Tag Archives: enemy of the people

‘Enemies of the people’ answer the call

I feel the need to say a good word about the so-called “enemies of the American people.”

These are the men and women of the media who at this moment are placing themselves in harm’s way to report on the impact of Hurricane Florence as it slams the Carolina coast.

It should go without saying, that the media are there to report on the impact of the storm, to tell human stories of grit, courage, survival and heartache.

Except that the president of the United States has chosen to label the media unfairly as the “enemy.” Why? Because the media at times report news he deems to be negative. He calls negative news coverage “fake news.” He denigrates the hard work of these individuals.

Hurricane Florence is bringing considerable damage to the east coast, just as Hurricane Harvey did a year ago to the Gulf Coast, and as Hurricane Maria did in 2017 when it savaged Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands … and as Mother Nature does whenever she decides to unleash her untold wrath.

Americans who depend on the media need them to be there. Just as they do whenever circumstances warrant it, the media are answering the call.

They, too, deserve a nation’s prayers as they do their duty and tell the story as it unfolds in real time.

Congratulations to the media for standing tall

Newspapers across this great nation have spoken with one voice. They have spoken not just on behalf of those who publish the printed word, but also for those who speak to Americans through various broadcast media.

I am proud that one of the newspapers where I worked for about 11 years joined the chorus that stands up to those on the right and the far right who have declared the media to be the “enemy of the people.”

The Beaumont (Texas) Enterprise spoke out. They did so acknowledging what many of us know already: The media are the people’s ally, not their enemy.

Read the Enterprise’s editorial here.

Donald J. Trump has led the “enemy” call. He rails that the media are purveyors of “fake, fake, disgusting news.”

As if this president is the only man who’s ever had to deal with criticism. All of his predecessors — Democrat and Republican — have licked the wounds inflicted by criticism, some of it harsh. Did they declare the media to the people’s enemy? No. They took their lumps and went about the business of trying to govern.

The media’s role is clear. It is to demand accountability from those who purport to do things on the public’s behalf, but who on occasion end up doing things to the public.

I regret that another newspaper where I worked during my journey through print daily journalism — the Amarillo Globe-News — chose not to join the chorus. That’s their call. I wish the editors there had made another choice.

This campaign was initiated by the Boston Globe. More than 200 newspapers around the country joined the Globe. They have spoken as one. I am proud of them all.

As the Enterprise said in its editorial: A free and vigorous news media is not just a good idea in America or any other country. It’s vital to helping people create the kind of lawful, prosperous society they want, helping ensure that injustice or corruption are exposed instead of excused. Anyone like our president who calls American journalists the “enemy of the people” is undermining this cornerstone of democracy.

WH press flack whiffs a home-run pitch

Sarah Huckabee Sanders was served a pitch that she should have hit out of the park. Instead, she whiffed.

It came from CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta, the current chief “enemy of the people,” according to the president and Sanders, his press secretary.

Acosta asked Sanders directly whether she believes as Donald John Trump believes that the media are the “enemy of the people.”

Sanders didn’t take the bait. She didn’t answer the question. She didn’t stand for the right of the media to do their job as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution. She didn’t challenge the notion that the media — which no president has ever liked — is the “enemy.”

The White House press secretary today revealed a potentially shameful side of herself.

See the Sanders-Acosta exchange on the link here.

I don’t know whether Sanders actually believes the crap she defends in the White House press briefing room, or whether she feels some sort of blind fealty to the head of state. Perhaps there’s a third option, that she might fear being humiliated by the president if he perceives that she is straying too far off the marked trail.

Whatever the case, the White House press officer could have assuaged many Americans’ fear that the White House has taken its war against the media to a frightening new level.

She didn’t.

Shame.

Media have become part of ‘the story’

I long have hated the notion of the media becoming part of the story they are covering. Yet that’s what is happening in the current tumult involving Donald J. Trump, the “enemy of the people” and those in the media who love taking pot shots at each other.

CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta, a frequent target of the president’s barbs, fired off this tweet aimed at competitor Sean Hannity, a commentator at Fox News:

Hannity is a propagandist for profit, peddling lies every night. He says he’s just a talk show host, not a journalist. But he’s injecting poison into the nation’s political bloodstream warping public attitudes about the press. I’m confident in the long run the truth will prevail.

Never mind that I happen to agree with Acosta. Hannity is every bit the “propagandist” that Acosta calls him. He is riddled with conflicts of interest, given his professional relationship with Trump’s former confidant, Michael Cohen, and his continuing personal friendship with the president himself.

But, I digress. No need to rehash what you know to be the obvious, which is that I detest Hannity.

Still, I do not like the notion of the media becoming the story in and of themselves. I am a rather old-fashioned sort of guy. I prefer the media simply cover the story to which they are assigned. Report the news. If the subject of their coverage objects to the tone, the tenor or the timing of the story, let ’em rant. Don’t respond. Don’t fire back.

