Posts Tagged ‘press’

TV is Still Politically Powerful

May 19, 2017

IT  STILL  DOMINATES THE NEWS MEDIA SCENE

If anyone truly understood the political power of TV it was the late Roger Ailes, the creator of FOX News, who, according to news report, died because he fell and hit his head in the bathroom of his Palm Beach, Florida home.  He played a major role in helping Republican presidential candidates from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump get elected by advising them on how to  use TV.

President Trump certainly seemed to  understand Ailes’ “orchestra pit theory.” It enabled him to get tons of free TV news time, especially during the Republican primary fights. TV fell for the ploy hook, line, and sinker. Many, including me, believe this is the main reason he won the nomination. The “pit” theory, I read in Wikipedia, is explained in this Ailes quote:

“If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, ‘I have a solution to the Middle East problem,’ and the other guy falls into the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?”

During Nixon’s time, TV was, no doubt where, to a large degree, elections were lost or won. It was and still is where most people get their news. At least, that’s what a Pew poll tells us that was the case in 2016..  However, that is changing.

The poll shows that 57 percent of US adults get their news from TV, cable, network, and local; 38 percent from social media, websites/apps; 25 percent from radio, and 20 percent from print newspapers.

However,  the trend appears headed online.  50 percent of people ages 18 – 29 get their news online, 27 percent of them get it on TV, 14 percent on radio and 5 percent print newspapers.

49 percent of 30 through 49 years old get their news online, 45 percent  on TV, 27 percent  on radio, and 10 percent from print newspapers.

Seniors still depend on TV heavily, 72 percent ages 50 – 64, and 85 percent ages 64 plus. The  age 64 plus crowd give print newspapers their highest percentage, 48 percent.

Where I get my news? From TV, online, radio, and magazines.  What about newspapers? Definitely. Big time.  But, not print editions, unless you count the Ledger-Enquirer online copy of the print edition as a print edition. I read both the e-edition and the website edition. I also occasionally sample newspaper websites from Washington D.C, Atlanta, New York,  Israel, U.K., Russia, France, China, and other countries. It’s amazing what’s out there for us to read now.

 

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“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.