The Press Must Be Free – With Responsibility for Reporting Facts, Unless in Editorials

In an article that ran from AP in the Taipei Times on Jan. 1, 2018 (“Journalists came under further threat from governments last year”), it is reported that the press is under assault around the world. This has been true for a very long time, in particular among the world’s worst despotic governments, Communist China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, and in other Capitals of such ilk. The article goes on to complain about President Trump. Freedom of the press is sacred in America, always has been, always will be. But in the U.S. at present there is war between left leaning and conservative news organizations, and the current government, signified by manipulation of stories on all sides.

For instance, it is naive to believe that a “philanthropist” like George Soros, with billions of dollars at his disposal and a socialist agenda, does not use the press (like Bloomberg, and Project Syndicate (a supposedly charitable foundation which is instead simply a pro-socialism organization dedicated to promoting socialism and mass migration in the US, and in Europe, on the general theory that tens of millions of migrants who are unfamiliar with free capitalistic systems, such as in the US, would support highly leftist views)) to manipulate the news to suit his agenda. I have complained about Soros-promoted articles (under Project Syndicate) on these very pages because of the canard they continuously promote that America is evil and China is blissful. What’s that about? Free speech is free speech. They have the right to write it, we have the right to criticize it.

That said, of course governments cannot arrest journalists for speaking opinions, and those arrests are the hallmark of totalitarian regimes, like in China, Russia, Turkey (not a democracy these days), Iran or many other tyrannies. The free press is the foundation of freedom and holding the government and its parties and their members accountable for their policies and actions. The more vibrant the press is, the less likely a government can violate the law. In the US, the Constitution and its law fully supports the freedom of speech, whether by the press or anyone else.

In a democracy, when journalists have the right to speak their opinions, and when they promote opposition to the government, of course the government can respond with criticism, not arrests. This article reports Trump is sowing distrust in the media for claiming unfair treatment, but when 80% of the media focus only on leftist criticism of the government there is already distrust because it is one-sided.

In the US, the press is wide ranging, very free, and there is no threat of arrest for writing articles. I am truly sick and tired of ultra-left press like CNN, Washington Post, NY Times, Newsweek complaining about the President criticizing them for “fake news”, when 75% of their coverage is aimed at what many people consider matters of their the reporters’ opinion, not fact.

Reporting in the United States has essentially stopped, and it has been replaced by opinion reporting, which means that there is very little reporting the facts that lets the people decide their own opinion and more of reporters reporting their own opinions, as though that is news – it isn’t. Reporters cannot help inserting their opinions in almost every story. My Blog is an opinion blog, it doesn’t pretend to be reporting. CNN cannot say that, yet almost every article is dripping with opinions, almost as though its reporters have not been schooled in the art of objective reporting. There seem to be no ideals except “kill the other side at all costs”.

Truthfully, I don’t care what their opinion is, I only want the facts, just the facts. People have become so lazy, they want to be told what to think. Editorials are for that, not news articles. And most of the time, Trump’s argument is that reporters, trying to avoid opinionizing, instead report only those facts that support what their opinion would be, essentially showing half the story.

I’ll give you an example. Yesterday, in the Huffington Post, there was an article entitled “Trump Terminated All Members Of HIV/AIDS Council Without Explanation”. The title is designed to heap infamy on the President for supposedly being against the HIV/AIDS Council. But that’s not true. While the bulk of the article is criticism for the firings, in the middle of the article the following sentence is thrown in: “Also of note, during the Obama administration, nearly all of George W. Bush’s appointees were eliminated prior to new appointees being named.” In other words Obama did the same thing, because it is normal for a new President to get rid of the predecessor’s appointees and appoint his/her own members. In fact, the article also states: “One of those members ― Gabriel Maldonado, CEO of the Riverside, Calif.-based LGBT and HIV/AIDS group Truevolution ― told the Washington Blade, however, that “it is common for appointees to be terminated and for folks to kind of want their own people in.” So what’s up with the completely misleading title of the article, and what is Huffington Post trying to pull? This is a very small example of manipulating the media to promote a “fake” critique – you could call this “fake” news. This is basically using freedom of the press to “hide the ball” and sell propaganda for a social agenda, not reporting what happened. I don’t blame Trump for sacking Obama’s appointees. It is totally normal for a President to do. There are plenty of other things to blame him for. But the Huffington Post is guilty of misrepresenting the truth by omission when they know most people read the headline, not the article, especially scrolling through Yahoo News, where the article appeared near the top. It is disingenuous at best, blatant fraud at worst.

I can only name a few reporters out of thousands who have a reputation for being completely honest in their reporting. Truly. That is a very sad fact. I don’t want to know a reporter’s political choices. Objective reporting is a lost art. Reporters should be required to attend the Walter Cronkite School of Objectivity.

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