Tag Archives: reporter

Enemy of the People

Last week, CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta accosted White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders during the scheduled press briefing and insisted that Sanders provide a specific sound bite for the press. The incident was part of a larger issue revolving around the president’s use of the phrase “fake news” and a tweet the media believes he said the media was the enemy of the people. This topic has been all over the internet and discussed at length by the pundits and the professional talking heads ever since, but every time it is discussed, no one mentions the most disturbing issue: that of a “professional journalist” demanding a spokesperson say what he wants to hear.

Journalists are supposed to report the news in an objective manner. In an ideal situation, the reporter’s opinions and ideas are not detectible in a news story that is filled with facts and statements quoted from cited sources. In journalism classes, students are (or at least were) taught to avoid adjectives in news stories so as to avoid slanting the story. The assumption was that members of an informed society would form their own opinions based on objective information, and the free press could best serve the public by providing that objective information. Journalists did write their opinions, but they did so in the Op-Ed pages and in feature profiles; sections of the news dedicated to the opinions of the writers. These sections were clearly marked and labeled as opinion, so the reader could tell the difference between objective reporting and opinion. Yet in recent years, journalists are increasingly interjecting their own ideology and opinions in every story put out on TV, print and online, not just the Op-Ed. The practice is so widespread that it is almost impossible to find a truly objective news story anymore.

This trend seems to be stemming from a degree of self-importance that reporters have adopted in the last couple of decades. The Fourth Estate began to believe in their own importance as the “fourth branch of government” as overseer of the legislative, executive and judicial branches. While it seems that having transparence in government is a good thing and the news did facilitate that transparency, reporters began to shift the focus of their exposés on issues that the reporters felt were significant and they turned a blind eye to issues with which they agreed. One reporter once suggested that the media can make or break a president.

This is kind of putting the cart before the horse. If a president is doing something untoward or illegal, then objective reporting would reveal those transgressions and the people could take appropriate actions. Increasingly, however, it seems the press is trying to portray the activities of politicians as being illegal or immoral in order to sway public opinion against them. Such is the case with the supposed tweet.

President Trump tweeted “The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media.”

Members of the media were incensed by this supposed slight and Jim Acosta decided to do something about it by addressing it with Sanders.

Acosta did not ask a question, but made a demand cloaked in a request. “I think it would be a good thing if you were to say right here, at this briefing, that the press, the people who are gathered in this room right now, doing their jobs every day, asking questions of officials like the ones you brought forward earlier, are not the enemy of the people. I think we deserve that.”

Sanders refused to grant is demand and instead leveled a rebuttal wherein she called out times when the press vilified not just the president but her as well. Acosta, not happy at being denied his boon, whined on social media and his network led a charge accusing Sanders of doubling down on the “enemy of the people” statement.

They got it wrong. First, the president didn’t say that the media was the enemy…he specified the fake news media. Granted, that is a bit of a deflection, since all the media is guilty of proliferating fake news, but he never said any network or reporter by name, so Sanders had no reason to make the statement in the first place.

Secondly, Acosta has forgotten his place. He is a reporter who is supposed to cover the news, not make it. His opinion is irrelevant, even if he is butt-hurt by a supposed slight. It was a breach of decorum and civility to even address the issue in that manner. It would be one thing to ask for a clarification about the tweet, but to demand a retraction is too much. Reporters should never command a statement from their interviewees. Ever! That is not reporting. That is commanding. If the media is commanding specific statements from public officials, then they are no longer serving the people, they are directing policy and that is not their role. Dictators demand others adopt their ideals. Anyone who forces their ideas onto others is, in fact, an enemy of the people.

If Acosta and others in the media want to be thought of as a friend of the people, they need to stop alienating the people. Go back to objective reporting, keep themselves out of the story and avoid interjecting their ideals into their reporting. It’s journalism 101, or at least it used to be when journalism was a respectable business.

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The Sweet and the Bitter of Election Day

Tuesday the 8th of November, 2016 will be a bittersweet day for many people in this country, if not the whole world. It is the date that the worst campaign in the history of this country will officially end, which is the sweet part. The bitter part is that it is also the date that we will have elected the person who will no doubt go down in history as one of the worst world leaders ever. It is not because we have been forced against our will to endorse a tyrant, but rather we have degraded the principles of liberty so much that the citizens of this country no longer know any better than to elect people based not on capability, but instead on popularity. Knowledge and logic have been supplanted by feelings.

