The Washington Post bravely published these documents under the guise that the American people “Had a right to know” if their government had been lying about the Vietnam War. The Post willingly challenged the Washington Beltway Establishment and began “Objective Investigative Reporting” in an effort to seek the “truth”.
Back then the Press were not shills for a political party nor were they abject propagandists for a given philosophy. The provided no cover for favored politicians. They took pride in their occupation as journalists. They sought the truth even if the results should run counter to their own belief system. That is journalism!
Fast forward to today. The Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee have released a memo, cleared by the FBI though not supported by the FBI. The document suggests that high-level persons occupying positions in the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations became highly politicized, abused their positions, and politically weaponized their agencies to interfere with the election of an American President and to seek to undermine his administration after the election.
Trump week: Khashoggi, Putin, West wing spat, Stormy and the mob--They’re b-a-c-k, the Russians that is, messing around with the midterms, practicing for the big show in 2020.
This is “Big Stuff”!!!!!
Whether you agree with the contents of the memo or no-- is no of material value to true journalists. If there is evidence of an attack on the American Constitution as well as a threat to the freedom and privacy of every American it must be investigated. To use tainted, politically paid for information gathered through a foreign government that lacks veracity to misinform a FISA court in order to open surveillance on an opposition candidate and later elected official is criminal!
When the Democratic response is released, it too deserves to be fully vetted and reviewed.
The media, no matter, its political leanings, has a duty to demand the truth. Did this happen? If so, who was involved? This memo deserves the same level of attention the Pentagon Papers and Watergate garnered in the 1970s. It may be that important. Journalists should not be taking sides but seeking the truth objectively. Are the contents of the memo even partially true? If so, then this is a major story that demands coverage.
Instead, with the exception of very few news outlets, the mainstream media have become the mouthpiece of the very government institutions it, by tradition, has sought to question and monitor. They have betrayed of their sacred duty. They have allowed their personal hatred for President Trump to poison their profession.
The consequence:, A considerable percentage of the American people no longer believe them.
According to a recent Gallup poll, only 28% of Americans believe the press is serving the public well while 43% rate them “very poorly.” To quote: “These findings align with the downward trend in America’s trust in the media over the past few decades mostly because of increasing perceptions of bias in the news reporting.”
This serves to compound our American Crisis. We have a situation where sufficient evidence exists indicating that high crimes were committed against American citizens for political gains by people occupying very powerful positions who purpose is to influence an election and the press doesn’t care. They choose to see “no there, there”.
As for the young “Bernie” generation …consider this. Read Donna Brazile’s book “Hacked” and learn what underhanded things the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton Campaign did to Bernie Sanders. Then consider how Bernie promised a “...revolution to the convention” only to meet with President Obama and come out of that meeting a broken man. His wife is now under federal investigation. Hmmmm. Makes one wonder doesn’t it.
The American press is too important an institution, especially in these times fraught with dangers of uncertain magnitude on so many levels, to be compromised. The public needs to have a trusted source when seeking to learn the truth.
The media complains about the dissemination of “fake news” through the internet. Meanwhile, they themselves are guilty of misrepresenting the truth, or at a minimum, not even bothering to discover the truth. With nowhere else to turn, people are resorting to dangerous alternatives.
The Fourth Estate, the press, is enshrined in the American Constitution for a reason. Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and the Anti-Federalists demanded the addition of a Bill of Rights to protect the rights of citizens and states from federal abuse. The First Amendment to the Bill of Rights protects the Press because our Founding Fathers KNEW how important an informed public was for maintaining democracy.
Where are the editors? Are they any adults in the pressroom? Likely not. National correspondent for the Times Matt Pearce: “We’re screaming for some adult supervision.” In a second article, the Washington Post reports that problems exist in the newsroom of papers owned by Tronc (the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, and the New York Daily News). Not the least of these is the prevailing philosophy of the editor: “Speed is the new accuracy!”
So, what matters today is getting the story in print first with no concern about face based accuracy? Is that what journalism has reduced itself to… tabloid reporting?
The press is failing to perform its job. They are not being destroyed from without, they are rotting from within. But too smug to admit it, they continue on this self-destructive path.
The Pentagon Papers and Watergate news stories were broken by a hard-working class of open-minded journalists who respected their craft and covered the stories objectively. Accuracy in reporting was the currency. They sought the truth. That cannot be said for the present collection of celebrities who have taken their place… and this harms us all.
Get back to work and do your job or go away!!!!!
PS: As for the memo. Perhaps Americans should remember Senator Chuck Schumer’s warning to newly elected President Trump about the “Deep State” : “Let me tell you: you take on the intelligence community---they have six days from Sunday at getting back at you!”
- (January3, 2018 Washington Examiner)
Ron Chapman is an award wnning columnist who lives in Chalmette, Louisiana. He isa professor and Nunez Community College teaching history and he is also a businessman.