Thorn: The sky is falling, and baseball is dying

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on November 19, 2018:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Dickens knew, when he wrote those words about the days of the French Revolution, that it was simultaneously both and neither. You folks came here to talk baseball and not politics and, trust me, so did I. But let me get to that desired goal by way of some dark days in the Hudson Valley, more than 200 years ago.

In this past week, the White House was spanked in Federal Court for having denied a Secret Service pass to Jim Acosta of CNN, whose press credentials were restored yesterday. The narrow basis of the ruling was due process, but the judge indicated that a case brought solely on First Amendment grounds would likely have prevailed. Our current Chief Executive is not the first to have viewed the press with distrust and disdain; one of our Presidents honored on Mt. Rushmore had a temper, too … and he imposed tariffs that were ruinous to the American economy, and had a checkered romantic history.

Thomas Jefferson became President in 1800, largely by opposing the Alien & Sedition Acts of 1798, famously casting himself as a defender of the press. “Were it left to me,” he once declared, “to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Yet Jefferson found ways to soften the sting of the press.

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Originally published: November 19, 2018. Last Updated: November 19, 2018.