Media responsibility lacking
With the nation stunned and Donald Trump’s minions giddy as teenagers on ecstasy, it’s time to take a good hard look at the national media.
After all, the national press has a lot to answer for in how the recent presidential race was covered and the inability to see the wave of anger, fear and hatred of Washington D.C. and traditional politics that has swept the electorate and Heir Donald into the White House.
Trump has destroyed both major parties and is set to spread his demagoguery across the country via his newly won bully pulpit.
To quote Mencken, “… it is to the interest of all the rest of us to hold down his powers to an irreducible minimum and to reduce his compensation to nothing.”
The President of CBS gave Trump unfettered access to the airways during the campaign because it was “good for business,” and the national media bought into the equivalency of faults between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton because the last two decades the large media companies have been hiring people incapable and unwilling to do the job they are supposed to do: be disinterested third-party observers and report the facts.
It’s time to the fix the problem and trust me there is a solution.
Give me control of a network. Seriously.
Consider this my application, if anyone has the guts to hire me to take care of the problem here’s my sure fire method of defeating the problem.
First, do not hire anyone to work for a network that doesn’t have at least five years experience for a junior job and no one with less than a decade’s experience for on-air jobs.
Reporters have to get off their butts and find stories.
Reporters have to be able to pass a simple civics test.
At the same time, news shows will be dedicated to hard news.
There will be an investigative team and there will be no coverage of anything regarding Kardashians, Biebers or other people who are famous for being famous.
Not every story has two sides, while some have more, and we won’t publicize anything that isn’t vetted and factual.
Do our reporters have an opinion?
I don’t care. If it shows up in their story then they can find employment elsewhere but not with me.
Reporters will be required to pursue freedom of information requests, develop sources outside of public relations and public information officers.
We will change how we cover politics and ignore the horse race mentality for significant coverage of policies and ideas.
There will be beat reporters responsible for coverage and we will rotate those beats, particularly the White House beat every two years.
Here’s something else. I volunteer to cover President Donald Trump’s news conferences at the White House myself for the first six months.
Hey, I’ve been to jail before.
If he wants to get testy with reporters, let him take a whack at me.
I will show him the respect due the office, but I will not bow nor bend to his bullying.
Meanwhile, there needs to be other, very serious actions taken to cure the media of our inability to do our job.
Bust up the media elite. Six companies own a majority of the media you see, hear or read.
These monopolies must be dissolved, competition reintroduced into news and as a byproduct we’d have more reporters and more reporting.
This is, clearly, the era of the crooked politician.
With so few of us left, there is no way we can adequately police those in office – and since we don’t know how to cover a presidential race, there’s no hope for covering politics the way it needs to be covered.
Mencken said an honest politician under democracy is as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
His most scathing comments, however, he saved for reporters who print “balderdash because he doesn’t know how to get anything better – perhaps, in many cases, because he doesn’t know that anything better exists.”
This election shows we must and have to do better.
The pundits got it wrong. The National media got it wrong and the GOP?and the Democrats got it wrong.
Common sense isn’t so common and there is little to do but step up and do what we are supposed to do in the press.
Investigate. Report. Vet the facts. Tell these facts in a timely fashion and do it without the taint of our opinions.
I’m up for that challenge. Anyone else?
All cheer the new American political dynamic
At critical moments like this I often find H.L. Mencken comforting. Speaking of the politics of the mid-20th century, the sage of Baltimore could well be speaking to us today and he actually does if anyone would listen.
Mencken was the man who said, “”No one in this world, so far as I know … has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”
When it comes to politicians Mencken was equally harsh. “For if experience teaches us anything at all it teaches us this: that a good politician, under democracy, is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.”
He placed no faith in the common man, often referring to politics and the common man this way; “Here the buffoonery never stops.”
And so now on center stage is a man who lost the popular vote and is viewed by a majority of voters as a vile caricature of the American dream.
He has exhibited narcissistic, misogynistic and misanthropic tendencies. He has shown anti-Semitic and some would say truly anti-American traits.
Liberals are fearful of the demise of the Republic and some of the President-elect’s supporters are hoping that while he made his moves shooting from the hip, he’ll be more “adult-like,” once he gets in office.
“He’s not that vile. He’s not that crude. He didn’t mean that.”
Further, though President-elect Donald Trump said ahead of time the election was rigged, no one is screaming that today.
The alt-right has become the center. The conspiracy theory is reality.
Will President-elect Trump actually try to throw Hillary Clinton in jail? His supporters want him to do so.
Will President-elect Trump round up illegal immigrants, build a wall and force out refugees? His campaign stump speech promised as much.
Mencken would have great fun with this election, of that there is little doubt. A man who described the American political scene as being elevated to the “plane of undiluted comedy,” would probably be a guest on Saturday Night Live today.
While there are those are afraid for the future of the Republic and have threatened to leave, such talk is nothing but more idle buffoonery which reinforces the sentiment that the more things change then the more they stay the same.
President-Elect Donald Trump is not an aberration of the American political process – he is the epitome of it.
If you don’t like that then look yourself in the mirror.
Instead of despair you should be determined.
Look at Montgomery County. Robin Ficker fought against the tide for years to get term limits on county council members and the county executive.
He was routinely laughed at, derided and dismissed by the establishment. Yet he never gave up. He, in fact, finally won. So, if you are put off by the rudeness, the misogyny, the racism and the hatred, then you have a choice. You can cry about it, or you can get off your butt and fight like Ficker did.
Just try to remain civil – please.