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Difficult Political Discussions (Part 5 of 14)

(The Press)

THE LETTER STATES:

I can’t even start to go over the NEGATIVE PRESS he’s received since his surprise win…

SUE’S RESPONSE: 

One of the issues when reading any material, is the responsibility of each reader to note when things are “opinion or sensationalist pieces”, as opposed to “fact-based reporting”.  Both the left and the right are guilty of not always digging deeper for the facts, but choose to blame the Mainstream Media even when it is clearly stated as an “Opinion” piece. It is also sad that people blame the left or the right.  They both have a slant.  People need to do their homework.  

QUOTE: 

“I believe that President Trump is engaged in the most direct sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history,” Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said at a Society of Professional Journalists press freedom event in Washington on December 11, 2019. “He has done everything he can to undercut the media, to try and delegitimize us, and I think his purpose is clear: to raise doubts, when we report critically about him and his administration, that we can be trusted…”

“…Barack Obama promised that his administration would be the most transparent in history. Instead it became the most determined to limit information that the news media needed to hold the government accountable for its actions. It used White House websites and social media to bypass the news media in presenting its own version of reality to the public, in a precursor to how Donald Trump would later use Twitter. The Obama administration actively discouraged “unauthorized” interviews by government officials with the press, and it went to great lengths to combat leaks to reporters.

Most significantly, the Obama administration prosecuted 10 government employees and contractors for disclosing classified information to the press. Eight of the prosecutions were under the 1917 Espionage Act, which was enacted during World War I to protect the country against spies for foreign governments. It had been used only three times in the nine decades before Obama took office. In several of the cases, the Justice Department and the FBI secretly seized telephone and email traffic between sources and reporters for The New York Times, Fox News, and The Associated Press. National security journalists told me that those investigations had a chilling effect on government sources of information.

Yet, the Obama administration “never engaged in public rhetoric against the press,” noted University of Georgia media law professor Jonathan Peters. By contrast, Peters characterized Trump’s verbal attacks 

on the press as “a systematic effort to de-legitimize the news media as a check on government power.”

By the time Trump was elected president in November 2016, Americans appeared to be irreconcilably divided, not just politically, ideologically, and emotionally, but factually. Poll after poll showed that supporters and opponents of Trump believed very different versions of what they think of as facts because they depend primarily on sources of news and information they trust, regardless of their veracity. “People construct their own reality from a selection of media with which they agree,” Hofstra University journalism school dean Mark Lukasiewicz told me.”

(You may need to cut and paste this link) cps.org/report/2020/04/trump-media-attacks-credibility-leaks

QUOTE: 

“One key question for any publication is this: If a reporter gets facts in a story wrong, will the news outlet investigate a complaint and publish a correction? Does the publication have its own code of ethics? Or does it subscribe to and endorse the Society of Professional Journalist’s code of ethics? And if a reporter or editor seriously violates ethical codes – such as being a blatant or serial plagiarizer, fabulist or exaggerator – will they be fired at a given news outlet? While some may criticize mainstream media outlets for a variety of sins, top outlets such as the Washington Post, the New York Times, NBC News and the New Republic have fired journalists for such ethics violations. That is remarkable in a world where some celebrities, politicians and other realms of media (other than news… such as Hollywood films “based on a true story”) can spread falsehood with impunity.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/berlinschoolofcreativeleadership/2017/02/01/10-journalism-brands-where-you-will-find-real-facts-rather-than-alternative-facts/#410c8cdbe9b5

SUE CONTINUES:

This weekend, I was also reading up on conspiracy issues on QAnon.  The sad thing is that I am pretty sure that I have family and friends who believe these sources of information. Sadly one of  these people has joined an underground conspiracy group where they can’t be censured….  My Clergy Coaching Site presented an article and these two quotes jumped out at me.

QUOTE:

“Here’s the deal: Human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children are very real evils that occur abroad and within the borders of the United States. However, NOT A SINGLE CHILD has been rescued as a result of those seeking to expose the Pizzagate, QAnon, and Wayfair conspiracy theories. Not a single one…”

“…We also forget that it was professional journalists who exposed the Catholic sex abuse scandals, Harvey Weinstein, and Jeffrey Epstein – you know, the “mainstream media”)….”

“Because I can assure you, conspiracy theories like QAnon are destroying family relationships and breaking apart close friendships. They’re distorting reality and perpetuating a toxic worldview rooted in baseless and obsessive speculation, mania, and paranoia. t’s truly heartbreaking to watch people fall into this nearly inescapable pit. And, perhaps worst of all, it delegitimizes and confuses a truly horrific issue that deserves (and requires) the utmost precision and sensitivity to expose and combat effectively.

If really want to “save the children,” stop playing armchair detective, and put your money where your mouth is and donate to one of these fully vetted anti-trafficking organizations…”

SUE CONTINUES:

We have become an instant gratification society.  We want our food right away.  We hate having to waiting in line.  The internet gives us so many choices. There are valid sites and those that share false information. We don’t stop and look at publication dates.  We do not look up the authors or how the publishing company has been viewed by independent sources.  We don’t take questionable information and double and triple check it before posting it. Instead, we love to point the finger, as long as it at someone else.  Do we ever blame ourselves for not looking at all sides first and then coming to a logical conclusion on our own? Do we get so wrapped up in conspiracy issues that we can’t focus on the problems that are here and now?  Do we blame the mainstream media because they aren’t telling us what we want to hear?  Have we ever personally emphasised things in away that put a different slant on something… for instance, in talking about another friend? It is our own view, not just the simple facts. I do not think there is a person who can say that they have never done that.  We may call it playing the Devil’s advocate, or we may not even realize we do it.  For those that claim the Constitution not be dismantled in the area of gun control… the same should holds true for the press.

QUOTE:

“Freedom of the press—the right to report news or circulate opinion without censorship from the government—was considered “one of the great bulwarks of liberty,” by the Founding Fathers of the United States. Americans enjoy freedom of the press as one of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. New technologies, however, have created new challenges to media freedom.

The First Amendment, which protects freedom of the press, was adopted on December 15, 1791, as part of the Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights provides constitutional protection for certain individual liberties, including freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to assemble and petition the government.”

https://www.history.com/topics/united-states-constitution/freedom-of-the-press

SUE CONTINUES:

When I see red flags and I want to know more. If I were to believe Trump or Biden implicitly, then I would be a fool. I am grateful for the press when they take the time to share facts that back up or refute things people say. We need to react by digging deeper and asking ourselves tough questions. Here are some of the latest examples from the RNC. Please take the time to look through them:

AP FACT CHECK: Trump, GOP distort on health care, vote fraud

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/ap-fact-check-trump-gop-distort-on-health-care-vote-fraud?fbclid=IwAR1Tc_vOsaBPjCqY2hHOTLnHiGjBQCwDwT2oE4ygpGOKzhJe_mNKea5d4yk

Fact Check: Pence Falsely Implies Joe Biden Wants To Defund The Police

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/ap-fact-check-trump-gop-distort-on-health-care-vote-fraud?fbclid=IwAR1Tc_vOsaBPjCqY2hHOTLnHiGjBQCwDwT2oE4ygpGOKzhJe_mNKea5d4yk

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Sue Thomson

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