Journalism: Where Do We Go From Here?

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​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.

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Pope Francis’ Prayer for Countering ‘Fake News’

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This prayer is part of a message Pope Francis offered for World Communications Day in January of 2018. At the very least, it gives us something to think about when we’re offering our views with one another. Separating fact from fiction is essential is today’s media, and we must never forget that while a variety of opinions are valid, facts and truth are non-negotiable.

I would recommend following the link above and reading the Pope’s entire message.

Lord, make us intruments of your peace.

Help us to recognize the evil latent in a communication that does not build communion.

Help us to remove the venom from our judgements.

Help us to speak about others as our brothers and sisters.

You are faithful and trustworthy; may our words be seeds of goodness for the world:

Where there is shouting, let us practice listening;

Where there is confusion, let us inspire harmony;

Where there is ambiguity, let us bring clarity;

Where there is exclusion, let us offer solidarity;

Where there is sensationalism, let us use sobriety;

Where there is superficiality, let us raise real questions;

Where there is prejudice, let us awaken trust;

Where there is hostility, let us bring respect;

Where there is falsehood, let us bring truth.

Amen.

This is Not Normal

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​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.

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Election Reflection – Fake News

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​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

Bob Simon, ’60 Minutes’ And CBS News Veteran, Killed In Car Crash

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Bob Simon, a news man I respected immensely, has died tonight in an automobile accident in NYC.

For me, Bob Simon is one of those voices that has always evoked trust and integrity, from a very short list that includes the likes of Martin Fletcher, Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, and Walter Cronkite.

One of the best news and investigative journalists in this country. A very sad day for journalism and CBS. My condolences to his family and friends.