America doesn’t need a weak press corps; America needs a stronger one.
Sixth Amendment Clause:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to be confronted with the witnesses against him.
To this protection, few would argue the President is wrong when he tries to apply the same principle to his MSM adversaries. I further agree, at every possible opportunity, the press should name their source and resist reliance solely on its assertions; it should be the rule, not the exception.
However, if dishonored ex-President “Tricky Dick” Nixon had succeeded in “downgrading the credibility of the press” as President Donald Trump has managed to do, the Washington Post’s investigation connecting Nixon to the Watergate burglary and subsequent cover-up would have been labeled “fake news” and flipped off by mainstream America, to be blunt.
Nixon had a deep-rooted distrust of the news media. He believed it was because of them he lost his first presidential bid to young upstart John F. Kennedy in 1960. The man famous for the phrase, “I’m not a crook” did his fair share of discrediting the press, but in the end, it wasn’t the press that convicted him, it was his hubris, paranoia, and vindictiveness.
The “Fox News Sunday” anchor, Chris Wallace, made the rounds to various FNC opinionators’ desks the past couple of days because he, like Shepard Smith, have expressed criticism (Egads! Not criticism!) toward Trump’s hate-the-media presser (my words, not his). At the 8 o’clock hour Wallace and O’Reilly sparred. Wallace won this round with a Leroy Jethro Gibbs smack to the back of the head.
“We didn’t have all this talk about, is this administration in trouble, because of the media. It was because of facts. It’s because Mike Flynn lied to the Vice President of the United States; its because his Labor Secretary [Andrew Puzder] had not two, not three, but five strikes agains him; because the Executive order was a mess.”
“In the end he’s [Trump] going to rise or fall on the merits of what he accomplishes, not on whether he gets good or bad press.”
Bill O’Reilly, though, unabashedly declares Trump, the winner.
“He has succeeded now in down-grading the press so much that no matter what they say 50% of the country isn’t going to believe them.”
“He did it. He downgraded the credibility of the national media so now even if they say something true most people aren’t going to believe it.”
“And that’s an advantage to him.”
The Fox News host isn’t disturbed by what he says here, he’s pleased; as are Trump’s fans, I have no doubt. They are misled.
The press goes to places we can’t when we can’t. While we’re attending to life stuff like sleeping and working and playing, we assume there is an at-the-scene reporter who will tell us what there is to know. From the dawn of time “what there is to know” has always been and will forever be, subjective. As long as you’re liberal and I’m conservative, a bias will influence our judgments. It just will even for the most prudent journalist. Ignoring the bias isn’t a solution. In whatever way is comfortable, it is our duty as conservatives to work to change that narrative.
The press exists, in my mind, not for their right to speak freely, but for our right to be informed. Denigrating the press may well benefit Trump, but history has proven trading free speech for the benefit of one doesn’t feel like an advantage for the rest of us.
In the end, the press has a job to do.
Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity.
The Society declares these four principles as the foundation of ethical journalism and encourages their use in its practice by all people in all media.
I. Seek Truth and Report It
Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
II. Minimize Harm
Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect.
III. Act Independently
The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public.
IV. Be Accountable and Transparent
Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public.
Meanwhile, our President has one function: to lead not be led. At the moment, our President is controlled by the very thing he hates. Just do your job Mr. President and let the press do theirs.
“Those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.” – Richard Nixon
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