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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Yes, Newspapers Should Hold Politicians Accountable

Time was when newspaper journalists prided themselves on being working stiffs: skeptical, cynical and worldly-wise. “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” I’ve always preferred the unofficial motto of my native New Jersey: “Oh yeah, who says?”

Fact-check politicians? Here’s how H.L. Mencken saw things in 1924: “If any genuinely honest and altruistic politician had come to the surface in my time I’d have heard of him, for I have always frequented newspaper offices, and in a newspaper office the news of such a marvel would cause a dreadful tumult.”

  • freethinker

    Reporters haven’t been real reporters for several decades as Mr. Lyons points out. However, to single out a Romney charge as an example is like using an eyedropper to fill a pool. Far more egregious was the total lack of vetting done on Barack Obama while he was running for the Presidency. He might have won anyway, given the mood of the country, but the public would and should have been far more informed about the person, his beliefs, training and background. As it was,of course, reporters were so taken by the ‘thrill up their legs’ that objective reporting was impossible.

  • kurt.lorentzen

    News media, printed or otherwise, should report the truth whether it serves the political leanings of its reporters and editors or not. If reporters can dig deeper and expose illegal, unethical or otherwise power-abusive behavior they should be rewarded and encouraged. Freedom of the press isn’t just a whimsical notion for the sake of everyone’s right to print what they think. Franklin and the defiant press waged the war of public opinion as the American revolution went from conception to the stark reality of war. The founding fathers believed that a free people’s press would be a stalwart force in ensuring that the power remained with the people. To the journalists who seek the truth I say, “Go get ’em.”

  • Clark_Kent

    Freethinker must have been Rip Van Winkle for the last 30 years. We knew more about Obama’s life than any presidential candidate that I can remember. He published a best selling book about his life in which the McCain campaign certainly checked every sentence. If they didn’t McCain shouldn’t have been elected because of total incompetence. The fact is that they couldn’t dig up any dirt about him except that he went to a church with a crazy preacher, and the corporate media certainly ran with that story. We knew a lot more about Obama than we knew about Dubya. We still don’t know the facts about W’s national guard “service.”

  • Bassicdave

    How ironic it is that your words betray your name. Where else could you have come up with such an incredibly vacuous complaint of the lack of vetting Obama? As Mr. Kent has explained, oppo research will uncover your overdue library books. That leaves only 2 possibilities: either you pulled that statement out of your ass or you are repeating the statement of some other uninformed party. Neither is worthy of the “Freethinker” moniker.

  • AnnieMO

    Vetting? Like they did Sarah Palin?//LOL. What gets me is that there were many places that information about GW Bush could be found-and I’m mostly an amature on my pc, but I have a long list of search engines (and I know who backs them). Not only was that information I found in abundance not printed much, but when it was mentioned, it was smoothed over. The lies that had been put foreward to cover up his ‘business’ background, his ‘service’ background were used by the news papers and media rather than bringing foreward the truth……they were accessories to his lies. The same thing happened on the facts about why we were going to war in Iraq. Very little coverage on the UN Inspectors that were in and out of Iraq for several years leading up to the war- and a big contingent of those inspectors were well trained US senior military men….who all stated there were no WMD’s or poison gas…more than once and sometimes on t.v. and radio PBS & NPR. Who remembers articles about that in national medias?

    Same for McCain-anyone remember media reportings on how his plane crashed into the USS Forrestal, killing many on board, setting huge fires which severaly burned crew members and before they were taken off ship, McCain, who was unharmed, was flown off ship by helecopter. ‘Course his daddy was an Admiral.
    And any one who thinks we have a ‘liberal’ media has never done research on who owns them, who the CEO’s are and what their politics are-who they give the most money to, and what political events to they attend and support. We have ended up with 5 major such corporations who have managed to rope in what is printed, screened or on radio to the point that 80% of everything we see, hear or read comes from those 5 corporations whose top guys are all on the same political page and that viewpoint at the top is one true thing that has ‘trickled down’ to the public for over the last 20 or more years.

  • Mary Floyd

    Let’s hear more, a lot more, from AnnieMO. And less, a lot less, from freethinker, who’s unworthy of the name.

  • rustacus21

    …have been overwhelmed by money. The Congress & Senate have been overwhelmed by money. The Oval Office & even the once venerable institution, which was suppose to be above such vile influences – the Supreme Court – overwhelmed by money. In 2005, I was not as engaged, but no less horrified when newly appointed Chief Justice John Roberts began going into hysterics about the pay rate for the courts’ justices’! W/out even the experience to appreciate the crucial importance of the job he was “charged” to, he begins talking about “money!” & so here we are, unable to access truth, justice, unincumbered Liberties, economic opportunities, even our own government – because of money. NPR & its parent company, Corp. for Public Broadcasting, is currently enduring a blackmail campaign to allow more conservatives on air – as if there’s no place else for them to take their twisted perspectives. Otherwise, their funding will be cut even further! So they now have to curtail “truth-telling”, in order to receive adequate operational cash! Now, sounding like commercial broadcasters, there is no longer ANY media doing “real” investigative journalism. The miscalculation of “Citizens United”, if it doesn’t doom our Democracy, will weaken it to the point of impending disintegration. And if the government can no longer afford to inform its citizens of the importance of their engagement, the critical relationship between representatives & citizens & the essential need to keep a spotlite on corporations, the wealthy, the associations between government & all the above, as well as being able to enforce it’s (governments) own transparency, who will?! Meaning, the “invention” of the an American Democracy was simply a waste of time!!! If Americans don’t understand that we’re already in an entitlement society, by virtue of criminals destroying both government & the economy & laughing all the way to the bank, w/money stolen from the “state”, then we truly don’t understand the fundamentals of not only Democracy, but the rudimentary & consistent educational quality required to sustain it. On that note, observe how the only education Middle Class & poor Americans have access to – Public Education – championed by Thomas Jefferson, is an institution in ruins. THAT entitlement has been displaced by the entitlement allowing thieves, scam-artists & all sorts of other low-life, to occupy a greater national priority than the future of our nation – OUR children & their access to top-quality education, information & a level of intelligence which will allow them to create, w/their own minds & hands, a future they can share with the world, making it better in the process. The media has yet to report on this disparity & being nearly 100% corporate now, its little wonder why…

  • Inquiring Lynn

    Lyons, splendid! I hope that Jill means business as all should1 That apologising lie! However, we can apolosize about our wrong-doing whilst lauding our greatness.
    Jefferson,deist, was no friend of organized Christianity!
    Reactionaries prefer to call public schools government schools, overgeneralizing about failed schools. Spencer-Randians would take us on the road to serfdom whilst the regulated free market is the known moral ideal.