In Praise Of A Free and Honest Press…

I’m listening to a Rachel Maddow podcast, as I now do every morning. Now I sort of follow it up with a Morning Joe podcast, and/or a CBS This Morning podcast. If I’m going to be in my car all the time, I might as well learn something and do it without commercials.

You may have noticed that the first two of those are “left-leaning” news, though Morning Joe has a wide variety of pundits, some of whom just irk me. CBS This Morning is “just a newscast”. That, to me, is as balanced as I want to get. Maddow pretty much reads to me the parts of the Washington Post and NY Times that I’m interested in, so there’s that as well. As I think about it, I also like John Oliver’s work (yes, it’s comedy) because it’s in depth. I seem to remember that NBC News when I was growing up had an hour-long newscast at night and Walter Cronkite on CBS was trustworthy, so maybe those are the biases I bring: long and trustworthy are what I’m looking for.

There are those who think of Maddow as that “way left-leaning lesbian”. There are those who do not like her style. People close to me sometimes fall into that camp and that’s fine. But here’s why I like her. She is detailed, and determined to be right in her facts (sometimes overly so, to me). But here’s the deal: she lets other people talk and acknowledges when she’s wrong. It’s not at all unusual to hear her say, “This is what I understand from your reporting”, only to have a reporter say “No, that’s not quite it” or “don’t misunderstand me”.  Yes, she may have things that interest her, and a bias to bring to the news, but she brings, in the end, facts, as a journalist should.

John Oliver, even as a comedian, spends more time on deep reporting and subjects no one else is talking about — with jokes thrown in– than most others.There isn’t a soundbite capable of that kind of depth and nuance.

Morning Joe and Mika, etc. are doing new reporting, but have finally cracked and are trying to figure out the “best way to handle”  an abusive President. There is no best way to handle this President, because there is no best way to handle an abuser. Understanding the abuser while you’re being abused is the asking the wrong question. There is no question which needs to be answered. There is only “Stop it!”. There is truth and there is “Stop it!”. Then we can get to why.

My first point in all of this is this: Memes won’t do. Sound-bites won’t do. Visuals won’t do. I like the Huffington Post, but I don’t read much anymore there because I have to put up with what I ought to believe. I don’t care what I ought to think, according to someone else. I want to know what’s true, even if I dislike it. To that extent, even FOX news might qualify. To the extent that they lie, and/or tell me what I ought to believe, I can’t listen. The church and Jesus are in charge of what I ought to believe and do. I need facts to know what I’m acting on or not.

My second point is this: We would be soooo much worse off in these times, without a free and honest press. We would know nothing about Russia, nothing about the President, nothing about civics and the Congress would tell us nothing if it weren’t for our press. In fact, even if Congress were to tell us the truth about Russia, most of us, including myself, wouldn’t believe it because it seems too far-fetched to believe. I like Maxine Waters or Lisa McCluskey or Elijah Cummings — people who’s tolerance for BS and immorality is notably low.  If something stinks, they say it.  People like that should be elected more often.  Citizens with a low tolerance for BS ought to do the voting. When that happens, I will believe in this government again.

Until I can, we need a free (non-corporate owned) and honest press. I didn’t like Clinton’s emails coming out, because I didn’t like Clinton’s emails. She may have deflected, or acted like a politician, but she never denied that they were hers.  The bad news there? I didn’t want to vote for her. The good news there? Because I believed Trump was worse, I voted for her. The facts were the facts. Reality was reality. I could make a decision based on what I knew.

There is no point in watching the White House Press Corp briefings, because the truth is not taken seriously by this administration. Being upset that they lie, or don’t care, or don’t know if they lie, is ridiculous. If their lips are moving, they could be lying. They are loyal to a man who lies. They are loyal to the lies themselves. I expect nothing less.

So that leaves the press, rather than the government, to tell me the truth, so I can know what to do.  Long live the free and honest press… long live freedom to decide and a truth to decide about.

Resisting with Peace,

John

 

 

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