Category Archives: media news

Social media get him again

Donald J. “Racist in Chief” Trump managed to step into a pile of dog doo yet again, tried to yank it out of the stinking pile, but it was too late … I venture to say.

Trump thought it would be clever to retweet a video of a supporter of his yelling “white power!”

Then he pulled it down. Deleted it as if it never happened.

As the saying goes, oops. I am not the first one to tell Trump this, but it happened. It’s out there. That makes social media as much of a curse as it is a blessing. You cannot unhonk the ol’ horn, Mr. POTUS.

Trump and his Trumpkin Corps say he didn’t see the video. He doesn’t know the guy. If it’s true that he didn’t see it, then how does it go out on his Twitter feed where it is seen by his millions of followers?

I ain’t buying it.

Blog streak goes on and on

I feel like bragging for just a moment about this blog I write.

High Plains Blogger has posted musings for the past 357 days. That’s at least one per day for nearly a year.

Why is that worthy of a bit of braggadocio? I guess it’s just because I feel like bragging about it.

The blog once surpassed a year in the number of consecutive days in which a blog item had been posted. Then technical difficulties got in the way. I had to go a full day without posting a blog item while the hosting outfit I hired worked through the problem. They fixed it in short order and so I started a new streak.

I hear occasionally from friends of mine who say they “marvel” at the volume of items I post. Well, that comes from friends. My adversaries don’t offer that kind of comment. That’s OK. I get it.

I am blessed — or cursed, depending on how you might consider it — with an abundance of time. Retirement allows me to vent, to rant, to pontificate, to offer a perspective on this or that. And so … I do.

I am not into writing daily just to keep streaks alive. I have quite a bit to say on a number of topics. The president of the United States, quite clearly, occupies much of my time these days. I’ll stay on his a** for as long as it takes.

Meanwhile the streak goes on.

Has this medium gotten too ‘negative’? Perhaps, but I’m staying with it

A Facebook acquaintance announced the other day he is taking a break from the social medium.

It’s gotten too negative he says. He is tired of the negativity, so he’s bowing out. Maybe he’ll come back. I know this fellow a bit, although not well. We have a friendly relationship, so I’ll miss his occasional postings.

Am I going to follow suit? Hah! Not even …

I use Facebook — along with other social media — as a vehicle to peddle my blog, which I call High Plains Blogger. I write my blog posts, then send them out along my Facebook network of “friends” and actual friends. Yeah, a lot of my blog posts are political in nature. Yes, too, they contain “negative” content; that’s the nature of politics.

However, I choose to avoid getting too worked up in exchanges with those who disagree with my political musings. I express my thoughts and those musings stand as my comment. If someone wants to disagree with them, that is their call. It is my call as well to let them have their say, given that I already have had my say on issues of the day.

I have been tempted at times to bow out, to step away from Facebook. I enjoy the platform on a personal level as well. I am able to stay current with people I have met along my life’s journey. Some of my several hundred Facebook network members are actual friends. A few of them are really dear friends, folks I have known for a long time or individuals with whom I have forged unique relationships.

There are a number of these individuals who disagree with my political leaning. They express their disagreements on Facebook. Fine. Go for it. I let ’em vent and generally stay silent. What might spur a response would be if they question (a) my faith or (b) my love of country. Neither line of commentary will not stand.

I am going to stay with it. I respect my Facebook acquaintance’s decision to step away. It’s just not for me.

Maine’s largest newspaper dumps all over POTUS visit

The Portland Press-Herald, the largest newspaper in Maine, offered a tart response to Donald J. Trump’s planned visit to the state.

“We’re sorry that you decided to come to Maine, but since you are here, could you do us a favor? Resign,” the paper said in an editorial published today.

There you have it, Mr. POTUS. The editors of the Press-Herald don’t want you to enter the state. They are fed up with your mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic and with your fomenting of division and mistrust in the wake of George Floyd’s death on a Minneapolis street more than a week ago.

“You have never been a good president, but today your shortcomings are unleashing historic levels of suffering on the American people,” the editorial said.

I could not possibly agree more with what the Press-Herald has opined. It’s their call … and I am proud of them for making it.

You can read the full editorial here.

This must be said, too. Trump won’t heed the paper’s call. He will show up and will boast and bellow about all he has done to “make America great again.” He will continue to lie. Trump will ignore reality even as it gnaws at his hopes for re-election.

As the Press-Herald noted: America needs to heal again. Please resign now, and let us begin.

Wounded by maximum division in Age of Trump

I want to declare myself a casualty in the ongoing “war” between friends who share opposing views of Donald John Trump.

A fellow I have known for more than 30 years has inflicted the wound. It’s not mortal. I will survive and I will proceed with the rest of my life. However, I want to share with you the pain — albeit momentary — I am feeling over the emotional injury I have suffered.

