By Gary McCollum/Opinion
This is an Opinion Editorial, or an Op-Ed. Key words are Opinion and Editorial. This means that I’m offering my opinion and taking the time to editorialize it. The reasons for doing Op-Ed articles or broadcasts are to present an opinion and either appease like minded people or possibly change the opinion of others that may not agree with the author/broadcaster.
The Op-Ed is extremely prevalent in today’s news cycle. No longer do we have three newscasts during the day or just a daily newspaper delivering stories of note. Cable and social media has brought us a 24-hour news cycle, that no matter how hard one may try to avoid, is basically inevitable. In times past (dare I say the good old days) you had news casters on television or reporters for newspapers delivering fact based news. Journalists of that lost era were usually confined to the basics with some flourish that consisted of Who, What, When, Where and Why (sometimes How).
Investigative reporters would sometimes have a series of reports that could lead to world shaking revelations such as the “Watergate Scandal” that resulted in the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. Investigative journalism reveals what others wish to keep quiet. In politics, this is an effective check and balance, that helps set the U.S. apart from any other country on earth.
The first amendment to the Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” I am a strong advocate of the first amendment. I firmly believe without it, the experiment of a democratic republic called the United States, would have failed long ago.
I listened to Sen. Jeff Flake this morning calling out the President on his continued battle with the press on “Fake News,” a term that everyone has come to know and is heard at least daily on some front. Flake got me thinking. Does the problem rest with the President? Does the problem rest with “Fake News” stories posted on social media? Surely it couldn’t be the media, right?
There is no simple answer to this question. Undoubtedly, there are fake news stories that circulate on social media. I’m pretty sure Elvis isn’t an alien. There are other stories that are more believable and are circulated about public officials and by public officials.
I believe there’s plenty ‘Fake News’ in the MSM cable networks. No longer are stories required to be vetted, sources are no longer required to be named, and proof is not needed. Implication and innuendo seem to be enough if it will grab a headline or can come across as “Breaking News.”
The media that we watch and listen to are doing whatever they can to make “News” and that means making money. Both parties have many news outlets that tout their political view. They are no longer reporting just the facts. It seems to be a constant Political Opinion spouting, degrading the other party.
Yesterday the POTUS had the results of his physical revealed to the nation and even voluntarily underwent additional scrutiny for cognitive testing to put to rest feelings of his opponents that he may have issues the American Public needed to know. This press briefing was over an hour long due to many questions about the Presidents diet, ice cream consumption, level of exercise, if he were addicted to drugs, even if he were suffering the beginnings of dementia. The press pool couldn’t believe that the President is sane and is doing his job.
Some in the Media are so biased that they should no longer be considered journalists. They should be considered advocates for the party they represent. Listening to these questions put me over the edge because it seemed the journalists couldn’t accept the news that the POTUS is in perfect health. I can’t help but imagine the push back had that occurred if Mrs. Clinton had been elected or if they had done the same thing to former President Obama.
If the media no longer want the term “Fake News” to be a descriptor of their journalistic careers, maybe they should go back to basics: report the facts and become apolitical.