Journalism: Where Do We Go From Here?

Standard

​In recent days, as the Democratic field grows exponentially each day, we’ve seen a return to 2016 coverage by the media: Trump takes over every news cycle with new crazy, Bernie is in the lead, Buttigeig speaks eight languages, Elizabeth Warren’s unlikable, Kamala Harris is too hard, Amy Klobucher is too mean, ranch dressing, fried chicken, infer vs implied! Are the women ready? Too emotional? That’s almost sounds like a joke considering who we have in the Oval Office right now.

I saw a headline just this morning that Trump had a new nickname for Pete Buttigeig. How is that a headline for a news organization? Four reporters covered this story for the “news” organization! Have we learned nothing in the last two years?

Not to  mention that news anchors and pundits continue to drown us in whataboutism, false equivalency, and but both sides.

Continue reading

Press Freedom Day

Standard

Today is Press Freedom Day. Now more than ever, we need to protect our access to news and world events from a free and independent press. Here are some links that should definitely spend some time today reading:

World Press Freedom Day

Bipartisan Call to Protect Journalists
Why the Times is taking down its paywall (and at the end of the three days, think about subscribing)

Taking Stock on Press Freedom Day

Committee to Protect Journalists

This is Not Normal, Resources

Standard

Use this chart to help you determine if the news you’re getting is accurate and free of bias. That doesn’t mean that some sources shouldn’t be opinionated, but they do need to be clear on the difference between their opinion and reporting the facts as well as the tools they use for their analysis. MediaBiastChart (c)2018

Links below cut

Original Opinion and Resource List

Continue reading

This is Not Normal

Standard

​Everytime I sit down and try to write about the ongoing crisis in this country, I choke up. I get sad. I get furious, and I can’t write or even think about it. I try to avoid the pundits, but this week, everyone sounds like a pundit.

My aim with this post has been to provide places to find out information apart from Fox News and dog whistle sites that stoke the fires of fury and hatred.

Everyday, a friend on my Facebook shares lies and misinformation, not because he wants to create dissention, but because he truly believes the nonsense. This isn’t just one person’s opinion. We all have opinions, but as the saying goes, you’re not entitled to your own facts.

I will not abide the both sides argument. 

Fox News and the right wing media are so far gone it’s moved beyond false equivalency. Whenever the left is told to meet in the middle and compromise, the right forgets that we’ve moved so far right to get along, to meet in the “middle”, to compromise that center is right, and it’s still not good enough for the right wing.

In 2009, during the health care reform debate, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan said, no compromise. Now, with a Republican President, they’re all about compromise.. They don’t care how hypocritical they are or how their ignoring more than half the country feels. And to be honest, they don’t care. They want what they want, like a child having a tantrum, and they don’t care who they have to bulldoze to get it.

Democrats are inclusive. We don’t always agree on everything because we are so diverse. We want to, and always try to include conservative priorities, but it’s hard when the GOP continually changes it’s mind and the goal posts. President Obama’s health care reform was originally a Republican idea that was admired by the most conservative of Republicans until Obama adopted it.

They, Mitch McConnell, and his complicit Congress, refused to seat President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, refused to even vote on him, but now, with a President, who just two days ago, on international television put, not only a foreign government, but a hostile foreign government who attacked our country over our country, they’re moving ahead with the least popular Supreme Court nominee ever. The President defended the Russian election interference, and disparaged our intelligence agencies. I would have never thought I’d see the day that the Republicans would side with Russia over the United States of America. And after seeing his lukewarm “clarification” a day later, it only confirms many of our worse fears.

We are the majority in this country; why are we the one who are always expected to compromise? The right should move left to meet where the country actually is.

The rest of this post is a list of recommended readings and Twitter/social media followings that you should try to check out. It is important to each one of us to gather the information from reliable sources, and extrapolate our own opinions.

Later in the week, I will share the recommendation portion of this post for anyone who wants to share it without my above opinions. After all, I can tell you what I think, and where I got my information from; I can debunk and correct, but I can’t make you think. I can’t force the truth upon you. That is up to you to accept, but I also don’t have to listen to the lies and I won’t accept half-truths as truth.

The first section are political books that I’ve read this year and last that I would recommend. Some are very current as to the Trump Administration, what’s going on right now, and since the 2016 Election, and where we go from here. 

After that, I’ve included the sources I read, primarily on Twitter, including some pundits from both sides of the aisle to check out to get the full story of what’s going on in our country right now. I think it’s telling that most of the news shows I watched today included significant video of Fox News sounding remarkably like MSNBC.

If you look at a resource on this list, and think they are too liberal or too conservative, take a look anyway. Give them a few days to get a feel for how they address issues, and what they say, and then decide who you want to follow to get your information.

For a daily wrap-up, MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with Brian Williams does a nice roundup of the day’s news so you can catch up and hit Google after or in the morning for more in-depth information.

Lastly, I would highly suggest that you read, or re-read George Orwell’s 1984. I re-read it at the end of 2016, and I had forgotten most of the story. It was eye-opening, and chilling.

Continue reading

World Free Press Day

Standard

​Today is World Free Press Day. Many of us know that included in the First Amendment is our sacred freedom of the press, but because this document is two hundred thirty-one years old we don’t always give it the respect and attention it deserves. In fact, a free press in the United States is something that i think many of us take for granted. We assume that if we need to know it, CNN or MSNBC or The Washington Post, etc. will let us know in big twenty point headlines and short, pithy, decible-breaking sound bites.

