t think of myself as a profound journalist. I think of myself as a professional parade watcher who can’t wait to get out of bed every morning and rush down to the Teletypes and pan for gold.”
Proper homage having been paid to the master of introducing a twist to a story we thought we knew, we move on to a current version of a story with a twist.
It begins with a quote from a Senator:
“I mean, the fact of the matter is, is the President has been on his tour, and everywhere he goes the numbers just get worse. The American people have essentially voted on this proposal and really what you have is a situation now where I think that the President and the Congress are going to need to figure out a way to save face and — and step back a little bit.”
Then an editorial from a major newspaper on that same President:
After listening to the president talk of little else during his term, the American people understand quite well what he is proposing and by wide margins reject it. In fact, the polls show that the more they learn about his reforms, the less they like it. And with good reason.
So when Congressional leaders tell the President that the reforms are a nonstarter, they are conveying the informed views of their constituents.
The President has reacted by railing against the opposition for obstruction — as if they are duty-bound to breathe life into his agenda and, even sillier, as if opposing a plan that the people do not want is an illegitimate tactic for an opposition party.
The quotes — which I edited slightly to avoid names and parties — could easily represent conservatives criticizing President Obama over his Health Care reform legislation.
But in fact the president being referred to was Bush 43 and the issue was the privatization of Social Security. The initial quote is from then-Sen. Obama and the editorial was from the New York Times.
Let’s not waste time wondering if they are bothered by such irony. They most certainly are not because to them — and all others in the game — it’s not irony, it’s an occupational hazard. The thing to remember about people in the game of politics is that they spend their careers taking positions which may prove to be contradictory.
The good ones explain it away with a straight face. The great ones get us to nod with empathy and understanding at their plight. It’s only after we walk away that we are left to decide on our own on which occasion they truly believed their remarks. People in the game would laugh at that last sentence and ask, when you say ‘believed’ …