Category Archives: media news

‘These aren’t our kids’

Brian Kilmeade needs a serious whuppin’.

The “Fox & Friends” co-host said this today while defending Donald J. Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, which the president ostensibly ended with an executive order that stops the practice of yanking kids from their parents along the southern border of our nation.

“Like it or not, these aren’t our kids. Show them compassion, but it’s not like he’s doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas. These are people from another country and now people are saying that they’re more important than people in our country who are paying taxes and who have needs as well.”

Let’s hold the phone, dear reader. Time out! Take a breath and digest what this clown has said on national TV.

Has anyone, ever hinted, implied or suggested — let alone say it out loud — that the young immigrants at the center of this immigration firestorm are “more important than people in our country”?

Kilmeade was trying to make some sort of cheap point, I reckon, when he blurted out that misstatement.

It is false. It is yet another lie. He has demonized in one of the most hideous examples we’ve heard in all this tumult the critics of the Trump administration policy that has swept the entire globe.

If the president is going to go after the mainstream media for telling lies, right there is a glittering example of “fake news.”

R.I.P., Dr. Krauthammer

It didn’t take long after all.

Charles Krauthammer, the noted newspaper columnist and commentator for Fox News, announced on June 8 that he only had “weeks to live” after receiving a grim prognosis on his valiant battle against cancer.

Today, Fox announced that Krauthammer lost his fight. He died at age 68 of abdominal cancer. I am saddened in the extreme to hear this news.

Dr. Krauthammer was a Renaissance man in the purest sense. He obtained a medical degree from Harvard University and was a practicing psychiatrist when he decided to enter politics. He went to work in the Carter administration, where he wrote speeches for Vice President Walter Mondale.

Then he gravitated toward journalism. His ideology drifted to the right and he became one of the nation’s premier conservative columnists. He wrote with precision and clarity. Dr. Krauthammer signed on with The Washington Post — and then was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for the commentary he wrote for the newspaper.

I was proud to run his column in the Amarillo Globe-News for all the years I worked at the newspaper. I’ve noted already that although I didn’t subscribe to his world view, I recognize great writing and clear thinking when I see it. Dr. Krauthammer provided both with his commentary — and I always enjoyed reading his work, thinking often at the time, “Damn! I wish I could write like that.”

American journalism has lost a significant voice. Charles Krauthammer was one of the great ones.

No doubt about it: U.S. is ‘secular nation’

An interesting argument has surfaced over the discussion about the use of Scripture to justify the separating of children from their parents as they enter the United States illegally.

It comes from the newspaper where I used to work, the Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News.

Here’s the editorial with the title, “The Spiritual Double Standard.” 

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently cited Romans 13 to justify the policy of yanking kids from their parents along our southern border and housing them separately. It also seems to suggest that the United States might not be a “secular nation.”

Actually, the United States most certainly is a secular nation. Of that there can be no serious debate.

The founders intended to craft a governing document that is free of religious requirements. Their ancestors came to this world fleeing religious persecution. Right? Yes!

The editorial seems also to suggest that critics of the AG are targeting Christians. Hmm. I don’t believe that’s the case. The founders didn’t even mention Christianity in crafting the U.S. Constitution. The Amarillo Globe-News opined: This is becoming a common tactic of many of those who support open borders – attempting to shame Christians by pointing out how federal immigration laws are not in line with Christian teachings about how to treat your neighbors, immigrants, etc.

The secular nature of our government is not aimed at Christians. It excludes any religious litmus test for government. Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus … you name it.

The G-N also suggests that secularists shouldn’t use Scripture to debunk the AG’s citing of the New Testament to justify the policy.

Fine, except that if the attorney general is going to bring it up first, then it is totally fair for critics to use the Bible to rebut what they believe is his misdirected justification.

The G-N notes, “As the saying goes, you can’t have it both ways.”

Actually, in this instance, I believe you can.

Who’s the real ‘enemy,’ Mr. President?

I find it weird in the extreme that Donald J. Trump is getting cozy with a real “enemy of the American people.”

Except that the president has declared another entity to be the people’s No. 1 enemy.

He calls North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un an “honorable” man. Yes, a young despot who should be tried for crimes against humanity on the basis of the treatment he levels against his own people is now the president’s newest best friend. Trump calls Kim “smart” and a “great negotiator.”

Oh, but who’s the “enemy” that Trump has identified? It’s the media. The American journalists who cover the Trump administration has incurred the president’s wrath. He calls the media the “greatest enemy of the American people.”

