Three Great Weekend Reads
In case you missed them…
Will the Mueller Report damage Trump?
Is press freedom degrading in America?
Can shame be a force for good?
The Mueller report didn’t deliver the smoking gun of unrealistic liberal fantasies. (“The money is being wired to the Cayman Islands. Love, Vlad.”) But beyond making clear how close Mueller came to recommending the indictment of a sitting president for obstruction of justice, the report is brimming with tantalizing clues about the uncanny synchronization between the Trump campaign and the Russians—and may increasingly diminish the public’s confidence in giving the president another four years.
The United States is now “problematic.” Although this conclusion might refer to a variety of suboptimal conditions, the international journalistic advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières) applied it to the way in which Americans treat members of the Fourth Estate. In this year’s index of press freedoms, the United States has fallen to 48 out of 180 nations when it comes to freedom of the press.
Shame no longer unifies us by defining acceptable values; it instead divides us into separate groups who use shame to define the “other” and set ourselves apart from them, as if to say “we’re full of virtue and they are beneath contempt.” That’s one reason why political conflicts can feel impossible to resolve. Rather than responding to legitimate criticism, it’s become normal to heap shame upon those across the aisle: I have nothing to feel ashamed about, but you certainly do.