Of course, Trump has ratcheted up the criticism to an unacceptable level. This idiotic mantra about the media being the “enemy of the people” is unhealthy, unAmerican, unpatriotic and totally unacceptable. And for this president, the purveyor in chief of lies and prevarication, to blame others for reporting “fake news” gives hypocrisy a bad name.

That all said, the nature of the media’s role as watchdogs for the public has evolved to a form that makes me quite uncomfortable.

‘The enemy of the people’?

Let’s not pussyfoot around this one, dear reader.

The president of the United States needs to cease using the kind of inflammatory rhetoric he has been using against members of the media.

Americans are awakening today trying to digest the impact of a mass shooting at the Annapolis (Md.) Capital-Gazette. Five people were gunned down by a man with a shotgun. He allegedly had a grievance against the newspaper, stemming from a defamation lawsuit he had filed; the judge tossed his suit.

It is fair to ask at this moment, in this overheated time of discord and dispute, whether Donald J. Trump’s rhetoric might be at the very least partially responsible for the tragedy that befell the Capital-Gazette.

The newspaper’s editorial page this morning declared that the staff is “speechless” and urges Americans to seek to become better as a result.

The president immediately offered his “thoughts and prayers” for the victims. He thanked the first responders for the rapid reaction to the tragedy.

Now, let’s get to the rest of it, Mr. President. None of us can know with absolute certainty whether this shooter was driven by the intense anti-media rhetoric that has come from the president, who has labeled the media to be the “enemy of the American people.”

The juxtaposition, however, of the shooting and the backdrop of the intense hatred of the media that has boiled up in some political circles make many of us wonder.

It’s time to dial it back, Mr. President.

As CNN.com reported: The newspaper, which was reeling from the attack, defiantly tweeted on Thursday: “Yes, we’re putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”

Its mission continues.

God bless them.

POTUS declares war on media

It’s been on-going ever since Donald John Trump declared his presidential candidacy in June 2015.

He’s been at war with the media that seek to report the news relevant to his campaign and now, his presidency.

As Steve Schmidt, a longtime Republican Party political activist, has noted: Trump now has all but declared Fox News to be the state’s official news medium. Why is that? Because Trump just relishes the network’s obvious bias in his favor.

Other media outlets? They’re all the “enemy of the American people.” The president, with his alarming and frightening petulance toward the rest of the media, has broken with a couple centuries’ worth of tradition involving presidential relationships with a free press.

Consider, too, the words of a longtime public servant who now works as a “contributor” to CNN. Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden — the former head of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency — laid it on the line.

Hayden fires back at Trump

Hayden wrote this on Twitter: “Until now it was not possible for me to conceive of an American President capable of such an outrageous assault on truth, a free press or the first amendment.”

Think not just of what Gen. Hayden said, but also consider that this man would say it. Michael Hayden served with distinction and honor under presidential administrations of both major political parties.

Hayden was responding to this tweet from Trump: “Fox News is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly.”

I get that Trump gored Hayden’s proverbial ox with that ridiculous message. However, I believe Hayden’s description of Trump’s view of the media is correct. He is conducting an “outrageous assault on truth, a free press” and, yes, on the First Amendment.

This individual, the president of the United States, is a disgrace to the high office he occupies.

Media ‘enemy’ deliver yet again in face of tragedy

Donald J. Trump is going to have to live with a profoundly unfair epithet he hurled at the national news media, which continue to perform the duty their members all signed on to do.

Which is to report the news, to tell the public about their world — the good news and the bad. The media are not, as Trump infamously declared, “the enemy of the American people.”

Let’s look for a moment at the job the media are doing in telling us about Hurricane Maria’s tragic aftermath.

The media have flown into Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. They have encountered virtually impossible working conditions, starting with the total loss of electricity to power the equipment they need to report to the world about the suffering that’s occurring in those two U.S. territories.

They have told the stories of our fellow Americans having to cope with the destruction brought to them by Maria. They have in some cases put themselves in harm’s way. They have exposed themselves to the same elements that are plaguing the citizens of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands.

And yet …

The president of the United States continues to chide the media — in his own mind — for failing to tell the world about the “fantastic” job the federal government is doing to deliver aid and comfort to those stricken by the storm.

Get off it, Mr. President! The media have done their job. Just as they always do their job. That the media don’t tell the story precisely to the president’s liking by reporting news that doesn’t cast him in the most positive light possible should not reflect badly on the job the media are doing.

Without the media, the rest of the nation would not know about the struggles, the misery and the heroism being exhibited daily as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands seek to regain their footing.

Keep up the great work, my former colleagues. As for the president, he needs to focus — for once — solely on his job, which is to ensure that our government rescues our fellow citizens from their suffering.

Events give media chance to shine brightly

I never got the chance to serve on a Pulitzer Prize jury, to select winners in print journalism’s top prizes.

