Blaming the messenger doesn't make the message untrue
Still, there is something clarifying in the brutal honesty of so-what-ism. A 32-year-old Moore could put a 14-year-old girl's hand on his erect penis and touch her over her bra and underpants. Trump could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue. It would not deter their supporters. OK, at least we know where you're coming from. Your moral parameters are clear in their absence.
If-then-ism, by contrast, is pure cowardly dodge. There are some situations where the fact pattern may be too murky to pass judgment. Not here. What more information do the if-then-ers want? What would be the forum for this factual discovery to take place?
One last strategy -- blame-the-messenger -- has come into play here, deployed by Moore and supporters like former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. "The Bezos Amazon Washington Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump is the same Bezos Amazon Washington Post that dropped the dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore," Bannon said, referring to Post owner Jeff Bezos and the "Access Hollywood" tape. "Now is that a coincidence?"
No, it's not. Good reporting breeds good reporting. My newsroom colleagues did an incredible job with those stories, as they did in helping break the Monica Lewinsky story two decades ago.
Blaming the messenger is always easier than hearing an unwelcome message. It does not make that message any less true.
Ruth Marcus' email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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