Gary Crooks: About that election: I got nothing
Now do you believe the election isn’t rigged? President-elect Donald Trump doesn’t seem to doubt the outcome. But what do I know? What does anyone know? The big lesson of this election is that knowing doesn’t matter, and it’s a waste of time to study up.
Think this will be my motto: I’m with the media, so how the hell should I know?
All that I thought I knew about the election turned out to be false. Over at The Upshot, they said the likelihood of a Hillary Clinton loss was tantamount to an NFL field goal kicker missing from 37 yards. What they didn’t say was that James Comey was the holder. (Yeah, I know, more complicated than that.)
On election night, President Barack Obama said, “No matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning.” Good thing he didn’t add, “according to experts.” If Nate Silver had put the odds at 99 percent, I would’ve expected eternal darkness.
But Obama was right. The sun did rise, even in Spokane. My morning routine was the same. Even found the lunch bag I lost the previous day. Silver lining! I dropped off my daughter at school, but not before apologizing for my generation. Drove to the parking garage. Trudged across the “street” amid a crew of hard hats making Monroe great again. Got coffee, arrived at my desk, logged on, and saw this tweet:
“Just heard someone on TV say journalists didn’t have a sense of what people who make less than $60K thought.”
Spit take! The average journalist makes $39,000 a year. By the way, that lunch I found? PBJ, with carrots, celery sticks and hummus. Typical grub for this elitist, though sometimes I mix it up with tuna – white chunk in water, not that oily stuff. I have options, not gonna lie.
My mood picked up when I remembered it was Popcorn Day. A bag of corn for 75 cents … delivered. The proceeds go to a college scholarship fund for kids of employees. Just that morning, I heard an NPR report on the president-elect’s desire to end government-run loans and hand the business over to the banks, where the interest rates will rise, bigly. In addition, he wants to remove the Dodd-Frank handcuffs, which protect consumers.
How does that play in the hardscrabble precincts that put him over the top? Couldn’t he just promise to give bankers some speeches instead?
If you’re still with me, you might’ve noticed a lack of focus. Sure, I could conduct some interviews, plunge into research and try to make some sense of it all. But doesn’t the appeal of Donald Trump offer a lesson? Namely, why bother?
Reading’s a bore. Facts are for losers. Go with your gut.
It’s tempting to dump the New York Times for satellite radio. Then I could listen to Howard Stern, and really put my finger on … uh … the pulse of America. That’s where the president-elect earned his authenticity stripes. Sure, he lives in a tower – Trump Tower, to be exact – with gold furniture and fixtures, but he talks just like the guys when they sneak out to Hooters.
I’ve come to realize that any knowledge accumulated by studying the issues is useless in this post-factual era. Why slog through peer-reviewed reports on global warming, when it’s much easier to call it a hoax started by China.
So that’s the plan. No reading. Short attention span. Wing it.
I can still call it journalism. Big, beautiful journalism. Journalism like you wouldn’t believe.
On second thought, that could get me fired, and I have a kid in college and another headed that way. Plus, have you heard what could happen with student loans?
Opinion Editor Gary Crooks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (509) 459-5026. Follow him on Twitter @GaryCrooks.