Column: Aaron Rodgers and Donald Trump both represent a dangerous war on responsibility

New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders on Sunday, December 13. January 24, 2023, in East Rutherford, NJ Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media at a hotel in Washington, Tuesday, January 9, 2024, after attending a hearing before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals at the federal courthouse in Washington. (Brad Penner/AP Images for Panini & AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Column: Aaron Rodgers and Donald Trump both represent a dangerous war on responsibility

Lorraine Ali

January 10, 2024

The battle for accountability in a culture of impunity in which reality increasingly plays a secondary role to conspiracy theories and disinformation flared Tuesday when a football star doubled down on his baseless claims about a late-night host and a federal appeals court judge a former judge examined. Presidents claim immunity from prosecution for his role in violent insurrection.

It’s not hard to mention in the same breath New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has claimed without evidence that Jimmy Kimmel was linked to the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and Donald Trump, who pushed the baseless narrative that he was immune is for criminals. allegations related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election, a campaign that was itself based on lies. After all, none of these men have the facts on their side. They simply have public platforms, colorful stories and a victim complex, all key ingredients to ignore the facts and gain followers.

If the first few weeks of 2024 were turned into a period drama, it would be called Lies and Culpability and it would be a Shakespearean tragedy, not a Jane Austen romance. The country’s relationship with the truth, or even reasonable doubt, has eroded to the point where everything is now plausible: The Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was a Fed insurrection, an inside job by the FBI. The popular site Etsy is really a center for child pornography, as is evident from photos of wait for it pizza. Vice President Kamala Harris breathes through gills (I didn’t make this up).

Such ridiculous tall tales are easy to laugh at and ignore. Less entertaining is a poll released last week that found a third of the country believes President Biden’s election was illegitimate, despite ample evidence to the contrary. Not to mention the dangerous fiction that is spread daily about Jews, Muslims, Asians, transgenders and other groups, increasing hatred and violence against them.

That is why the battle for accountability now raging in the courts and in the court of public opinion is so vital and sometimes worrying, because it is unclear who wins from week to week, from hour to hour.

Rodgers is a prime example of the decline. In a Jan. 2 appearance on ESPN’s The Pat McAfee Show, the conspiracy-minded athlete steered the conversation toward a perennial favorite of the QAnon crowd, pedophilia and Epstein. Rodgers said many high-profile people were nervous about making Epstein’s client list public.

There are a lot of people, including Jimmy Kimmel, who are really hoping this doesn’t come true. His reckless comments prompted swift responses from Kimmel on social media, and on Monday Kimmel devoted the opening monologue of his late night show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, to rebutting Rodgers.

I don’t know Jeffrey Epstein. I have never met Jeffrey Epstein, Kimmel said. I’m not on a list. I wasn’t on a plane, on an island or whatever, and I suggested that if Aaron wanted to make such false and very damaging statements, we should do it in court so he could share his evidence with, for example, a judge.

But Rodgers seemed unfazed on The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday when he doubled down on the Epstein connection in his response to Kimmel’s monologue. “I’m not stupid enough to accuse you of that without any evidence, without any concrete evidence,” Rodgers said. Yet he provided no proof; it appears his evidence is somewhere in the same fabrication vault as Trump’s stolen votes.

The quarterback said he was eager to put the issue aside and move on, then blamed the media for trying to cancel him — the very same media he’s using to discredit Kimmel.

Hours earlier, Trump appeared in court in person with his legal team, which tried to convince a panel of judges that former presidents should not be prosecuted for actions taken while in office.

Judge Florence Pan was skeptical of the argument. “You’re saying a president can sell pardons, sell military secrets, tell SEAL Team Six to kill a political rival?” she asked. Trump lawyer John Sauer responded that a former president can only be indicted if he is first impeached by the House of Representatives


convicted in the Senate. After the hearing, Trump warned of chaos that the trial would continue.

The threat of violence was underpinned by the confidence that he would also win this battle. And maybe he will, because accountability is such a unicorn in the politics and tribalism of a divided country. It’s not just Trump and his allies, like Rep. Elise Stefanik, who have cultivated an impressive imperviousness to the facts (they recently referred to the federal criminal defendants jailed in connection with the Jan. 6 attack as “hostages of the justice system”). It’s a big one

swath watch

of our fellow Americans.

But accountability is still possible within the law: Dominion Voting Systems won


almost $

787 –


in a


in return for

Fox News Channel and Fox Corp. in a defamation lawsuit alleging that Fox broadcast false information that Dominion’s voting machines had been manipulated to tip the election in Biden’s favor. And three years after the attack on the Capitol, hundreds have been convicted.

Trump’s legal team and its allies have not had the same success in court as they have on social media. The struggle to combat politically manipulated falsehoods and wild conspiracies is frightening, but these legal victories mean that those who value truth and accountability must continue the fight.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Hot Topics

Related Articles