Friday, May 27, 2016

When the watchdog becomes a pussycat

Journalism isn’t what it used to be. Some will argue the press has always been rife with a one-sided approach to the news. It’s hard to argue against the contention.

I was taught as a journalism student we are the watch dogs of government.  We are to remain outside the lure of the powerful. We are to escape the temptation of allowing our personal agendas to rise to the surface in a way that questions the integrity of what we report.

Over the years, I’ve been driven to protect John Stuart Mills views related to the “market place of ideas”. In “On Liberty”, Mills challenged people to think about protecting the rights of others to speak as a way to enhance the way we all think. His views are reflected in our nation’s Constitution. We all have the freedom to speak. The press is free to use that speech to protect democracy.

It all works to advance the will of every citizen. Of course, anyone who has studied history knows the Constitution was designed to protect the rights of white men.

I became a journalist because I believe in the truth. I know there are different version of the truth based on how culture and context mold the interpretation. When writing for the Durham Herald-Sun, the paper gave me the tag “Kenney, the voice of many” as a way to emphasize my propensity to piss everyone off at some point along the way.

It was, and is, my passion for the truth that keeps me off the invite list of those enamored with political games. Put another way, I’m not looking for friends. I want to expose the truth.

This has become my problem with the press. I tend to write columns that display the stories others have failed to address. I’m acutely aware of the bias that often shows up. It’s there due to the minimal voices of people who look and think like me. The media has a way of discounting the angles of those committed to the other side of the marketplace of ideas.

Which leads me to my frustration. Again, journalism ain’t what it used to be. Excuse the bad grammar, but I have to say it like the folks on the other side of the street.

The press isn’t acting like a watch dog. They taking on the behavior of a pussycat.

The truth has long been lost due to the work of people like Hanna Giles, James O’Keefe, Peter Schweizer and David Daleiden. These are yellow journalist who thrive on the stupidity of American readers. They hide behind the façade of journalism to create stories aimed at destroying the reputations of politicians and organizations.

Their victims include Planned Parenthood, the Association of Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN) and Hilary Clinton. These folks don’t quit. They have a mission and that mission is to undermine the advances of the liberal agenda.

Who can forget the video released of ACORN employee’s helping a client engage in underage sex trade and prostitution. James O’Keefe released the video to Fox News in 2009. It happened after ACORN successfully registered more than 100,000 voters and attacked predatory lending. The organization folded after losing their federal funding.

It was later determined the video was heavily edited. The exchange between the client and the ACORN employee was staged for the camera. The organization committed no wrong doing. People lost their jobs and an organization doing great work was forced to disband.

This is the new age of journalism.

A similar strategy was used to destabilize Planned Parenthood. David Daleiden claimed the organization profited from fetal tissue. Again, no wrongdoing was committed. It was later determined the video used as evidence was heavily edited.

By then, the damage was done.

Falsehoods and half-truths are used to mold public opinion. The most popular target is Hilary Clinton. Although Clinton has no halo to signify perfection, most of what the public believes is based on deceptive reporting. Peter Schweizer’s book “Clinton Cash” is dedicated to destroying the potential Democratic Party nominee.

The book is crammed with falsehoods and half-truths. Schweizer alleges Clinton used her power to benefit financial donors. The need for reform within the Clinton foundation was used to fuel the opinion now prevalent among many Americans. Although Schweizer admits a lack of evidence to support his claims regarding Clinton, the opinions are part of Clintons’ shameful legacy.

The media has failed to debunk these claims. The lies and half-truths show up in debates and during campaign rallies. All it takes is time to investigate the validity of these accusations. The media has forgotten their role as the watch dog of government. We are obligated to hold people accountable for disseminating information proven wrong after a simple fact-check. 

The same lies and half-truth are recycled like Seinfeld reruns. The “circular reporting” of these lies and half-truths, in time, become the fabric of public opinion.

I’m enraged by this due to the source of most of the reporting. It’s coming from the conservative machinery consumed with destroying the progressive political agenda. Some of it comes from the Koch Brothers. Most of it is coming from companies funded by conservatives.

In America, it doesn’t have to be real because the watch dog has become a pussy.

So, to all my progressive minded friends who promote the anti-Clinton agenda, dig deeper before promoting the views of the conservative fake press. Tell the truth when the facts warrant the criticism. Say what needs to be said when everything checks out as legitimate news.

But, as one committed to the truth, there’s a load of manure packed in the middle of what you think is truth.

Like they said in Dragnet (an old TV show), just the facts ma’am.

You may now return to your lie infested programing.

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