Now, I believe that is a perversion of the first order.

The president cuddles (proverbially) with dictators/thugs/killers while excoriating the media that are seeking to hold him and his administration accountable to the public — the president’s employers.

I don’t know about you, but the president has it exactly backward.

Oh, and then there are the Russians …

Blog spurs tension among strangers

As much as l enjoy — even love — writing this blog, it produces at least one uncomfortable side effect.

I distribute High Plains Blogger’s contents along several social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, to name three. It’s the Facebook distribution that results in something that gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Blog supporters and critics read my entries. They respond to statements that come from the blog. Then someone else will respond to the individual who is commenting on the contents of the blog.

It doesn’t matter who starts the exchange. It can come from someone on either side. When it commences, though, it occasionally gets personal.

It’s an intriguing aspect of this community “discussion.” Strangers who have never looked each other in the eye presume to know the other person’s motives. For that matter, I have total strangers who read this blog regularly who presume to know my own motivations and they respond with some sort of faux knowledge. But … that’s OK with me. I let it slide.

When individuals start yammering at each other in response to High Plains Blogger, I find myself feeling badly when someone ascribes nefariousness to someone else’s point of view. Or, they accuse someone of ignorance.

I don’t intend to dissuade commenters from speaking out freely and passionately. It’s an American thing to do. I like that individuals get worked up. However, it does make me a bit queasy when the commenters get personal with their newfound foes over each other’s comments.

None of this will deter me from using this blog to speak out. It’s what I do these days now that I no longer am a working stiff.

I’ll just have to suck it up when readers of this blog — be they friend or foe — decide to go after those on the other side of the gaping political divide.

Stay tuned. Keep reading. And by all means, feel free to offer your own perspective. It’s a great country, yes?

Krauthammer: ‘My fight is over’

Charles Krauthammer could have forged a stellar career in medicine after graduating from Harvard Medical School. He became a psychiatrist.

Then he went into public service, joining the Carter administration and serving as a policy adviser and speechwriter for Vice President Walter Mondale.

Eventually, Dr. Krauthammer gravitated rightward. He became a columnist, a pundit — and a sharp one at that.

Fox News Channel came along and hired Krauthammer as a contributor to the network, where he burnished his conservative commentary skills and where he became a stalwart of the network’s array of commentators.

Today, this brilliant essayist and pundit has announced that his doctors have given him only “weeks to live.” Krauthammer’s cancer has returned. The prognosis is as grim as it gets.

Allow me this moment to express my profound sadness at what is likely to transpire.

Back when I was working for a living as editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News, Krauthammer emerged as one of my favorite columnists, whose work we published regularly.

He is a brilliant essayist. He writes with precision and is concise in stating whatever view he wants to project.

Did I agree with him? No, but that’s not the point. One need not agree with someone to appreciate and admire his or her work. I admire Krauthammer’s brilliant mind and appreciate the courage with which he speaks. He speaks without outward rancor. He doesn’t “scream” his rhetoric while presenting his view of how the world should turn.

Here is Krauthammer’s note announcing his prognosis, published in the Washington Post, where he worked as a columnist since 1984.

Krauthammer says goodbye

This news saddens me terribly.

***

You are welcome to take a look at something I wrote in October 2009 about Charles Krauthammer. My thoughts about were as strong then as they are today.

A word or two dispelling a rumor

The man can turn a phrase.

 

 

Call a halt to media war, Mr. POTUS

It’s getting tiresome.

With actual foes and enemies of this country looking to do us harm, our head of state is concentrating his fire on the media. Russians have attacked our electoral system; North Koreans want to build nuclear bombs; Syrians are getting gassed by their government.

Donald Trump is fixated over reporting on his presidential administration.

He calls any negative press coverage “fake news.”

What’s more, it’s been revealed that he told CBS News’s Leslie Stahl that he continues the anti-media barrage to sow distrust among the public. If the media report negatively on the administration, Trump told Stahl, the public won’t believe them.

See? It’s part of the Trump strategy!

Those of us who toiled in the media are sickened by it. They are ashamed of the president who is assailing men and women who pledge to report the truth and do that very thing to the best of their ability.

Previous presidents of both parties have endured their share of media negativity. Do they declare war against the media? Do they accuse the media of being the “enemy of the American people”? Do they insist that “most” members of the media are “dishonest people”?

No. They recognize the media has a role to play, which is to hold public officials accountable.

