The Editorial Smoke Screen
Today’s editorial is a wonderful distillation of hypocrisy and faux earnestness which embodies the essence of a smokescreen — the very thing the editors rail against. Here’s the essence of the piece:
Not that long ago the real problem in the city was the fact that the finances were such a tangled mess that no one knew how much money there was and how far in debt we were.
You see kids, if you start to question and rail against the specific actions of the Common Council — a Council dearly embraced by the editors — that makes the editors tap the yardstick upon your desk and demand you fall in line, lest you suffer the stern consequences.
So when the editors see the smokescreen justifying the Council’s actions on Muni dissipate under public scrutiny and questions, the editors , as dutiful servants of the Common Council, throw the ultimate smokebomb — the city financials — to cloud the issue on Muni.
Here’s the smokescreen part:
It’s time to stop hiding behind the clubhouse. Open up the books right on the table and show us the work that is getting done; the work the state has demanded that the city get done. The work you are supposed to be doing.
You see kids, the editors are casting a stern glance at the Council to focus on the city financials and draw the gaze of the public to the sad state of the city financials–look away from the golf course and look to City Hall.
What the editors posit to readers is a false choice: the Council can either focus on the city financials OR the golf course. Not both, just one.
See kids, what the editors want you to think is that Council can only act on two things mutually exclusively — either / or , black / white , Roth / Hagar .
That dichotomy of action is a wonderful subtext to their smokescreen.
But in fact, the Council actually needs to do both things — it needs to provide oversight and accountability on city finances AND also assure that it provides governance at Muni.
I daresay it also needs to address multiple other priorities. And yes, all at the same time. But to quote the editors again in a prior editorial: “So what if they disagree with you. It’s part of the job — a job for which you volunteered.” Not surprisingly, that strongly worded statement was directed at the Mayor but seems like it should apply to the Council as well, no?
As the editors dislike blogs and social media generally as evidenced by their disdain for the citizens of Amsterdam who voice their views on social media*** in this editorial:
You might consider sharing this information when you sit down to Facebook to draft the next Thane Commandments. Which, we imagine, should be any second now.
Time to take responsibility. You tell your legion of Thaniacs — again, on Facebook (your virtual council chamber) –– that the intent of this council is obvious. Has that also been the intent of the previous two?
We understand being the mayor of Facebook –– er, Amsterdam — comes with its share of frustrations.
I will use the editors own words , printed words!, which by virtue of print imbues them with a gravitas and a profundity unmatched by digital media. (By way of disclosure, I did copy digitally but rest assured, the gravitas of print remains!):
If we may offer a heads up: Every unanimous vote by the Common Council, threatened by a veto, is going to result in an override.
There is no need to waste your energy on surprise. It’s going to happen.
Now that the Council faces a backlash to the very unilateral, uncompromising actions championed by the editors, the editors suddenly find this turn of events very unsettling to their dictated course from a few editorials ago.
I know I am a mere Thaniac: a denizen of the digital world — unkempt , uncouth, unschooled in print media yet so desperately seeking the gravitas and esteem afforded by virtue of a printed column — if only! — but in the editors own words: “the intent of the Council is obvious.”
Indeed it is.
But then, so is the editors’ intent when it involves the Council versus the Mayor.
***PS I must note how not one precious drop of editorial ink rails against the political views aired on local radio by their very own politicians. But then , you certainly don’t want to upset the preferred platform of their dear Council members and their readership.