It’s a funny thing. I was looking around for something stupid to watch at bedtime to help me shut down my brainwaves and go to sleep. I settled on Jericho, which is currently airing on Netflix. I knew nothing about it but it looked hokey and diverting. It definitely did not disappoint me in those respects. I watched a whole season of this garbage and fully enjoyed it without realizing that the show originally aired from 2006 to 2008. It doesn’t seem that old, honestly, and it fits very appropriately in the Trump Era.
The basic concept is that after nuclear bombs are exploded in a couple dozen American cities, a small town in western Kansas is largely immune to the fallout because of some fortuitous winds and placement, so the townspeople try to go on with their lives even as that becomes increasingly impossible. Pretty soon, the post-apocalyptic realties encroach on them and things get truly dumb and unintentionally hilarious. This show is a bit of a cult classic for a reason.
Anyway, there is of course a big secret plot behind the nuclear bombs that needs to be explained and exposed. At a certain point, it becomes necessary to talk to a reporter. One is conveniently found at the local watering hole. He used to work for the Los Angeles Times before that city was incinerated. Now, he “reports” for what is essentially a government of violent and conniving private contractors based out of Cheyenne.
When he is presented with some teasers about the true explanation for the nuclear explosions, he isn’t necessarily keen on getting involved even though it’s the biggest crime story in history. He patiently explains that, when he was a kid, two reporters (obviously Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein) took down the government with a typewriter because people cared and were willing to listen. Then he says that if he thought people were still willing to listen, he’d be willing to report on the true culprits behind the bomb plot.
It struck me as a really accurate way of explaining the problem we currently face as a country. There are a lot of times I feel like I’m wasting my breath trying to convince anyone of anything. It seems like everyone’s mind is made up—and that half the country is impervious to any facts that make them uncomfortable.
I know a lot of reporters have to be exasperated that they’re uncovering huge scandals on a regular basis and it doesn’t seem to make any difference. But what would be worse than a country that doesn’t listen is a country that doesn’t even get the opportunity to listen because no one is willing to stick their necks out and report on governmental malfeasance and official wrongdoing.
This is why you need organizations like the Washington Monthly that have the courage to tell truth to power. At Political Animal, we have been documenting the atrocities of the Trump administration without fear. This is more important than ever because traditional media outlets are cutting staff and going out of business at an alarming rate. We don’t get bankrolled by Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, or some right-wing oil tycoon. We rely heavily on the support of ordinary readers like you. And if we’re going to survive to tell the true history of what is happening in this country, we need people like you to help us out.
Thanks to a grant from NewsMatch, this is the best time of year to get a subscription to the magazine or to make a simple donation—or both. In fact, if you make a donation right now —be it $10, $50, $100, or $1,000— your contribution will be matched, dollar for dollar, thanks to a grant from NewsMatch. And if you give $50 or more, we’ll give you a complimentary one-year subscription to our print edition.
Your contributions to the Washington Monthly are vital, tax-deductible, and much appreciated. Please don’t wait until after the apocalypse to take advantage of this deal.
(And if you like my writing, you can see more of it by getting a subscription to Progress Pond. It’s the holiday season, so I’ll consider it a great gift!)