We were connected on Facebook. My longtime friend and I would “converse” on occasion via that social medium. He and I would exchange in small talk, inquire our families and refer occasionally to the good old days when we worked together.

He is a Donald Trump supporter. I … am not! He would challenge my anti-Trump tirades. I might respond. Not always, mind you, but I did on occasion.

My friend — and I’ll continue to refer to him as such — once told me that his wife couldn’t grasp how he and I could retain a friendship given our vast political differences. He said he told her that our friendship transcended politics. Wow! How cool. Right?

Well, it seems that he has had enough of our friendship. I hadn’t heard from him in some time, so I checked on the status of our Facebook relationship. I discovered that he and I were no longer “friends” on the social medium.

What the … ?

I haven’t inquired directly of him. I haven’t asked him why he “unfriended” me. I haven’t asked for an explanation. I am trying to decide what to do. Right now I am licking my wound.

I am left to ponder the effect that Donald Trump has had on friendships all over the country. Surely my example is not the only one. Others’ relationships no doubt have suffered in this Age of Trump. We are witnessing in this fractious time the impact that social media coupled with the toxic political environment fostered by Donald Trump is having on interpersonal relationships.

It looks unprecedented to my eyes. My entry into politics occurred in the early 1970s. I came home from the Army. I enrolled in college. I became politically active. I fought like hell to elect George McGovern president in 1972. It, um, didn’t work out. However, those dark days didn’t produce lasting damage to my friendships with those who opposed Sen. McGovern’s effort to become elected president.

This time it’s different. Shockingly so!

I’ll get over the injury I have suffered. Eventually. I’ll just need to redouble my effort to make sure we remove Donald Trump from the high office he never should have inherited in the first place. His presence on the political stage is dangerous to our emotional health.

He also is inflicting damage on too many friendships.

Fact-checking doesn’t suppress political speech

Donald John “Liar in Chief” Trump has issued an executive order that seeks to strike back at social media outlets that seek to do the responsible thing.

They want to fact-check the idiocy — the lying idiocy at that — that pours forth from Trump’s Twitter account.

Trump thinks he is being stifled, stymied, censored. Twitter has announced it intends to issue fact-check warnings on Trump’s messages, given that he, um, is prone to lie through his teeth.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, said today that social media shouldn’t apply fact checking on political speech. I disagree with the young zillionaire. Fact checking does not stifle political speech. It doesn’t water down the First Amendment that guarantees free speech.

Now that I have mentioned the First Amendment, I need to remind everyone what it says. It declares that Congress shall make no law that inhibits free speech, freedom of religion and freedom to protest the government. It does not mean that someone can spew lies without them being challenged.

Therefore, Twitter is doing what it deems necessary to warn readers of Trump’s tweets that they are not getting the truth from the president of the United States.

Trump is fighting back. He shouldn’t win this fight.

Yes, Donald Trump has 80 million Twitter followers. I am one of them! I get a laugh out of reading his messages, which he says are an attempt for him to avoid the “media middle man.” He wants to talk directly to Americans using Twitter.

I get that. I have no problem with that noble goal.

Except that Trump debases it by lying, with his bullying, by using Twitter to defame others and to spread debunked rumors.

The cure for Twitter taking the watchdog approach is straightforward and oh, so simple: Quit your damn lying!

Worried about future of journalism in a city I love

My concern about the future of newspaper journalism in a city my wife and I once called “home” is building. I am unsure of how or where this concern will end up. Suffice to say I cannot shake this feeling of doom for the future of the Amarillo Globe-News.

I do not read the daily print newspaper. I no longer reside in Amarillo. I do try to read the “paper” online, but I need to subscribe to it. I decline to do so. Why? There’s not enough news about the Texas Panhandle to interest me.

The Globe-News is now owned by Gannett Corp., the company that merged with GateHouse Media; GateHouse assumed control of Gannett, but kept the Gannett name. Gannett is known throughout the newspaper industry as a cost-cutting juggernaut. It seeks to “save its way to prosperity.” From what I have seen for many years now, through three corporate ownerships, the Globe-News has been slashed, decimated and reduced to a newsgathering organization that is just a mere shadow of what is used to be.

The most troubling thing I see in the online edition is a heavy reliance on news from down south, in Lubbock, where Gannett also operates a newspaper.

My point is this: I see a lot of news relating to Texas Tech University on the front page of the Globe-News’ online edition. Texas Tech is a fine school, but it is headquartered in Lubbock. It has a decent presence in Amarillo, but its influence there remains somewhat muted.

Conversely, when I look at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s online edition, I never see news covering Amarillo or the Texas Panhandle. Do you get my drift? If not, it is merely that the influence flows only in one direction, from Lubbock to Amarillo.

I am left to wonder whether there will even be an Amarillo Globe-News in the future. The newspaper used to employ dozens of reporters, line editors and photographers. It now employs a single sports writer, two general-assignment reporters, a regional executive editor and a regional director of commentary.

