Steve Martaindale

Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series

92. Bless the press

Free press not the enemy

It is 92 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

Here’s another reason you need to register to vote and then cast your ballot for liberal candidates: By doing so, you may help save Americans from succumbing to Trump’s gaslighting. In fact, you might save yourself.

A minister friend of mine shared on his Facebook page recently a meme that’s been going around, probably in multiple forms. The one he posted is shown to the right: “Raise your hand if you do not consider the free press to be an enemy of the people.”

My friend added the comment, “Only autocrats and dictators fear and attack a free press.”

A friend of his was not shy about showing his dedication to the up-and-coming autocrat / dictator, saying all the mainstream media but Fox News are mouthpieces of the Democratic Party and that they have abandoned the tenets of balanced reporting.

Here’s a little crash course in BS detecting, an art I honed during my years as a small-stream journalist.

If someone is screaming, for example, that all but one news organization is crooked and dishonest and spreading fake news … you can bet the farm that person has had the proverbial wool pulled over his or her eyes. Or, as is the case of our president, is attempting to pull wool over your eyes.

News outlets compete, but those of quality do so within a framework of basic honesty and fairness. In other words, as far as readership or viewership, there’s nothing for one to gain if it’s reporting the same news as others.

Therefore, if the news services, the major papers, and the major networks are all saying that Donald Trump lied, that he exhibited racist tendencies, that he is making decisions contrary to all his advisors … if all the major news outlets (except Fox, of course) are saying that … then that’s what’s really happening. Believe me, the Democratic Party does not have the power to make that happen.

Which brings up another trait of journalists: They detest being told what to write.

Several years ago, I was covering a small city’s council meeting. It concerned a hot topic I no longer recall, but the meeting was packed. At one point, one of the council members said something and, jokingly, turned to me and said, “Don’t print that, Steve.”

As I approached him after the meeting, he held up his hands and said something like, “I know, I know, I shouldn’t have said that.”

No, there is no way the Democratic Party is dictating news coverage to the nation’s top journalists.

There is no way all the top news agencies are conspiring against a president of the United States. That’s where the “free” part of “free press” comes into play, the First Amendment gives them the freedom they need to be honest in the faces of autocrats and dictators.

The answer: Donald Trump really is a bad person and not one who should be leading a country.

Period.

Now, make sure you’re registered to vote, find out when early voting begins in your state … and do it.

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