Press Freedom — unchain their souls

Maybe a post script is needed to my last post on a media cabal in their defense of press hay day. (or their D-day as I’m calling it) Was it too Fake News challenged?

There were some who declined the opportunity to elaborate on the “war,” as some call it, claiming that they do it everyday. Like Seattle Times, who passed on the offer.

So maybe press is not as united as you thought? Don’t bet on it. They just don’t want to make a special national day of it, which they fear may only provide Trump with more evidence of a press conspiracy against his presidency. Surely, some of it will.

However, this sounds more like not wanting to poke Trump — or the people by extension — in the eye while he is already on a tear against the press. A successful one. Not that they are not actively engaged in an effort to undermine and question his legitimacy in every way they can. They are. Just that they do that anyway without a designated day for it.

On the other hand, some are fully engaged in this “war” but they also want to throw ‘shout outs’ to local media for tireless efforts in the press. Lean on the locals for a defense. Yes, noble as local press are, they are not the real issue or problem. That the local media still covers local news and provides a good service never was the problem at the heart of the matter. But should that case even have to be made? Then we have come a long way. So they can wax on their local accomplishments all they want.

Maybe it is a time, though, for press to do a little navel gazing of its own on what their real priorities and goals are. Maybe? But don’t bet there will be lessons learned. They seem far too arrogant for that.

Just as the Seventh Floor was corrupting the greater FBI’s institutional reputation, so is the national press and media diminishing its own credibility. Like the FBI, it was not field agents who did all that, who were the problem. It was leadership. Though the attitudes of leadership do trickle down to rank and file. So too is the case in the national press — all chasing a few stories they consider important. (damn whatever we care about)

We know the stories they want to report, and eventually we know the ones they do not. So do reporters and journalists at large. There are a few good journalists functioning in an against-the-tide way, almost battling against the national media at large. Are they wining? No. They are frowned on or mocked. (as out of line) Their efforts are diminished en masse by their fellow press piers. It’s a shame. The loudest barking dogs get the attention.

Yet with all that said, media wanted a special day to pat themselves on the back for their biases and efforts. Of course they want to broaden the problem and criticism of the press. And they want all members of it to be forced to defend press’s greater national agenda.

Why is it that Republicans always seem to have an active campaign against press, media? Is it good politics? You could turn that around as well, to “why does press always seem to be actively campaigning against Republicans?” And both would be correct. There are decades of mistrust built up on the Republican side. Best to know who your biggest opponents or critics are if you are a politician. Enemies? You’d be a fool to believe press is actively, overtly on your side or even that you will get “fair” coverage. John McCain would be Exhibit A. He wanted to believe it, which only says something about him.

For today’s defense of press day, cue the choruses of anecdotal stories about humanity, drinking water, local crime investigations, or school board decisions. All important, but they were not really the issue. And great as those stories may be — cite them all day — they still do not deal with a collective issue of bias in the news media.

When the local news reports a crime, it can intentionally not mention the race, religion of immigration status of the alleged criminal. Sometimes it matters, yet is suspiciously omitted. Sure press did report the story, but did they reveal all pertinent facts? So we are talking about the editorial positions and control of media, which more often is the problem. In other words, what we don’t see is withheld, or accounts of the story that don’t mesh with events. Citing good local stories can cover some of that but not the volumes of accounts where bias is a problem. How about when there is an error? They stick it in the reserved corrections section later But don’t mention it. Where is the honesty or integrity, or for that matter responsibility, in that?

No, what really got their collective goats in the press were the unfavorable public opinion polls showing lack of credibility in the press. Thus, reporting the great local stories is not the real issue here. Their need to be instinctively believed is the whole issue. Their mission and goal depends on that. So press is even dishonest in framing what this is all about. But the people have known for some time what it is about, being fed a steady diet of deceptive or biased coverage that lacked the integrity or scrutiny of a real free press. Would the founders be happy with what the national, collective media has turned into?

And if those local stories are really the issue here, then let’s have them. I mean tell them instead of drowning them out and spoon-feeding us national interests — and those controlling political interests — by the mainstream collective media. We don’t call it Mainstream Media for nothing. Another term they despise. Tell them all, unedited.

Columbia Journalism Review makes the press defense with a potpourri of snippets.

Washington Post book critic Carlos Lozada read half a dozen “hagiographies” of the president, finding that “some are born Trump sycophants. Some achieve Trump sycophancy. And some have Trump sycophancy thrust upon them—since he’s a star, they let him do that.”

Is that what you got? Better, is that what you really believe? And what are the stages of press degradation? Do we have to diagram that for you?

IPSOS Polls

Returning to President Trump’s views on the press, almost a third of the American people (29%) agree with the idea that “the news media is the enemy of the American people,” including a plurality of Republicans (48%).

I don’t want to tell them what the trend is.

 
Right Ring | Bullright