Who thinks it’s a good idea that the chief security adviser to the president of the United States should be a man who subscribed to the inane allegation that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of a pizza restaurant here while she was seeking election to the Oval Office?
Well, President-elect Donald Trump apparently does.
And he seems to have chosen to ignore that his expected head of the National Security Council, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, has a penchant for spreading fake news stories over social media, including posts linking Clinton with activities only a moron would find credible.
As we know, one did — and drove several hundreds of miles armed to the teeth to check it out and apparently put an end to the horror, if necessary. His arrest came quickly, shortly after he entered the Comet Ping Pong pizza parlor carrying an AR-15 assault rifle, but not before he had fired it and gone hunting for the tunnels where the children were alleged to have been kept.
The general’s son, who had been acting as his father’s chief of staff, has been a major purveyor of this slanderous nonsense, so much so he was still speculating on its validity after it had been thoroughly debunked. Fortunately for Americans, he won’t be joining daddy in the West Wing, having had his ties to the team clipped.
When he was the head of Defense Intelligence, Gen. Flynn was charged with evaluating information of the utmost importance. His false-news spreading makes one wonder about his competence.
What is particularly frightening is the general’s expected proximity to the presidential ear.
What will happen the next time he hears an outlandish contention, like the one that circulated decades ago about Russia installing missiles in the Great Lakes?
If you aren’t laughing — if you see any plausibility at all in this legend — you probably should not be running around loose.
Then again, at the time, I received a call from an editor asking whether the lake rumor had any validity.
“Are you nuts?” I responded. “Actually, let me put it this way: The very fact you’re calling me seriously to ask about it probably is a prima facie case that you should not be in the job you now hold or any other on a legitimate newspaper.”
I hung up.
Ask yourself this question: Would even a novice president listen to a report like that from his chief security adviser and rush to take serious action to the detriment of the country? Hopefully not, but one never knows in this day of maliciously phony reports — especially from the Twitter king of the Western World.
Those who disparage the mainline press in favor of the anonymous internet offerings — no matter how illogical and unbelievable they may be — equate any bad news as bias and latch on to obviously made-up news as proof of their allegations.
The irresponsibility of the Flynn clan in this matter is monumental.
The new head of the security council may have damaged not only his credibility but also his reputation (whatever that is) beyond any usefulness to a president who will sorely need good advice given his own penchant for early morning, breathless tweets of questionable validity.
The world has always been full of lies, but today’s technological rumor earthquakes are supremely disingenuous, far-reaching and backed up by nothing. One believes them at his or her own risk. The devastation they can cause endangers all who give them any credence.
For example, some would have you believe that the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and the 9/11 terrorist attacks were government plots, while others blab about how the Holocaust never happened.
Bad as these examples of ugly fantasy are, at least we’ve never had — at least not until now — someone at the right hand of the president who might give such nonsense second thought.
So, here’s a thought actually worth considering: Trump ought to fire Flynn before he starts.
Dan Thomasson is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service and a former vice president of Scripps Howard Newspapers. Readers may send him email at: email@example.com.