PANACEA: JUST TELL THE TRUTH
OK, so the nation is caught between imperfect media coverage of Ebola and political argument over its threat. So they look to — let’s see, now — a leader for guidance as concern about the disease escalates.
“Americans’ fear is only growing, and one reason is that too few people believe what the president of the United States says anymore,” points out Carl M. Cannon, a historian and Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics, who adds, “The president’s credibility has taken a hit at the precise time when a medical crisis confronts the country and when placing trust in the men and women running this government is a life-and-death question.”
The panacea? He cites the straightforward practices of George Washington, who didn’t lie much in his time, or in the 20,000 pieces of personal correspondence he left behind.
“Modern politics allows for a lot of leeway when it comes to truth-telling, and the rewards for deliberately misleading voters can include victory at the ballot box. But presidential prevarication, as we keep relearning, has a high cost — to the president’s reputation and the nation’s health,” Mr. Cannon observes.