This is not new to this election cycle, unfortunately. The election of Barack Obama was the first time a president was chosen not because of skill, knowledge, or experience, but rather because of social popularity. Obama was not elected because he was the most capable, he was elected because people thought it was time we had a black man in the White House. This election is another opportunity for the populists who want social justice to ring their bell by not electing the best candidate, but by electing the first woman to the presidency. In fact, it has become the media catch phrase as pundits tout how America will make history by electing Hillary Clinton.

The social justice warriors who gave us affirmative action and hiring quotas are now trying to staff the White House, as if the qualifications for that job are limited to the color of one’s skin or the gender to which they self-identify. A knowledge of history, or law, or economics or anything understood to be a formal education are not even mentioned in the candidate selection process. None of the candidates who ran in either primary touted their academic credentials. Very few of them mentioned their relevant experience. All of them threw out their feelings on the issues about which the media had drummed the populace into a frenzy and batted sound bites around like a litter of puppies fighting over a toy, and we the people watched with similar fascination as we decried the responses that hurt our feelings and shouted along with the ones that echoed our own beliefs.

As a society, we have become so focused on feelings, that real matters that have meaning are relegated to whispers among the like minded, too afraid to speak out in public for fear of being labeled a bigot, racist, misogynist, extremist, leftist, right-wing, birther, libtard. If we cannot discuss the serious matters facing society as a whole, how can we hope to find a leader willing to do it? We can’t. This is why our politicians have become so impotent lately. They are afraid of being on the losing side of legislation being voted on by a public who cannot be counted on to actually learn anything different from their preconceived notions and ideals and who think it is time we had a woman in the White House even if that woman is a proven manipulative, elitist liar who doesn’t even think members of her own party are worthy of consideration.

Clinton said in an interview that she wants to be the president of those who vote for her and those who vote against her. Well, that is as stupid a statement as any candidate has ever made, but nothing more can be expected from someone who has manipulated the system at every turn to ensure her victory in the election, even going so far as to have defrauded the country by negotiating back room deals, including selecting her opponent, to lock in her win, no matter the outcome of the ballot count. When Hillary is announced as the winner (and she will be) understand it will not be because of the ballots cast. It will be because she defrauded an already corrupted process and was validated by a population that wanted a woman—any woman—president. Wednesday morning, there will be no more campaign commercials and no more news time devoted to the campaigns, but we will have someone who will no doubt end up being the worst president in history sitting in the White House. Bittersweet indeed.

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What Hope Comes From Violence?

The uprising in Egypt captured the attention of the world. The media portrayed the event as the ouster of an evil dictator who quashed any dissention and terrorized his people for his entire 30-year reign; bringing about the opportunity for the Egyptian people to discover new freedoms as a democratic nation. Reporters have been dispatched all over Egypt—though most tend to stay in Cairo where the action has been—to cover this historic change of power to the people. Yet at no time in their storied past have the Egyptian people had democracy, so they have no idea how a democratic nation is supposed to behave. The reporters have found this out the hard way.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper was assaulted by a mob before Mubarak’s resignation. CBS’s Lara Logan was the victim of a “brutal and sustained sexual assault” and beating, and ABC’s Brian Hartman was threatened with beheading and in the latest incident, a group of reporters were assaulted even as they cried out that they were reporters. The mob, however, wasn’t impressed with the reporter’s credentials. They were not protesting for a rational discussion of social issues. They were not protesting for international sympathy. They were not even protesting for democracy. They wanted their leader’s head and those of anyone who supported him…including Americans.

“Yes, I want you to go from here,” one protester said. When ABC reporter Christiane Amanpour asked why, the man said, “Because we hate you. We hate America … You are not a good person.”

These are the people our media and our president support in their “struggle.” These people hate us as much as Arabs do and most of the Middle East. This will not improve with Mubarak gone. It will only get worse. Yet the liberals under Obama called for Mubarak to step down, as if his leaving would usher in peace and a new government to be an ally for America. Obama wants to reach out to whatever new regime is established there, which will more than likely be a Muslim regime practicing Sharia law.

