by Jay Johansen | Aug 25, 2021
Here's a neat political trick that I've seen done a number of times: A politician is guilty of incompetence or corruption. Instead of pressuring him to resign or prosecuting him, his allies arrange for a committee to be appointed to investigate the matter. Then whenever political opponents try to bring the subject up, they say, "Now, now, it would be premature to discuss this matter before the committee has completed its investigation." Then they drag the "investigation" on until the public loses interest. Soonor or later there will be some new scandal or crisis, and people will forget about the last one. At that point the committee produces some very bland and boring report that says "mistakes were made", carefully avoiding saying who made them, it gets reported as a footnote in the back pages of the newspaper, and no one notices. If opponents try to make something of it, if they say the politician should now be prosecuted for his crimes, his supporters say, "Oh come on, it's time to move on! That was years ago! It's not relevant any more!"
Or better still, the committee issues a report calling for new laws that give the politician and his allies more power and punish people who had nothing to do with the problem. Like, the government forces banks to loan money to people that they know will never be able to pay the loan back. When there is the inevitable crash as the borrowers default on all these loans, do the politicians who passed these laws admit their mistake, apologize, and fix them? Of course not. They call for an "investigation", and the investigation concludes by calling for tough new regulations on stock brokers.
© 2021 by Jay Johansen
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