This year is going to produce a Pulitzer juror’s “nightmare,” if you want to call it such. The media, namely the folks who work in the print end of it, have distinguished themselves grandly while covering compelling issues of the day.

Were it not for the media, we wouldn’t know about the various crises threatening to swallow the Donald J. Trump administration whole. Many of print journalism’s top guns — at the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Washington Post — have been distinguishing themselves with top-drawer reporting that would give Pulitzer jurors fits. It’s interesting in the extreme to me that so many of the cable news outlets keep referencing stories that have been broken first by print organizations.

Then something else happened this summer.

Two killer hurricanes boiled up out of the warm water offshore and delivered death and destruction, first to the Texas Gulf Coast and then to the Caribbean and to all of Florida.

Reporters, photographers and their editors all have worked very long days and nights trying to cover the story of human misery. Newspapers from the Coastal Bend, Houston and then to the Golden Triangle have answered the call. Indeed, one of my former employers — the Beaumont Enterprise — has called at least one of its veteran former reporters out of retirement to assist in telling the community’s story as it seeks to recover from Hurricane Harvey’s savage wrath.

The story of media intrepidity is being repeated now in Florida as that state struggles to regain its footing in the wake of Hurricane Irma’s own brand of immense savagery.

There you have it: severe political tumult and potential constitutional crises and Mother Nature’s unimaginable power have combined to create circumstances that make the media answer the call to duty.

To think, as well, that the president of the United States refers to these dedicated men and women as “the enemy of the American people.” Donald Trump knows nothing about the dedication to their craft — and in many instances the heroism — they exhibit in trying to report important issues to a public that wants to know what’s happening in their world.

Good luck, Pulitzer jury, as you seek to find winners in this most eventual period in history.

To my former colleagues, I am immensely proud of you.

‘Enemy of the people’ are here to serve

“There are three kinds of people who run toward disaster, not away: cops, firemen and reporters.”

The above quotation comes from the Newseum, an exhibit in Washington, D.C., put together years ago by the Poynter Institute, a first-rate umbrella media organization. A young friend of mine — who happens to be a former colleague who’s still in the print journalism business — posted this today on Facebook.

Interesting, don’t you think? I do. Now I shall explain briefly why.

Donald J. Trump spares no opportunity to denigrate those who report the news to the public. The president of the United States came to Texas recently to tour damage done by Hurricane Harvey and decided to say that the “first responders” go places the media won’t go, “unless there’s a good story.”

The idiot in chief misses the point. He whiffs. He fans, man.

The media answer the call to serve the public. No, they don’t necessarily put themselves in harm’s way to the extent that firefighters, police officers and emergency medical personnel do. They are there, however, to report to the public what is happening to our communities and to our fellow Americans.

I said that media reps don’t “necessarily” endanger themselves. That’s not entirely true, of course. Reporters — broadcast, print and photojournalists — do step in to offer aid. They lend comfort to stricken victims. They perform rescues. They act, shall we say, quite heroically.

For the president to continually denigrate these individuals and the organizations they represent is disgraceful on its face. For him to refer to the media as “the enemy of the American people,” furthermore, defames the vast array of professionals who do what they are trained to do: report the news and deliver it to an audience that is thirsting for information.

I am proud to have been a member of a noble craft. What’s more, I continue to swell with pride in the job many of my friends and former colleagues continue to do.

No jokes about ‘shooting’ reporters, Gov. Abbott

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a bill that reduces by a good bit the first-time fee for Texans seeking to obtain a concealed handgun carry permit.

I am one of those Texans who formerly opposed the concealed handgun carry legislation when it was first enacted in 1995; my position has evolved over time … more or less. Suffice to say that while I no longer oppose it, I am unwilling to sign on as an avid proponent. I have accepted the law. I trust you’ll understand my point here.

Then the governor did something that borders on gauche. He went to a shooting range, fired a few rounds at a target and then joked that he would carry the target around “in case I see any reporters.”

Yuk, yuk, yuk …

https://www.texastribune.org/2017/05/26/texas-gov-greg-abbott-signs-measure-reduce-handgun-license-fee/

The timing of the governor’s joke, however, makes it a good bit less “funny” than it otherwise might be.

You see, they just had this election up yonder in Montana this week. The Republican candidate, Greg Gianforte, decided earlier in the week to “body slam” a reporter, Ben Jacobs, who asked him about the GOP health care overhaul bill. Gianforte didn’t like the question, so he struck out — quite literally — at the reporter.

Montanans elected Gianforte anyway to the at-large congressional seat he was contesting with Democrat Rob Quist.

I draw that comparison only to illustrate the coarsening of debate in this country. The president of the United States has declared the media to be “the enemy of the American people,” and some folks — even, apparently, some candidates for Congress — appear to have bought into that line of manure.

Thus, I just caution the Texas governor against using that kind of language, out loud, in public, where others can hear him.

Gov. Abbott meant it as a joke. I know it’s a joke. Not everyone, though, is going to take it that way.