Conservatives have criticized the press relentlessly since the election of President Trump. After being blindsided and embarrassed during the election liberal journalists launched an all out effort to disparage the new president. In this process major newspapers and TV news programs continuously blur the generally accepted line between reporting and commentary.
Over the years newspapers have segregated commentary in their editorial and opinions sections. The other parts of the newspaper theoretically reported factual information to keep readers informed.
Readers understand that when a reporter writes a piece a certain amount of bias colors the facts, but it’s not a big deal. When newspapers become a platform for reporters to express their political opinions and to denigrate those that have different political perspectives, they go beyond the protection afforded to the press by the Constitution. These actions aren’t in the public interest even if reporters believe readers aren’t intelligent enough to formulate their own opinions about current events.
One of the most egregious techniques that has become increasingly prevalent in reporting is the use of information from unnamed and anonymous sources. These bastions of slander, gossip, exaggeration and innuendo are rampant in newspapers and on TV. They make governing by both liberal and conservative politicians extremely difficult.
Moreover unsubstantiated accusations by these sources are fodder for political rabble-rousers who are always delighted to initiate scandal even if they turn out to be untrue. President Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia by as yet unnamed sources is a perfect example of journalistic misbehavior. So far there is no evidence that Trump personally tilted the elections with the help of Putin’s henchmen. Yet the liberal press has written nonstop stories about it and inspired at least three separate congressional investigations of the allegations including one by a special counsel.
Exacerbating the problem is the constant flow of leaks (by members of both liberal and conservative administrations). These acts are illegal when they involve top-secret information. Yet newspaper journalists gobble up and report these regurgitations by unnamed sources.
The problems resulting from treasonous activities are significant. Most importantly is that they may jeopardize the lives of people and foreign and domestic objectives of our government. And responses to hearsay dominate the valuable time of our leaders and lawmakers that would be better spent on important issues affecting our nation.
The press hides behind the skirt of the Constitution. Any efforts to lessen the ability of the press to report (truth and lies) are vigorously litigated by their attorneys. In the meantime laws are being broken by the sources of information that reporters want to protect.
Journalists should be held accountable for the actions of felons who steal information and use them to report it. Both parties are culpable in this crime. The felony committed by the leaker should not be a freedom for the communicator.
Frankly Donald Trump’s assertions about fake news are not as far-fetched as the press would have us believe.