For Halloween in 2016, I dressed as a journalist with a notebook, 1940s hat, and press pass. I quoted Thomas Jefferson. I got a few nods and nice costumes, but it wasn’t just a cosplay or costume. I had been watching the 2016 election for more than a year, and what was happening from the Trump campaign was was distressing to me.

I can’t have been the only one to see what was happening in this country, but I felt as though I was screaming into the void.

After two years of this Administration’s trampling of journalists and the press, they’ve erased mention of a free press in the Department of Justice’s internal manual. This country was founded on basic tenets, none more basic than the First Amendment, and a free press to keep the government accountable.

Now, Trump’s Justice Department was chipping away at those basic tenets with a sledgehammer.

There are journalists around the world, trying to get the truth out, who are kidnapped, tortured, and killed. We need to shine a light on this epidemic, and the United States needs to go back to leading the way for the press to be free.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is one organization who shines the light and keeps the rest of us aware of what’s happening around the world.

Press Freedom is under threat – press release

Press Freedom is under threat – Mission Report. This includes a link to download the full report. I urge you to read it.

Free the Press: 2018 Campaign to Free Imprisoned Journalists:

51/52 – 2017 Writing Reflection

Standard

​Looking back on 2017 and how much I’ve advanced in my writing and motivation needs to start before the year even began. For Halloween 2016, I dressed as a journalist, complete with reporter’s notebook and 1950s fedora. The election year had been a difficult one for journalists and the press in general, moreso than the usual kidnappings and murders that they face yearly all across the globe. Theirs is not an easy job, but where would we be as a society without them? The maligning they received at the hands of Candidate Trump, and continues with him as President is horrifying, not only to this country’s First Amendment, but also to this country’s value we put on knowledge and information; checks and balances.

I have always been a fan of journalists and news reporters, and my choice for two Halloweens ago was a reminder of that love, but also of what was at stake at the following week’s election. We can see how prescient that choice was.

It’s been a long year. L–O–N–G.

I’ve had a few missteps and missed deadlines on the blog, but I’m happy with how far i’ve come, the changes I’ve made, and confident in the changes still to come in the new year.

I’m grateful and appreciative for every follower, every like, and every comment. Each one helps me to grow just a little bit more as a writer.

I now also consider my attempts at art and photography as part of my writing and my writing life.

I participated in Nanowrimo, and I was very satisfied with how much was written in those thirty days: over 35,000 words. As I’ve said before, I didn’t make it to the 50,000 word goal, but I do have 35,000+ words more than I had on November 1st. I’m looking forward to creating outlines and editing and more research in the early parts of the new year to get my book on its way.

I have also decided to send a letter of intent to a local continuing education department and teach a six week class on writing. The workshops, and my contributions to them, not to mention this blog, have given me the confidence to believe that this is a next step in my writing life.

In reading too many books that I feel I could have written, not so much better, but differently and valued, I believe I have another book in me, this one specifically on journaling. Or writing. Or inspiration. It’s still in flux.

This looking back will have me looking forward by the end of the week. Stay tuned.

Election Reflection – Fake News

Standard

​Fake news is not a new concept. Remember Bat Boy from Weekly World News? Elvis is alive and working at a car wash in Indiana? The difference between that and the current political climate of fake news is that most of it isn’t fake, at least not what the left talks about; it’s more disagreeable news.

I saw it recently on CNN, and have to give host Don Lemon his due. Stopping the claim in the moment from Paris Dennard and cutting his platform off was the right thing to do, and I hope others begin to follow his and colleague Jake Tapper’s leads.

Talking about how much money the President is spending on his weekend jaunts to Florida is valid, especially considering he spent the last eight years bitching about President Obama’s “vacations” and especially since President Trump is close to exceeding Obama’s one-year spending in three weeks.

So, what is fake news?

For the most part, the right uses it as a red herring to try and silence the left and center. Now that we’ve found our voices through protest and other legal avenues, they don’t like it. They don’t like being called out on their hypocrisy.

It is not fake news to call out the President when he says something that needs clarification or that sounds, and is, ridiculous.

They believed Republican politicians on ObamaCare and were so deceived didn’t even realize it was the same thing as the ACA which they love and saves theirs and their children’s lives.

Just last week, they believed a story of a terrorist attack in Sweden, and two weeks before followed the Bowling Green Massacre which didn’t only never happened, what did happen or almost happen in Kentucky was misrepresented.

Oversight Committee Chairman Chaffetz is still investigating Clinton’s emails (newly investigating) while ignoring the Russian interference and General Flynn’s involvement is incompetence. Or malfeasance. He’s complaining about a national park 0office adding a space for a brochure for a monument that the national park wants as part of its system because he thinks they have prior knowledge. Has this guy ever heard of wishful thinking or dream/mood boards or visualization techniques?

They’re going out of their way to ignore Trump’s behavior when they went out of their way to obstruct Obama. Currently, the Dems are just trying to do their jobs, which is something the Republicans have ignored (and should be docked pay for) for eight years.

Racism much?

So, how do we protect ourselves and get the right information?

Use reputable news sources and journalists.

Journalists are not enemies of the people. They are right there in the First Amendment, the one that makes the others possible.

If you’re a conservative, check out Bill Kristol and David Frum. They are strong conservatives and consistent in their opinions. I personally don’t agree with them for the most part, but they are real news. 

I’d recommend Ezra Klein and Vox.

Dan Rather and his site News and Guts,.

Check out my page, We The People. I will continue updating throughout this Administration as I find new reliable sources. If you have any suggestions on how to combat this fake news phenomenon, please comment here so I can vet them and add them to the page