Dear Mr. President,
Normally, this would be a letter of congratulations. It looks like your Secretary of State, John Kerry, may have averted another American war when he off-handedly—and without permission—suggested that, perhaps, the United States won’t bomb the kibbeh out of Syria if Bashir al-Assad agrees to give up his chemical weapons arsenal. A brilliant idea! Russia approves of the plan, the Syrian government is apparently on board, and suddenly it seems like we’ll have to wait until those sneaky Canadians decide to invade us before we’ll see another war. Now, don’t get us wrong—this is a great achievement. Peace is a wonderful thing for the world.
But right now, we’d like to talk about how peace is really, really bad for us.
You see, Mr. President, whether they admit it or not, the American people are fascinated by war. Sure, right now only 16% of them will admit to supporting a strike on Syria, but once the bombs start falling, each and every one of them will be enthralled. And you know what they’ll do then? They will switch on their TVs and open their laptops, and search out the best, most insightful coverage available. And do you know where they’ll find it? Right here at Newslo.
So you can see why all of us here were pretty excited—aroused, even—at the prospect of a military engagement with Syria. Military engagements are very good for generating page views. Maybe, we thought, the strike would escalate into a full-blown conflict, and eventually lead us into a quagmire. Quagmires, Mr. President, are what sites like Newslo are made to cover.
You know what? We feel like you promised us those page views, and we happen to know that the rest of the media agree with us. Did you, or did you not, say that if Assad used chemical weapons on his people it would constitute a “red line,” the crossing of which would trigger American intervention? Don’t remember saying that? We’d be happy to play you the tape.
Here’s the bottom line: We need those page views. We planned on using the additional revenue to add funny and incisive video content to the site. Where’s that money supposed to come from now, Mr. President? We’ll have to do something to make up those lost readers. You want us to start covering Miley Cyrus around the clock? Don’t think we won’t do it.
Leaders are elected to lead, Mr. President—they aren’t elected to buckle under the weight of public opinion, or choose to avoid war simply because it’s “the right thing to do.” Your predecessor knew how to lead from the gut. He cared about all the writers, editors, producers and anchors who rely on war coverage to feed their families. Maybe it’s time to take a page from his book.
That, or just spend the next few week constantly refreshing our homepage. Give us a few hundred thousand page views, and maybe we’ll consider it even.
P.S. We love you John McCain!