Court of Public Opion

People in the news media are like giraffes in a zoo. Their heads stick out above the others. Note the owner of a basketball franchise in California. While with his mistress, he made a raciest remark – certainly not a wise thing to do. Even though it was not made to the public at large he has been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. The pubic made no noise about the fact that he was with his mistress; but, it pounced on the remark. The out-cry has been so loud that the man has been forced to sell his franchise to the tune of two billion, plus dollars. I disapprove of the mistress, the remark and the amount of money involved in professional sports. I also disapprove of the “forced sale” brought about by public opinion media frenzy. This is an example of relatively minor significance. The danger is that this modern phenomenon brought on by the instant spread of information through technology can impact public opinion in much more serious matters.

Most recently politicians and pundits have voiced dissatisfaction over the president’s response to the situation in the Ukraine. The Eastern Ukrainians, possibly instigated by Putin in Russia (It must be noted that Putin has backed down from his original threat.) have expressed verbally and by force that they wish to be annexed to Russia. They do not recognize the recently democratically elected president of the Ukraine. The US president has been very cautious in involving the US in any kind of support for the current Ukrainian government. In fact, the president has been very cautious and controlled about several issues involving foreign policy. Not only Republicans, but many pundits, even those with cooler heads, have openly criticized this approach saying that it makes America appear weak. President Obama used his address to the graduating cadets of West Point to defend his reflective approach saying, “Since World War II, some of our most costly mistakes came not from our restraint, but from our willingness to rush into military adventures without thinking through the consequences.” Sometimes thinking too long and too hard can result in being left in the dust. Nevertheless, I agree with Peter L. Bergen who said, “A policy of judicious restraint is not very stirring and doesn’t lend itself to strong rhetoric, but it may be the most sensible approach and is certainly where the American public is.”

Let’s hope that the court of public opinion expressed in sections of the media do not distract from the mind of the American public that its sons and daughters pay the price of military adventures.

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