Harvard went looking for a liberal corporate Bigfoot to give their 2020 virtual commencement address, and they landed Marty Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, the man whose paper oozes arrogance at the top of every newspaper with the motto “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”
Baron came to amend the slogan. Now, in the age of coronavirus, people die in darkness, not just their political system. President Trump doesn't just endanger democracy. He threatens to kill you:
MARTY BARON: I would like to discuss with you the need for a commitment to facts and to truth.
Only a few months ago, I would have settled for emphasizing that our democracy depends on facts and truth. And it surely does. But now, as we can plainly see, it is more elemental than that.
Facts and truth are matters of life and death. Misinformation, disinformation, delusions and deceit can kill.
Here is what can move us forward: Science and medicine. Study and knowledge. Expertise and reason. In other words, fact and truth.
Baron and his fellow media liberals love this act. We stand for “facts and truth.” Oppose our biased reporting, and you stand for….propaganda and lies...and death.
Baron closed with the Harvard motto of “Veritas,” Latin for truth, and more of that pomposity -- we are the forces of truth that make democracy possible:
At this university, you answer that question with your motto -- “Veritas.” You seek the truth -- with scholarship, teaching and dialogue – knowing that it really matters.
My profession shares with you that mission -- the always arduous, often tortuous and yet essential pursuit of truth. It is the demand that democracy makes upon us. It is the work we must do.
And yet, in the same speech, Baron also associates journalism with crusading for justice, and never has to argue with anyone about choosing your "facts and truth" very carefully to achieve political goals:
Harvard’s commencement speaker two years ago, civil rights pioneer John Lewis, once said this: “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.”
We as journalists have the capacity – along with the constitutional right -- to say and do something. We also have the obligation. And we must have the will.
So must you. Every one of you has a stake in this idea of free expression....
And you should acknowledge this if you value these freedoms that come with democracy: Democracy cannot exist without a free and independent press. It never has.
Leaders who crave more power for themselves always move quickly to crush an independent press. Next, they destroy free expression itself.
Sadly, much of the world is on that worrisome path. And efforts in this country to demonize, delegitimize and dehumanize the press give license to other governments to do the same – and to do far worse.
This sleazy attack continues. Oppose the anonymously-sourced crusades of The Washington Post? You are encouraging tyrants to crush the press in their country.
We see that acutely now when people’s health can be jeopardized by false claims, wishful thinking and invented realities. The public’s safety requires the honest truth.
Yet education, expertise, experience and evidence are being devalued, dismissed and denied. The goal is clear: to undermine the very idea of objective fact, all in pursuit of political gain.
Along with that is a systematic effort to disqualify traditional independent arbiters of fact.
The press tops the list of targets. But others populate the list, too: courts, historians, even scientists and medical professionals – subject-matter experts of every type.
It's this passage that needs a laugh track. The Post is not synonymous with "the very idea of objective fact." They are not "independent arbiters of fact." This is stale baloney he keeps slicing. When the facts collide with their liberal politics, the facts are omitted, over and over again. It's a hassle to walk out on a commencement address like this. But a virtual commencement you can just turn off. This pomposity, completely devoid of introspection, is a rerun that never ends.