1. It’s Friday, June 30, 2017.
2. Lena Horne was born 100 years ago today. Somehow, this video seems appropriate.
3. This has been quite the week, this final week of the year’s first half.
It seems appropriate that we’re coming into what, for a lot of people, will be a long holiday weekend. The Fourth of July is Tuesday, and Monday will be one of those days when almost no one goes to work or, if you can, you work from home.
4. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency yesterday. Not because of a hurricane or tornado or flooding or even locusts.
He decided the New York subway system is falling apart so fast that it’s a dire situation for the people who ride it every day.
Sure, I think an infusion of money and some much-needed attention are important. Fix the tracks. Fix the trains. Fix the stations.
I can’t remember how many years it’s been since the first signs telling how long it is until the next 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 train arrives. I know it was at least 30 years after Washington did it. And that it would be nice if those signs finally made it to all of the lines.
But as I pointed out Wednesday, the subway system’s problem isn’t just that it’s old and falling apart.
Mass transit requires more than just giving some jobs to maintenance people.
It requires imagination. It requires the same level of innovation that has, in my lifetime, changed what people do in train cars from reading the newspaper to watching a news conference live on a handheld device.
That, Gov. Cuomo, should be on the agenda.
It’s the 21st century. Let’s ride like it.
5. I don’t want to belabor the points I made Tuesday about CNN.
Suffice to say, I still think it was wrong for the network to – and I’ll use CNN’s terminology – accept the resignations of three members of the investigative team over a less-than-thoroughly-vetted story about a Trump associate.
Trump and his sycophants have trumpeted what happened to these guys, one of whom is a friend and former boss.
And if you thought the Trumpistas had some sort of moral compass to acknowledge the sacrifice of these men and the network, fuggedaboutit. There are some who think it emboldened the cetriolo in the White House to tweet out his attack on MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough yesterday – particularly after Scarborough had the nerve to defend CNN’s people in a tweet the day before.
But there’s one other point I want to make.
When Trump screams about how CNN is fake news, is he referring to Arwa Damon? Who has risked her life in the Middle East so that Americans know what the hell is going on in the hell of places such as Cairo and Mosul?
When Trump’s White House touts supposed CNN-damaging video by a fraud such as James O’Keefe, does it realize O’Keefe would get spontaneous diarrhea if he were in anything like the situations Damon faces on a daily basis?
And Damon is just the latest in a long line of CNN journalists – on camera, running the camera or behind the scenes – who have put their lives at risk to show the world as it is.
When you walk through the doors of CNN – in New York, in Atlanta, in Washington, in London and everywhere else – you carry with you the knowledge that you’re on the same team as people with the guts of a Christiane Amanpour or a Nic Robertson.
You can certainly criticize CNN sometimes. In recent years, it seems a little too focused on the horse race of politics, and not enough on the issues. I go crazy when I see a lot of talking heads on the air, too.
But CNN has, since its inception in 1980, tried to be the network of record. And whether that record pertains to something easy, like a political speech, or something hard, like sending a reporter into an area where a nuclear power plant has failed, it has made an effort that other legitimate journalists admire.
Earlier this week, my daughter delivered on her Father’s Day gift, taking me to the Tony award-winning play “Oslo.” It’s about the secret process in which Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization engaged that resulted in the 1994 peace agreement.
At one point, an Israeli official yells about how the world is watching CNN show the slaying of Palestinian children by security forces in Gaza. And how that makes Israel look like a demon in the eyes of the world.
That is CNN’s power. That is the pride of the people who work there.
To call it fake insults them all. Including me, and I’m not there anymore.
And it’s a key part of Trump’s strategy – discredit CNN, and people will believe what they want to believe. Which for Trump’s supporters means whatever he tells them.
But a phony from Queens won’t succeed at hurting CNN. Only CNN can do that to itself. Holding itself accountable is right. Cutting away the people who make it great as a matter of political expedience isn’t.