PANACEA: JUST TELL THE TRUTH

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

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.

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