ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

As I See It: Enemy of whom?

Much has been made of President Trump's recent comments about fake news and the media being the enemy of the people. As usual, far too many people in the media and other organizations chose to take this the wrong way instead of looking at how and...

Much has been made of President Trump's recent comments about fake news and the media being the enemy of the people.

As usual, far too many people in the media and other organizations chose to take this the wrong way instead of looking at how and when it could be true. Sadly, I believe it's been true for quite a while, and it's more pervasive than we believe or will admit.

Just about every newspaper has an opinion section. The content usually includes editorials, columns and letters that are specifically written to complain or persuade the readers about items or events the author believes are important. Just like this missive, the pieces contain the author's interpretation of items or events, and hopefully they have taken facts as the basis for their view of things.

But in the news sections we should expect to read articles about the who, what, when, where, how and why of events. Seems simple and straightforward enough, but this is where the bias of reporters and reporting ranges from blatantly apparent to very well camouflaged.

If you are familiar with sin, you should know there are sins of commission and omission. If what you do is morally wrong or you should have done something but failed to do it, that's likely a sin. If someone only reports one side of a story or fails to include pertinent details that provide context or clarification in a story, who suffers? Actually, we all do. If a reader makes a conclusion based on lies or misleading reporting, shouldn't the reporter or publisher bear most of the responsibility?

ADVERTISEMENT

Despite the Pontius Pilate act that every major media outlet tries to play, they are biased - some mildly and some blatantly. Too often, they favor liberal progressive issues, candidates, judges and whatever else falls in there.

For the past decade or so, you can't avoid initially thinking that every Catholic priest is a predator. Not in defense of priests, but in the spirit of truth, do you know what five categories are the worst abusers? They are, in order: fathers, teachers, sports coaches, Boy Scout leaders and priests. Some other religious denominations are much worse than Catholics, and none is free of this problem.

Is some focus on church justified? Yes, but what about the media not highlighting the actual magnitude of the entire problem? I guess that's just not as exciting, or who knows?

The English language is one of the richest in the world with a vocabulary that makes using words to say exactly what you mean fairly easy - especially if you know the words and definitions. The media knows how to use words better than most and are experts at damning people with faint praise.

If they were required to quote full sentences or paragraphs instead of the snippet or sound bite, it would certainly cut down on their ability to make anyone they choose look like an idiot, criminal or misinformed. On radio, voice inflection or accents can convey an, "I'm saying this but I don't believe it," attitude. Add the body language component on TV, and you can do even more damage.

Neither President Trump nor Secretary Clinton is that photogenic. I thought the use of many unflattering photos of both of them by the parties, media and action committee ads was tasteless. Unfortunately social media - which is almost beyond control - is the worst purveyor of this trash. Too often, legitimate debate and truthful reporting is shoved into the background when a nasty picture or film can be used to discredit an individual or group.

Why is it that one negative (often misleading, untrue or totally fabricated) story gets repeated virtually verbatim by every other media outlet without anyone checking the facts? And then when the mistake is identified, apologies are lukewarm at best or nonexistent because there's already another juicy tidbit that can be used to further discredit or destroy something or someone.

The success of a democracy relies on an informed electorate. I don't quite understand why those who should be informing us with the whole truth choose to hide it, change it, disguise it or flat ignore it.

ADVERTISEMENT

The enemy of the people label is accurate as far as I can tell.

Well, that's the way I see it.

Related Topics: AS I SEE IT
What To Read Next
Exclusive
Local journalism is a privilege and should be promoted