Friday, August 17, 2018

350 Newspapers In Unison, Denouncing The President

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With the rustling of pages, more than 350 newspapers denounced President Trump yesterday, because the president supposedly "opposes a free press."

Some journalists and newspapers, however, disagreed with the Boston Globe's collective effort to orchestrate the movement and called on the press to "not unite."

The fact that more than 350 newspapers did unite, and "collude" to publish anti-Trump editorials on the same day may, in fact, make his point.

"Collusion. Fake News."

Their hysteria and hatred have gotten ahead of their brains.

The Boston Globe led the pack in the great resistance toward the president yesterday.

They organized and orchestrated it. Not all followed, but hundreds of newspapers did. Most of the big papers did, but not all. The Wall Street Journal sat out the event. Others did as well.

Marjorie Pritchard, the Globe's deputy managing editor of the editorial page, led the effort. She told NPR, "This editorial project is not against the Trump administration's agenda. It's a response to put us into the public discourse and defend the First Amendment."

She said, "The press needs to have a voice..."

To the extent that they are losing "their voice", they can blame themselves. Most all surveys show the public has little to no confidence in the press. Her own statement underscores the point.

This "editorial project," as she calls it, may not be directed at Trump or his agenda, per se, but the hundreds of inches of print they publish every day are, for the most part, directed to undermine him and his agenda. And the public knows it.

The Globe's editorial page yesterday began with this: "Replacing a free media with a state-run media has always been a first order of business for any corrupt regime taking over a country."

They continued, "Today in the United States we have a president who has created a mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the 'enemy of the people'."

And they said this: "This is one of the many lies that have been thrown out by this president much like an old-time charlatan threw out 'magic' dust or water on the hopeful."

The Globe then quotes President John Adams: "The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom."

Shockingly, they are either ignoring...or are unaware and uninformed that Adams had a hostile relationship with the press.

Surely they know that. Don't they? Don't they investigate before they publish?

So hostile was the relationship that President Adams constantly expressed his concern that the press was compromising national security because of foreign influence on them and the way they were covering our national news. He was particularly worried about the French press.

In fact, Adams, our second president, signed into law the Sedition Act of 1798, which made publishing anything critical of the government illegal.

The Sedition Act was later reversed, but not by Adams.

It seems ironic to me that a united press, walking and talking in sync on the same day in opposition to the president in support of truth and liberty and freedom of the press would use John Adams as their banner carrier. He didn't like them either.

He believed in a "free press" just like Trump does, but neither believed the press should not be accountable.

Are Trump and Adams the only presidents who had a hostile relationship with the press?

A quick glance at history, which is apparently more than the Globe and their 350 followers did, shows that Trump's relationship is hardly "unprecedented" as they like to say.

President Theodore Roosevelt despised the press. He called them a "bunch of muckrakers" for their sensationalism and false reporting.

"The liar" Roosevelt said of the media, "Is no whit better than the thief, and if his mendacity take the form of slander, he may be worse than most thieves."

He was more eloquent than Trump but both said about the same thing.

In fact, President Teddy Roosevelt tried to sue newspapers for their coverage of the purchase of the Panama Canal rights. The courts stopped him, or he would have filed the suits.

President Theodore Roosevelt was also the first president to force reporters to submit their questions to him in writing. They hated it. Sometimes Roosevelt answered them and sometimes he ignored them.

FDR was the first president to use radio, and the press railed against it.

Then JFK came along and used television to broadcast news conferences. It's a matter of record, the press hated it so much they called it "anarchy" and longed for the good old days of FDR's cozy fireside chats.

Kennedy was friendly with some in the press and not friendly with others. Although his presidency began in a love relationship with the press, it ended very quickly. In fact, President Kennedy told the press during a speech at the Waldorf Hotel in New York that the "deadly challenge" facing America "imposes upon our society two requirements of direct concern both to the press and the president."

The two concerns were "greater accurate public information" and "greater official secrecy."

The Baltimore Sun reported the next day that Kennedy "has thrown overboard the wartime principles and practices which two world wars have justified."

You may recall the press was not kind to JFK during the "Bay of Pigs" episode. Nor should they have been.

Lyndon Johnson was hated by the press. And it was mutual.

Reagan managed the press as no other president has done in the history of our country. They hated many of his policies and they wanted to hate him---but they couldn't. They always ended up laughing---sometimes at themselves.

The Media doesn't need solidarity. It needs accountability.

There have been many media voices since Trump was elected calling for media solidarity.

Shortly after Trump was elected, a New York Times article said that "journalists should adopt a strategy of media solidarity."

Solidarity as an end in and of itself, is itself divisive. As a pastor, I have never seen unity achieved with unity as the end goal.

Christian unity is achieved, according to Scripture, by becoming "one in the Lord." The closer we get to God, the closer we get to one another.

In my humble opinion, the press needs accountability, not solidarity or unity.

To the degree that the press could divorce themselves from their personal bias, and strive to report the truth, to that degree they would achieve a kind of solidarity---not with one another, but with the truth itself.

This would create accountability.

Instead of whining about the president---any president---and labeling it "unprecedented" or calling for media solidarity, journalists should do their jobs---not in the name of social justice or personal pride, or gay pride or any other social agenda, but on behalf of the American people and the greatest nation in the history of the world.

While wishful, I'm not holding my breath for this to happen anytime soon. That's why we must...

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful.