Hard Truths

By Sidney Reilly

Hard Truths_2_12_15300Take My Fiancé, Please!
If only we knew about Governor Kitzhaber’s problems before the election… things would be so different now. Obviously I’m being sarcastic, considering basically the whole world knew about the fishy relationship between Kitzhaber, his fiancé Cylvia Hayes, and her role as an influence peddler. I mean, bad enough the guy looks like Dennis Weaver (only somehow way older) but you’re telling me he’s every bit the opportunistic scumbag we imagine all politicians (other than the ones we like) to be? I’d be crestfallen if I hadn’t already made my peace with the fact that it borders on insanity to give these people all the opportunity in the world to misappropriate our trust and then expect them not to do it.

This, in a nutshell, is what’s wrong with government: at the end of the day it’s made up of people, and people will act in their own personal interest at least 999,999 times out of a million. And since, in the modern era, the ability to network has completely replaced hard skills on the desired resume for government, we should not feign shock when these people, whose only hard skill is schmoozing, use it for their personal gain.

What’s telling about the now seemingly daily releases of more impropriety on the part of the first lady is how much one doesn’t need a team of crack investigative journalists to find this stuff out. When it comes to public figures with their hands in the till, it’s often this way; it just requires someone motivated enough to ask a few easy questions.

Strange that no publications, including The Advocate, seemed that interested in asking these questions before the election. It’s almost as if, given the choice between a Democrat who is might be dirty and a Republican of any kind, Oregon media didn’t need to deliberate for too long.

Tall Tales
Brian Williams’ current woes illustrate one of the most fascinating aspects of the Internet age: there is no statute of limitations on bullsh*tting. Cached webpages, YouTube, and about a thousand other information sources for the citizenry are allowing us to go back and call out public figures on the insane things they said/did in the past. It is weird that Williams’ now seemingly serial inflation of the events surrounding his own journalistic heroics is becoming such a scandalous issue all of a sudden, but only because his popularity as a celebrity shielded him from any scrutiny at all for so long.

For those living in a cave (under another cave which is itself at the bottom of the deepest ocean), the face of NBC news is coming under fire primarily because he’s been telling a story for years in which a helicopter he was on in Iraq in 2003, while he was covering the war, was directly fired on and forced to land in a harrowing adventure that makes him seem less Charles Kuralt and more Charles Norris.

Apparently he told it one too many times, and some veterans of that war called him on it. Turns out he was indeed in a helicopter that was forced to land, but his helicopter was an hour behind the one that took fire, and his landed because of an impending sandstorm, not firestorm.

To me this is not news. I already assumed that any person with the ability to sell themselves and rise to the level Williams has basically lies all day, every day, to anyone who’ll listen. Otherwise, how did they get there? But it is instructive about the value of “viral” in media. Just as Hannibal Buress set a fire, with easily attainable information, that is engulfing Bill Cosby, the vets who had enough of Williams’ self-aggrandizement have set one that is burning his credibility before our eyes. Who’s next?

You have to look closely, but I imagine if you do, you’ll see the faces of people sweating, lest the world notices their easily Google-able offenses and finally draws the line.

Bill Clinton’s probably safe, though. I mean all he’s accused of is—you know what? I’ll let you Google it yourself.

Do you have a story for The Advocate? Email editor@corvallisadvocate.com