Posts Tagged ‘press’

“The Greatest Threat to Democracy”

February 26, 2017

“The fake news media is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people.”

— Donald Trump, President of the United States of America.

“The first thing dictators do is shut down the press.”

— Sen. John McCain, R -Ariz.

“We must challenge this statement that the news media is the enemy of the American People. This sentiment may be the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.”

— William H. McRaven, retired four-star admiral and Navy Seal, Commander of the bin Laden raid.

Truly news that really is “fake”is an enemy of a democratic republic,  but to apply that label to mainstream news organizations like CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post just because they ask tough questions is absurd. Without a free press a country cannot be free.

That is not to say that mainstream news organizations or any news reporters are above being criticized.  It also doesn’t mean I agree with the practices of some of them. However, to try to shut them down because they hold a presidential administration accountable and fact check what its representatives say, or oppose them editorially, in my view, is an unacceptable threat to democracy.

To me the most important amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the first one:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or of abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of  the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. 

(The Trump quote was contained in a Tweet. The McCain quote is from an NBC Meet the Press interview, and the McRaven quote is from The Daily Texan.)

Watchdogging is a News Media Responsibility

November 18, 2010
It was good, in my opinion, to see that Georgia’s largest newspaper still considers it is responsible to serve the public as a watchdog.

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Dan Chapman broke the story Sunday about Governor Sonny Perdue’s meeting with state employees in the Georgia Ports Authority about his trucking and grain companies seeking business with ports.  And yesterday,  according to AJC, Rome, Georgia ethics watchdog George Anderson asked Georgia’s attorney general and inspector general to investigate  Governor Sonny Perdue for allegedly violating the public trust by meeting with state employees to boost his trucking and grain businesses. 

The paper’s Sunday story reported that Governor Perdue met in the Georgia Ports Authority in Savannah “with a half-dozen state employees” with the purpose of the meeting to discuss how the Ports Authority could help grow the governor’s private businesses.

Responding to Anderson’s call for an investigation,  AJC reports that Perdue spokesman Bert Brantley said, “This is yet another frivolous complaint filed by Mr. Anderson, solely based on a news story that was full of speculation and innuendo, not facts.”  Previously he had stated that Governor Perdue and his associates were simply obtaining information available to any Georgian for his businesses in which the governor will become active after he finishes his second term.

No matter how this turns out, the positive note to me is that the Atlanta  Journal-Constitution is doing its Fourth Estate duty by serving as a public watchdog.  Somebody has to keep an eye on what politicians are up to. After all, their actions have direct effects on our lives because they get to make the rules, rules that they sometimes break themselves.  They may tell us during their campaigns that they are looking out for our interests, but it turns out that is not always the case, that they are sometimes primarily looking out after their interests.  

Let’s hope AJC keeps up the good work and that other news media follow their example.  It’s their public duty, in my view.