Archive for Sunday, March 19, 2017

Opinion: Time to explain to Fox … again

March 19, 2017

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It is time, once again, to explain journalism to Fox News.

In a way, that’s disappointing. After all, that network’s Shepard Smith has emerged as something of a journalistic hero lately, repeatedly standing up to Donald Trump’s administration for its attempts to undermine and delegitimize the news media. It’s been a stirring performance — and a pleasant surprise to those of us who long ago wrote the network off as just the propaganda arm of the Republican Party.

But Fox is still Fox. For proof, look no further than a peculiar little story that aired last week on “Fox & Friends.”

“Media bias on full display!” chirped the report breathlessly. “Newspapers now cashing in on T-shirts splashed with anti-President Trump rhetoric!”

So what, you ask, are these terrible anti-Trump slogans?

From The Washington Post: “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

From The Los Angeles Times: “Journalism Matters.”

From The Chicago Tribune: “Speaking Truth To Power Since 1847.”

As anti-Trump rhetoric goes, they sure sound a lot like journalistic boilerplate. Makes you wonder if anyone at Fox ran this piece past Shepard Smith. Probably not. Surely he would have explained to them that these slogans simply celebrate a basic principle of journalism: News media exist to ferret out truth and hold power to account. He might further have reminded them that this is supposed to be the prime directive, even at Fox.

He might even have asked: “What does it say about that network, about Trump, about how upside down our world has become, when being pro-truth is decoded as being anti-Trump?” People get awards for defending truth. They are lionized for it. Indeed, you’ll sometimes hear a journalist boast that her job is to “report the truth without fear or favor.”

Is that anti-Trump rhetoric, too?

Better question: does the essential quality of truth change depending upon whom it helps or hurts? Did some of us not get the joke when Stephen Colbert said that “reality has a well-known liberal bias?”

These questions are bigger than Fox, bigger than journalism, bigger, even, than Trump’s pathetic attempt to impersonate a president. They are as big as the country itself. One is reminded of the famous line from “A Few Good Men:” “You can’t handle the truth!”

What if that’s right? What if we can’t? What then? You can’t run a democracy this way. Where truth is the enemy, a people cannot be free.

Yet in just the last few days, we’ve had the bizarre spectacle of the so-called president accusing his predecessor of wire-tapping him, based on no evidence whatsoever. Then his press secretary “clarified” by explaining that when Trump said “wire-tapping,” he didn’t mean “wire-tapping.” Meantime, the attorney general clearly lied under oath. And Russia goes drip, drip, drip.

But someone at Fox thinks we should be up in arms because The Chicago Tribune celebrates journalism? Unreal.

Wherever Harry Truman went, people used to yell, “Give ‘em hell, Harry!” for his blunt way of expressing himself. To which the 33rd president would reply: “I never gave them hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell.”

Truman’s quip seems apropos to this standoff between news media and apologists like those at “Fox & Friends” seeking to normalize Donald Trump. It should be painfully clear by now that they’ve set themselves an impossible mission.

You know you’re in trouble when the truth looks like hell.

— Leonard Pitts is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Miami Herald.

Comments

Bob Summers 8 months, 4 weeks ago

A provocative billboard depicting US President Donald Trump surrounded by mushroom clouds from nuclear explosions and dollar signs resembling Nazi swastikas has been erected in Phoenix, Arizona. The US leader also wears a Russian flag lapel pin.

Why are the humans with the genetic condition DRD4 so full of vicious hate like Pitts here is? Why is their smarmy vitriolic hate so critically complex in their thinking?

Because they know no other way to behave. They are the scorpion.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Great post, Bob!! I have been looking for some verifying sign for some time now. I have been comparing Trump to Hitler and the Nazis for some time now and I am glad that I am not the only voice expressing tis factual identity. The people in Arizona seem to be much more on track about reality than a lot of the rest of the country. They are to be commended!!! Thanks for the proof!!!!

Bob Smith 8 months, 4 weeks ago

"...undermine and delegitimize the news media...." I'd say the onslaught of fake news has done more to undermine and delegitimize the news media than anything Trump has said. Paul must have slept in. Usually he'd be delivering his standard name-calling by this time.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Hello Leonard!! Great to see you again!! I guess you have brought out the dregs of the Trump lover movement in your article. I love it!! Hope you can keep it up and that we will continue to see your significant and appropriate outlook on the current political situation!!

Great job!!!!

Bob Reinsch 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm still trying to find a peer-reviewed journal that has written about this genetic condition Bob Summer's writes of in his first post. I'm guessing an article such as that can be located adjacent to articles that describe the Obama wire-tapping conspiracy, the millions of illegal voters that Trump claimed voted (and never provided evidence), and the CiC's real tax returns. BTW, how's Trump's golf game these days?

Bob Summers 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Don't be ashamed at what you were born to be Bob.

Be Jonathon Livingston seagull. “You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way"

Bob Reinsch 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm not ashamed to be what I was born to be... I was born to call people out on their bovine scatology.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The other "Bob" is just trying to pull our chains with this "genetic condition" crap. Ignore it. There is nothing to it except the failure of the far right and fabricating some sort of BS to counter it with. It is just a lot of alt right invective.

Besides......he likes to see his name next to his screaming "LIBERAL, LIBERAL, LIBERAL" at each post. Ignore him..

Bob Reinsch 8 months, 3 weeks ago

No problem, Fred. Mr. Summers posts make for fertile soil during planting season, although you have to reach a proper PH balance, as there seems to be an unnecessarily acidic, corrosive element to his scat. Maybe a little gypsum will help.

Bob Reinsch 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Might need a couple of rail cars full of it to neutralize that volume.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months, 3 weeks ago

From The Washington Post: “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

From The Los Angeles Times: “Journalism Matters.”

From The Chicago Tribune: “Speaking Truth To Power Since 1847.”

So, can the Trump supporters explain why they are against these slogans?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months, 3 weeks ago

No takers. I'm going to assume you think darkness is good or democracy is bad. You think that journalism doesn't matter. You think the speaking truth to power is unpatriotic and not a good thing. Or has your "journalists" not told you how to respond. Go send Rush an email to get your speaking points. We will wait.

Larry Sturm 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Bob Summers has his and don't care if anybody has anything or not.

MerriAnnie Smith 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I've read in numerous places that Putin is the one who started the FAKE news sites online.

Lemme see, Putin also supported Trump in his efforts to get Trump elected.

And his FAKE news sites did the same.

But Trump is giving legitimate journalism hell?

Abracadabra, Trump supporters. Now, open your eyes, and the darkness will be gone. Why? Because of non-fake news that has been here for many decades telling you the truth. In the darkness of your own minds, you've been unable to see the truth.

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