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NEWS, COMMENTARY, AND ANALYSIS

Rand Green, editor and publisher

The Politics of Personal Destruction Claims Another Victim


Out Like Flynn

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Errol Flynn, Robert Bork, Michael Flynn AS A CAREER writer and editor who has been around long enough to remember when the word gay meant light-hearted and a mouse wasn't something you would rest your hand on for hours at a time, it is always fascinating to me the way new words and expressions insinuate into the English language and old ones shift their meanings.

One way this happens is for a well-known individual's name to become synonymous with some dominant characteristic of that individual or to take on the meaning of some action done either by or to that individual.

One example, particularly appropriate on Valentine's Day, is the expression "Be my valentine." Originally, Valentine's Day was a festival in honor of a martyred 5th Century saint, but the good saint's name eventually became associated with romantic love through the 14th Century poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer.

Another example is the verb to bork, which means to attempt to obstruct a person's appointment to public office through a strategy of vilification and defamation, as happened with Robert Bork when he was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1987.

Back in my boyhood, we often used the expression "In like Flynn." It had no sexual connotations at the time (like almost everything seems to have these days for some people), but it was another way of saying, "Boy, that was easy" − deriving from the way actor Errol Flynn's characters breezed through the toughest challenges without ever losing Flynn 's boyish "Gee, isn't this fun!" smile.

The expression "In like Flynn" might be used, for example, when your team's quarterback punched through the line for a touchdown or when you aced a test. But the events of Monday, Feb. 13, could put a new twist on that. Consequent to the resignation of Gen. Michael Flynn from the Trump Administration, future writers may as readily talk about someone who has been borked as being "out like Flynn."

At this writing, many of the facts surrounding the Flynn "scandal" remain obscure, and much of the "news" about it, as reported in the so-called "mainstream media," is hearsay at best, if it is not a completely made up.

After all, many media elites, by their own admission, are out to do anything they can to destroy the Trump administration. Making things up, combined with grotesquely distorting the truth, has become their stock in trade whenever it serves their political agenda.

Acting reflexively on that agenda, the New York Times and other news outlets jumped on reports that Flynn hat tweeted late Monday evening, "While I accept full responsibility for my actions, I feel it is unfair that I have been made the sole scapegoat for what happened." The tweet, which purported to be from Flynn, was not. But that didn't stop the media from swarming on the story without taking the trouble to validate the source. If it serves their purpose, they run with it.

What is known is this: Gen. Flynn had conversations with a Russian ambassador and other foreign officials before Donald Trump took office. His conversations were being wiretapped. Pieces of the wiretapped conversations were leaked to the press. Flynn had given a report to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence regarding his conversations with the Russian ambassador but, by his own admission, "inadvertently briefed the vice president and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador," an omission for which he apologized. He submitted a letter of resignation the evening of Feb. 13.

Beyond that, the insinuations and accusations from the press are myriad and scathing, but as with so much of their coverage of the Trump administration lately, their sources are vague and questionable. It is impossible to know what someone actually told them, what someone told them off the record that they subsequently twisted and distorted (and after all, what anonymous source would come forward and claim to have been misquoted), and what the writer sourced from his or her own fertile imagination.

Whenever I read the types of attributions I saw in a Feb. 13 New York Times article on the subject, for example, it always raises a red flag. Sorry, but the once-respectable New York Times has made up far too many stories and cited far too many fake sources lately to have even a trace of credibility remaining.

Listen to these attributions:

"… a former [unidentified] administration official said …"

" … the Justice Department [no source identified] feared …"

" … his resignation does not appear to have been communicated to National Security Council staff members, two of whom [unspecified] said …"

"Officials [again, unidentified] said Mr. Pence had told others [once again, unidentified] in the White House that he believed Mr. Flynn lied to him…."

Moreover, the writer's bias clearly evident throughout the story. Here is an example:

"Even the mere discussion of policy − and the apparent attempt to assuage the concerns of an American adversary before Mr. Trump took office − represented a remarkable breach of protocol." [Wait − Is this a news story or an opinion piece?]

Here is another: By seeking to "praise the president" in his resignation letter, wrote the Times, Flynn "inadvertently illustrated the brevity of his tumultuous run at the National Security Council and the chaos that has gripped the White House in the first weeks of the Trump administration − and created a sense of uncertainty around the world."

If there is any sense of uncertainty around the world, it is not being caused by President Trump or anyone in his administration. If world leaders know one thing about Donald Trump it is that he can be trusted to do what he says he will do. There has not been that kind of certainty in Washington for a long time. Rather, it is being caused by "news" outlets such as the New York Times that are doing all within their power to create chaos and to pick off members of the Trump team one by one through targeted campaigns of character assassination. Do not expect it to end with Gen. Flynn.

Related Story — The Sin of Flynn: President Trump's National Security Advisor Is Out. What Did He Do Wrong?  Feb. 18, 2017

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