That … is … it!

The grumbling I hear from my many friends in Amarillo all say the same thing. The newspaper doesn’t report the news.

It saddens me terribly.

I want desperately to be wrong about the future of print journalism in the Texas Panhandle.

Campaigning via Twitter? Sweet!

We are witnessing the birth of a new style of presidential campaigning. OK, it’s not entirely a brand new thing, but it’s taking on a life of its own.

The world is being treated to a presidential campaign conducted via Twitter. The antagonists? Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

For those of us who came of political age in an earlier — and decidely more quaint — era, this is a strange evolution to watch. However, I am learning to get used to it.

Donald Trump has perfected the Twitter gambit. It has become something of an art form with this guy. He has an 80-million follower crowd, many of whom hang on his every word. I admit to following Trump on this medium, but it’s primarily a way to keep this guy in front of me at all times. Better to keep the bad guys visible than to have them lurking unseen or unheard in the shadows.

He blathers, bellows and bloviates via Twitter constantly. He most recently has taken to the medium to fire back at criticism of his golf outings in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. He accuses Biden of having a poor work ethic while serving as vice president in the Barack Obama administration.

Biden has fired back. He said, also via Twitter, that Trump should concentrate on the pandemic rather than firing off tweets aboard his golf cart.

So it will go until the end of this presidential campaign … and likely far into the future of presidential campaigns. It’s a new age.

Go to church? Sure … but only if it’s safe!

Kaylee McEnany is new in her job as White House press flack but she’s got the Donald John Trump media-baiting rap down pat.

During a press briefing today, she chided reporters who she said were looking for reasons to talk Americans out of going to church in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

McEnany got some immediate push back from a reporter who objected out loud to her crass retort. “I go to church,” the reporter shouted back at her, telling her he wants to know why Donald Trump is insisting Americans flock to houses of worship even though the COVID-19 infection rates in many states is still climbing.

McEnany earned her media-bashing spurs, I suppose, from her time on Fox News. But whatever. I’ll move on.

Donald Trump, who barely has a passing acquaintance with matters of faith, is now saying he will “override” governors who resist his demand that they lift church-going restrictions.

Nice try, Mr. POTUS … but you don’t have the authority to override governors. The president doesn’t have the authority even to order churches to open in the first place. That First Amendment matter protecting religion — along with the press — from government intrusion gets in the way.

This constant baiting of the media is getting tiresome and distressing in the extreme. The White House press secretary by all rights is supposed to build a healthy professional relationship with the men and women who cover the White House and report their findings to the public.

Insulting them, flinging childish rejoinders does no good.

McEnany, though, is appealing to Donald Trump’s “base,” which I am certain is a major part of the duty she assumed when she signed on as press flack.


Journalism takes another step toward irrelevance

It pains me to acknowledge this, but based on what I have just learned, daily print journalism — I am talking about newspapers — has taken another big step toward a dark hole of irrelevance.

The Providence Journal, Rhode Island’s largest newspaper, has announced it no longer will publish editorials. You know, those are the opinion pieces that represent the newspaper’s view on issues of the day.

Here is part of a letter that Journal executive editor Alan Rosenberg wrote to readers:

It’s a decision that we don’t make lightly. But it’s been coming for a long time…

[After the partisan newspapers of the 19th century,] most newspapers abandoned partisanship in their news pages, but kept the idea that they should speak out, in their editorials, on what they perceived as the best interests of their community and country.

But in doing so, they inadvertently undermined readers’ perception of a newspaper’s core mission: to report the news fairly. Our goal in news stories is always to learn, and reflect, the facts of a situation, then report them without bias. Reporters’ opinions, if they have them, have no place in our stories.

But when the newspaper itself expresses opinions on those same subjects, it causes understandable confusion. Readers wonder: Can reporters really do their work without trying to reflect the views expressed in their employers’ name? Can they cast a skeptical eye on a politician their paper has endorsed, or a generous eye on one it has opposed?

The answer is a definite “yes” — but my email since I became executive editor shows that many just don’t buy it.

The Providence Journal is owned by Gannett Corp. What we have here is a display in gutlessness. It is a shameful capitulation to the forces that are slowly but inexorably making daily newspapers irrelevant in the lives of thinking Americans.

I spent the vast bulk of my 36 years in journalism writing editorials and editing opinion pages. We once were committed to providing leadership to communities that used to look for some semblance of guidance from their newspapers. Sure, we had that argument with readers that Rosenberg mentioned about whether news coverage was influenced by newspapers’ editorial policy.

This news out of Providence, R.I., saddens me terribly. It well might get even worse for readers of the last newspaper where I worked on my professional journey, the Amarillo Globe-News. Gannett owns the Globe-News and Gannett has become a cost-cutting master in this era of declining subscribership and advertising.

I hate saying it … but I fear the end of daily journalism in Amarillo, Texas, might be at hand.