2010 kicked off with a pretty important column by the New York Times’ David Brooks. In it, he rightfully lamented the reaction to the recent attempted act of terrorism and what amounts to America’s immaturity — as if life could come with guarantees against bad things happening.
“Much of the criticism has been contemptuous and hysterical,” Brooks wrote, without making the final important connection — that most of that criticism and hysteria has found a non-stop platform on cable news, where the only reaction to a big story now seems to be overreaction.
Should profiling be expected to stop every crime attempt in advance? One would think so based on the parade of experts and strategists decrying the system’s failure.
As Brooks noted, a mature society would understand, in essence, that despite all good intentions, occasionally, shit happens. It’s simply impossible to preempt every potential threat.
Nobody in government is really making that point, but it’s worth noting that relatively few people in media have exhibited the courage to make it either. And in the latter case, it’s a completely self-serving proposition, inasmuch as keeping people scared is presumably a good way to keep an audience watching.
The column marks a nice start to the year for Brooks, who appears to pride himself on representing a rare voice of sobriety and reason. As for the rest of the media — and especially cable news — that continues to obsess over the so-called (and would-be) underwear bomber, not so much.