Trump doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand the media’s role in protecting this country.

He lies. He embellishes. He condemns the media. Constantly!

Frightening.

More pain gets inflicted in the media

Oh, the hits just keep coming.

The San Antonio Express-News — the newspaper of record for Texas’s second-largest city — has announced another round of layoffs. It doesn’t stop. The reductions are costing communities the services of valuable craftsmen and women with decades of experience reporting on the issues of the day.

When will it end? Ever? Well, it has to end, likely when the last reporter checks out for the final time. Will he or she please be sure to turn out the lights?

The Internet is the culprit. The villain. The bogeyman.

It has spawned a whole new array of “news and information” outlets. Cable news has joined the fray. Righties have their own view of the “truth,” as do the lefties. They hunker down and consume only the “information” that comports with their world view.

It sickens and saddens me at the same time.

I once was a victim of the changing climate. I was told during a company “reorganization” that I no longer would do what I had done at the Amarillo Globe-News for nearly 18 years. I wrote editorials and columns for the paper. The publisher at the time decided to reshuffle the deck. After interviewing for my own job, I got the news: We’ve offered it to someone else and he has accepted.

I quit on the spot.

Not long after I left the G-N in the summer of 2012, I scored an interview with the Express-News. The editorial page editor flew me to San Antonio, where I spent the day talking to him, the paper’s publisher and the EPE’s editorial page staff members.

The fellow with whom I interviewed made quite a point of telling me how the Hearst Corp. was reinvesting in the Express-News, restoring positions that had been cut. Times were good in the Alamo City, he said.

I didn’t get the gig. The paper was “going in another direction,” the e-mail message told me.

It’s all good now.

I want to re-share with you a quick story. I was at my post at the Amarillo newspaper. A gentleman called about a letter he had submitted. I chose not to publish it. Why? It was full of falsehoods.

His response was classic. “I know it’s true,” he said. I asked, “How do you know that?” He said, “Because I saw it on the Internet.”

I laughed out loud into the phone.

It’s a brand new, and damn scary, world out there.

Trump wages war on wrong foe

While the Russians are attacking our nation’s electoral process and the media report on it, who does the president of the United States declare to be the “enemy of the American people”?

The media. The folks who are doing their job. The individuals and their organizations that take their mission seriously.

A cable news network today ran a compilation of the various times Donald J. Trump disparaged the media. He calls reporters “dishonest,” he assails them for fomenting “fake news,” he said journalists don’t love their country.

The president’s scorched-Earth policy against the media has continued at a breakneck pace ever since he took office. You’ll recall how former White House press secretary Sean Spicer conducted his first press briefing by excoriating the media for way they reported on the size of the inaugural crowd that heard Donald J. Trump paint a grim picture of the nation he was elected to lead.

It’s been going downhill ever since.

For the ever-lovin’ life of me I cannot understand the president’s fixation with demonizing the media. All forms of media gave this clown a pass time and time again during the initial stages of his presidential campaign. Much of the media was complicit in allowing Trump to continue to lie through his teeth. They didn’t call him out.

Now that the media have awakened to the kind of man he always has been — a self-aggrandizing narcissist — they have done their job.

Trump’s response? He has launched a full-scale frontal assault on the organizations that almost all of his predecessors have recognized as being vital to the good health of a representative democracy.

The media aren’t the “enemy of the American people.” The real enemy — apart from the Russians who meddled in our election — is the president who seeks to discredit them.

Let’s not get physical with the media

Here’s yet another twist in the Trump administration’s ongoing conflict with the media. This one is a beaut.

Environmental Protection Agency officials forcibly escorted reporters from CNN and The Associated Press from a meeting room, barring them from covering a public event to discuss harmful chemicals in water.

EPA officials said there was a shortage of seats in the room. Reports indicate there were empty seats when EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt spoke to the group gathered.

What’s going on here? Please tell me the Trump administration isn’t going to start kicking reporters out of these events because of some perceive “negative coverage” he might get.

According to CNN.com: Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, addressed the matter at the daily briefing. Sanders said the White House would “certainly” look into the matter, but said for now she would refer reporters to the EPA’s statement, explaining that she could not “speak to a situation that I don’t have a lot of visibility into.” 

Yes, Ms. Sanders, the White House needs to “look into the matter.” It also needs to allow the media unfettered access to events of public concern for all Americans.

There’s that thing called the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, too, that guarantees “freedom of the press.” Let ’em report … freely!