Jumping the Shark
On September 20, 1977, after a 3 year run as one of the top rated TV shows in America, the creators of the sitcom Happy Days decided to have the shows main Character Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli jump a shark on water skis. That episode provided a short-term ratings bump, but then the show went from borderline great to bad quickly. From then on, the watershed moment of when anything goes from really good to bad, is referred to as “jumping the shark”.
On November 3, 2020, the United States of America officially jumped the shark. It appears to me that the best days are behind us as a nation, not because who was elected, but because of the way he was elected, and who was involved.
In 1787, at the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin walked out of Independence Hall, and a lady walked up to him and asked, “what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied, “A republic . . . if you can keep it.” Somewhere in the back of Franklin’s mind he knew how fragile a republic actually is, and he knew at some point in the future, we couldn’t keep it, and America would jump the shark.
For all of their personal shortcomings, the founders were very brilliant men. They created an almost perfect system of government. The foundation of which relies on a balance of power between three separate bodies, the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. It was designed to not give any one side a disproportionate amount of power, because they knew inherently that power corrupts, and corruption is poison to a republic. Each branch was designed to keep the other branches power in check.
There was a danger in this structure, though. What happens when the three co-equal branches use their power not to keep the other branches in check but to collude with the other branches to consolidate and enhance their power over the people? The founders foresaw this potential corruption and tried to protect against it by ensuring the freedom of the press in the constitution. They knew that as long as the media was free and not controlled by the government, they would keep all three branches in check from grabbing or abusing power.
Somewhere in the last 40 years, the American media stopped being objective journalists searching for the truth and exposing corrupt politicians, to aligning themselves with individual political parties, reporting on their behalf, pushing their agendas, and even parroting their party’s political talking points. Politicians are going to lie, spin and slant. That’s their nature, but it’s up to the journalist to smack them in the face and say, “no, that’s not true.” But they must do that for all politicians, not just the ones they don’t like. If journalists are only calling out certain politicians and not others, they are spinning and slanting the truth as much as the politicians.
It’s the job of the media to be the skeptic, to question every decision politicians make. They are our voice. They have access to our leaders that the average citizen does not. So, why was it that the same media who criticized the truly peaceful protestors against government mandated lockdowns because they were potentially spreading Covid, openly cheered for the four month long riots that ran through our country that not only killed over 30, injured thousands and caused billions of dollars of damage, but also spread Covid throughout our inner-cities? Because opening the country helped the candidate they didn’t like, and the riots hurt the candidate they didn’t like. The media told us that we can’t protest lockdowns because of Covid, but we can riot in spite of Covid. Everyone in the media knows that doesn’t make sense. There’s no logic and truth to that thinking. They just continued to parrot their favored party’s talking points because it served their agenda.
Everyone in the media also knows that mail-in ballots are susceptible to fraud. Why doesn’t anyone send large sums of cash through the mail? Because there’s a good chance it would get stolen. Each vote in this election determined who gets to decide how we spend $4.5 trillion. Would anybody send $4.5 trillion of cash through the US mail? Would anyone drop $4.5 trillion dollars in a make-shift drop box on a random street corner with no security or surveillance around? Of course not. But that’s what we just did. Not only did the media not question the intelligence of exposing our election to this level of voter fraud, many actually were the defenders and cheerleaders for this fraud because they knew it would only help the candidate that they preferred. That was not their job. Their job was to ask the tough questions to ensure that the elections were fair and fraud-free.
No one in the media finds it strange that the candidate that held a half dozen 50,000+ rallies in small towns throughout Pennsylvania lost the state to the candidate who couldn’t get a hundred people to show up to any rally in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh? Not only does this not pass the smell test. It doesn’t pass the sight, see, taste or touch test. The biggest danger is how willfully on board the media is with this fraud. The same media who pushed the evidence-free fraudulent Russian Collusion hoax for two and a half years refuses to ask the most basic and obvious questions about this election?
No one in the media questioned why is it that the same people who were so afraid of Covid they couldn’t leave their houses to vote in person where everyone was socially distanced and everything that was touched was immediately sanitized, but they felt it was safe to leave their houses to drop their ballots in a drop box on the street corner that had been touched by hundreds of potentially virus ridden hands, breathed on and coughed on by passers-by.
No one in the media wondered why the Democrats and even some in the media incessantly demanded that Donald Trump accept the results of the election before the ballots had been cast, demanding that he verify a potentially fraudulent election before the election was even over, before all the facts and evidence came to light. No one candidate should be told that they must accept the results of the election under any circumstance before the election even occurred. But that was what was demanded of Trump, accept the results no matter what. It only makes sense to demand such a thing if a fraud is already in the process of being perpetrated.
In the old days, there would not need to be party-appointed poll watchers. The poll watchers would have been the journalists, the beat reporter trying to make a name for himself by exposing voter fraud. But our media has decided to look the other way, nothing to see here. There is a staggering lack of journalistic curiosity surrounding the most important aspect of our republic, insuring free and fair elections. You mean to tell me that there’s not one person in the main stream media who says, ‘why is it that the only places where tens of thousands of extra ballots for one of the candidates magically appear after the election are in battleground states where the opposing candidate is winning?’ There is no media curiosity. The media have become cowardly sell-outs.
Now, certain media outlets are calling for new legislation to ensure the integrity of future elections, after refusing to investigate the potential voter-fraud in this election. That’s like Attorney General Robert Kennedy using the power of the federal government to try to take down the mafia after the mafia hand delivered the election to John F Kennedy in 1960. No matter how hard you try, it’s very hard to scrub the blood off your hands.
In the ensuing weeks, we will hear some beautifully written speeches by our politicians littered with words and phrases like “duly-elected”, “election integrity”, “the people have spoken”, “fair and honest process”, and “call for unity”, but none of those words are at all connected to reality. Those words do not describe the abomination we just witnessed.
The powerful will always be tempted by corruption, and ultimately, it’s the media’s job to keep the powerful honest. But once the media has been corrupted, you have lost your country. And you can’t put that toothpaste back in the tube any more than I can un-watch Fonzie jumping the shark.
Judd Garrett is a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He is a frequent contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.