Failure of imagination is a very real thing. We’re living in its shadow so it must be real.
Remember the fable about the ant and the grasshopper? The Grasshopper’s happy because there’s food aplenty right now so why not hang out? Why work like the Ant is — gathering food for the winter? The Grasshopper’s problem isn’t laziness. When he needs to eat, he’ll go eat.
His problem is he can’t imagine that there’ll be a tomorrow — and tomorrow, he might NOT have all the food he has now. The Ant almost can’t deal with what “is” he’s so obsessed with what might be or could be his future.
When the talking heads on pretty much any American cable news show start yammering away at each other — wondering why, say, Donald Trump has such a beta dog relationship with Vlad Putin — they’ll entertain the possibility that they don’t know why it is. They’ll also entertain the possibility that it’s completely innocent — so they’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
But there’s a third very distinct possibility in the mix that keeps getting short shrift or NO shrift: Trump kowtows relentlessly to Vladimir Putin because Putin owns him outright. Though Lawrence O’Donnell was forced to retract his single-sourced story last night that Trump hides his tax returns to hide the fact that Russian oligarchs co-signed his Deutsche Bank loans — it was too soon to report it (that’s what we’ll have to live with until it’s fully proven) — no one is saying or thinking “Gosh, I wonder if that means the whole story is screwed up!”
When Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson testified before Congress (remember when the GOP was trying to undermine every bit of the Steele Dossier’s integrity?), he described how Fusion, upon being hired to do the oppo research on Donald Trump (hired, remember by the conservative Washington Free Beacon, Jeb Bush supporters), they first did their due diligence. They got ahold of everything they could that even just mentioned Donald Trump in passing. They got & read every magazine article, newspaper article, saw or listened to every radio and TV interview. To find that material, Fusion did what any ONE of us could do all by ourselves — they bought, rented, borrowed from the library.
What Fusion found, doing its due diligence, convinced them that Trump had been mixed up with Russian mobsters for years. And, being good journalists by training, Fusion grokked that if Trump was messing with Russian mobsters, he was likely dirty as hell.
So, Glenn Simpson testified, they hired Chris Steele to do the deep dive because no one had the Russian bona fides that Chris Steele had — he was the Russia desk at MI6. Steele’s integrity as an investigator was well known to American investigators including the FBI. The FBI had hired Steele when they after FIFA’s Sepp Blatter for corruption. They knew Steele was a pro. Everyone did.
That America’s news media still can’t handle the Steele Dossier — most don’t get how different the intelligence world is from the “real” world. The idea of “raw intel” freaks them out because it’s so grey and their world is so black and white. Intelligence analysis requires Big Picture thinking. You have to see what’s there knowing a whole lot of the picture is missing. You’ll never “see it” but you’ll need to know what it probably is; you’ll have to IMAGINE IT.
That’s the leap most American journalists can’t seem to make. Maybe their Normalcy Bias Blinders are bolted on too tightly.
More likely they simply lack the imagination to think of it — until it’s already happened or happening. Then, what a coincidence, it’s the most natural thing in the world to them.
Our news media’s lack of imagination (best expressed by the question “What do YOU make of this?”) has metastasized into an outright cancer. The preponderance of the evidence says Trump’s a liar — our news media still faithfully report every word he says without prefacing it with “This is probably a lie but the POTUS said it so we’re telling YOU what he said”. The preponderance of the evidence says Trump’s a racist — yet our News Media still asks if Trump is a racist; they’ll even report him insisting he’s the least racist human on the planet with a straight face.
The preponderance of the evidence says Trump’s a rapist and a thief and a fraud. The preponderance of the evidence says Trump owes Vlad Putin big. The preponderance of the evidence says Trump and his whole corrupt family are traitors.
We will get there — to the Big Reveals. One way or another, we’ll get there. And each time, huge swaths of our News Media will be shocked to their socks by the revelations. They shouldn’t be shocked.
They wouldn’t be.
If they had any imagination.