The disparity between the news and reality has become so great that it is news in itself. You only have to turn on the TV or pick up whatever you use for a newspaper to find out that America is in a crisis, and you only have to turn the TV off or put the newspaper down to bring that crisis to an end. American journalists and Democrats — but I repeat myself — are now engaged in creating a fantasy world in hopes it will supplant the reality they can no longer bear.
I suppose this transformation of journalism into imaginative fiction was bound to happen sooner or later. All the elements were in place. One party — the Democrats — controls both the news industry and the entertainment industry. The same party is convinced that human nature, moral truth and reality itself can be transformed by transforming the stories we tell about them. And for eight years, that party and its media tried to prove that point by telling us a story about Barack Obama. He wasn’t a Chicago machine hack who knew jack-all about how foreign policy and the economy work. No, he was, in fact, the “next messiah,” a “light-worker,” “above the country, above the world… sort of God,” in the words of various journos.
But now, reality, as is it's wont, is reasserting itself. And in reality, we find that even mean, nasty, very bad Orange Man Donald Trump can do a better job of being president than Obama ever could.
What’s more, it is slowly coming to light that Obama, who abused the IRS to silence his opponents and the State Department to cover up his mistakes, may have also turned the Justice Department into a political weapon. Which means the “next messiah” was even meaner, nastier, very-badder and more unconstitutional than Orange Man Trump has even thought to be.
Well, what can the Democrats do under the circumstances but put on a show and hope their news and entertainment media can sell it to the public?
The result is the bizarre make-believe crisis the Democrats are acting out in Congress and the even more bizarre reporting of that make-believe crisis as if it were somehow real life.
Attorney General William Barr has made the Mueller Report public. He didn’t have to, but he did. He has redacted some small amount of that report to protect ongoing investigations, but he has offered to show these redacted parts to Congress, though none of the Democrats has bothered to look. Only Grand Jury testimony, which must remain secret by law, is still blacked out.
And yet the House Judiciary Committee has voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress. And the Committee Chairman, the odious knucklehead Jerry Nadler, announced this silliness with rhetoric meant to make it sound like a cross between Watergate and the Battle of Winterfell.
“It is an attack on the essence of our Democracy,” Nadler said, in a sentence in which the word it referred to absolutely nothing. “And we must oppose this with every fiber of our being,” he continued, using this to refer to the same nothing to which it referred. “We’ve talked for a long time about approaching a Constitutional Crisis… We are now in a constitutional Crisis.”
What a heroic snookums it is.
The news and entertainment media, of course, have done everything they can to make this narrative seem plausible. The late night comedians have flung slurs at Barr and the network mouthpieces dragged out their most dramatic verbiage to make it all seem what Nadler says it is. “The fight exploded today between the White House and House Democrats,” panted NBC anchor Lester Holt. “Barr refused to give the House Judiciary Committee an uncensored version of the Mueller report on Russian meddling,” CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes lied.
Bob Woodward refused to say this was a constitutional crisis, but added, “This is a dire situation.” He said: “We've got a confrontation with Iran, which could spiral out of control. Things with North Korea are not settled. We've got this trade war and all kinds of things going on with China… we have a government that's just not functioning. And that, in the end, I think, will be the matter that really defines… a real crisis.”
Sounds bad. Luckily, the moment, you turn off the TV, things are fine again. The economy’s chugging along. The usual suspects are acting up, but Trump’s doing a good job handling it all, despite his chaotic style — or, who knows, maybe because of it.
So America is doing quite well. But the narrative is all crisis. Because the narrative is the only thing the Democrats have got left.