Egyptians and most middle easterners do not think the same way Americans do. They do not have the same values. They do not live the same way of life. They resent us and our way of life and want nothing more than to see us fall—unless it is to help us fall. The media is learning this lesson the hard way, but don’t expect Obama to take this lesson to heart. He will probably apologize to the Egyptians who injure their hands on the heads of the Americans they beat and pay to replace the rocks they throw when they stone Americans.

The media has not abandoned hope in their liberal agenda however. They blame the violence on Pro-Mubarak gangs, even though the gangs themselves that are doing the beating are the same ones who called for Mubarak to leave.

Sometimes it seems like it would be best to leave Egypt and the rest of the Middle East to self-destruct. We have one ally in the region in Israel and that one is tenuous at best. Sadly, Obama’s expediency will probably throw Israel under the bus to appease the Muslims who take over in Egypt. When this happens, a beating or a black eye will be the least of worries for reporters or any other Americans in the area.

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The Danger is in the Listing

Every once in a while, I like to play devil’s advocate. It allows me to see more than the liberal spoon-fed agenda foisted upon us in the media. The news this evening featured a story about a Houston neighborhood that has the largest concentration of registered sex offenders not serviced by a residential facility. The reporter made the point that the parents of children living in the neighborhood are concerned and want laws that limit how many registered offenders can reside in any given neighborhood. What the reporter did not mention and many (almost every) person fails to consider is that not every registered sex offender is a threat to children. In fact, many on that list are no threat to anyone at all.

Imagine you are a young man just turned 21 and your friends take you out to party. Not everyone indulges their coming of age birthday in this fashion, but it is more common than not. After several drinks (and let’s give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you have a responsible person as a designated driver) you spy an attractive young woman who seems interested. After some slurred small talk, the young lady offers a ride and you accept and the next thing you know, it is the next morning and you think you just had a fantastic night. That is, until you find out that this young woman is actually 16 years old and she thinks you are a couple now. After several days of not calling the girl, she gets upset and tells her mother all the sordid details of your night together. You find yourself being booked for rape and in very short order you are on the sexual offenders’ list.

Imagine you are a devoted father who finds out your wife is cheating on you. You file for divorce and threaten to take the kids. Your estranged wife, desperate to hold on to the children, convinces your young daughter to say that you touched her. The next thing you know you have not only lost custody, you are barred from seeing your kids without court supervision. And you are on the sexual offenders list.

These are not hypothetical situations. These are real cases. Real people finding their lives ruined not just because they were convicted, but even worse, they are constantly judged by everyone they meet. Jobs are lost, credit is denied, and now they cannot even find housing. The penal system is supposed to allow those found guilty of crimes against society to make amends and re-enter society once their punishment is complete, yet we hold these “predators” to a different standard. We continually punish them even after they have completed their sentence.

Now, the flip side is that there are many individuals who are a continuing threat to our society. These sick individuals will continue to prey on victims no matter what punishment is doled out to them. The problem comes from our need to categorize and label everything we encounter. All those who are convicted of crimes that are related in some way to sex are considered predators. The man who stalks and rapes brunettes between the ages of 16 and 22 who remind him of his mother, the man who rapes and murders every girl who turned him down in high school, the pervert who only finds stimulation with prepubescent children, these are the individuals for which the registry is designed. The list is not enough for these perverts; castration perhaps or even execution would be more suitable. Hell should have a special place for these guys and if it does, it isn’t bad enough.

Every name on the list is not a threat to your children’s safety. Remember that not all of those people are criminals that need to be permanently segregated. Some are victims of the system, some are victims of their own stupidity, and some committed a premeditated crime for which they have paid the price and would never do it again. Yet we lump them in with the serial rapists and pedophiles and force them to live with the same stigma as those who are truly evil dangers in our midst. This is the real danger: the media driving us to lump all people into the same categories regardless of the situation.

The media finds it easy to generate ratings by teasing stories with leads that mention the predators list. People clamor for more information and the media laps it up. They tell us all the potential danger of having a predator among us without mentioning the specific threat. Telling us that a divorcee who lost his children in a custody case because his daughter accused him is not the kind of story that generates public outcry. So they abridge it to say that a registered sex offender is near and we tune in every time.

Look beyond the media’s stories. Look for the truth and in doing so protect yourself from the real danger. Do your own research. Find out the specifics of those who live near you, not just the fact that their name is on a list. Everyone’s situation is unique and just because they have a conviction on their record doesn’t necessarily make them a threat. Making assumptions based solely on what the media says is what we should fear.

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