36 Days to Go: Journalists, Do Your Job!

If/when we beat the hell out of Donald Trump electorally, his replacement and the replacements for all of the Republicans we oust in his wake, will have a lot to do, if they’re to bring the government and society as a whole back to something resembling “normal.” And one f the most important of those things will be to uproot and destroy the “Fake News” infrastructure that has been established in the Trump era.

You see, I have always been a Barack Obama fan, since before we elected him. However, when I was asked why I liked him, I always told the truth when I answered. If you click on “the Obama Legacy” above, you will see the fruits of that attempt; a list of accomplishments by his Administration, along with a citation to prove each one. There was no way I would ever just claim that Obama was great at the job and not prove it.

Compare that to the Trumpers. They simply say he’s great. When you ask them to show you an example, however, they’re stumped. It’s not their fault, of course, it’s the fault f the Fake News apparatus that Trump depends on to propagate his bullshit. One of his latest campaign ads is but one example of the level of crap involved in trying to keep the Trump era going beyond its spoil date. In it, there is a short clip of Je Biden saying he plans to “raise your taxes,” sans context. This, despite the fact that Biden has repeatedly said he would never raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 per year. Then, the ad switches to Trump’s non-existent record, in which he claims to have “created” 10.6 jobs in the last four months, which is a joke. The ad also claims he “saved the economy once” and is “doing so again,” which another false claim. The economy didn’t need “saving” when he took office; he came into office during the longest economic expansion in history, and he was apparently unable to derail it, although he certainly tried, with his asinine massive tax cut for the rich that has added $1 trillion or so to the annual budget deficit, a sign that our economy isn’t and wasn’t as strong as the Fake News apparatus has claimed, even before his disastrous approach to the pandemic happened.

Consider this; a major journalistic organization, The Washington Post, has a section called “Fact Checker,” which keeps track of lies made by politicians, and the bulk of its activity has been devoted to Trump and his “Fake News” apparatus. As I write this, the last article corrects a mistake made by Biden in his claims about Trump’s tax policies, but the bulk of the articles are about Trump supporters’ tendency to make shit up about Biden, like whether or not he used a teleprompter during a TV interview. But the highlight of the “Fact Checker” section is the running count of lies told by Donald Trump during his time as president. We are now 44 months into this fiasco, and he had already topped 20,000 documented lies before the 42nd month was up. That comes to abut 16 lies per day, and he has actually been accelerating the amount in more recent years.

And yet, when Trump says something outrageous during a rare press conference or during an interview, the “Fake News” apparatus simply amplifies it. Few journalists ever actually challenge him on anything in real time. Part of this is because they claim they will lose access, but really, one has to wonder. If he does ban them from the White House, isn’t that a story?

It’s way past time for journalists and their editors t d their jobs and report on everything that goes on, even if it entails a risk to access to some newsmakers. If an obviously crooked politician knows they can get you to toe the like by making access to them contingent on that, that is exactly what they’ll do. Many journalists have given their very lives to report a story they felt the public needed to hear. That means, reporters who report what the crooked politician wants them to, do a disservice to the people they actually work for, which is the public who consumes their journalism.

That is something that will have to change when we oust Trump and put a real President in office. Journalists have to return to doing their jobs and acting like they actually value their role as the third rail of government. It’s time politicians had minders again, not megaphones.

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