Fixing what’s wrong with America
I was going to write a piece about how the role of journalism had changed because of Trump. The reason we have Trump is the mistaken idea that there are rules about what the press can and can’t say. Those rules have stood in the way of the truth getting out to the people who need to hear it.
Reporters have a clear responsibility to what’s true and important. So we need to have information that helps us understand what it would be like to have Trump as commander in chief, because that’s one of the jobs he wants.
American journalism has a proper conflict of interest in that it must further the interest of America continuing to be America. That means the Constitution evolves, but does it slowly and with a lot of consideration. It means that there’s a wide variety of conflicting philosophies that coexist. It means that individual rights are protected even if the majority doesn’t agree.
Analogously, the San Jose Mercury-News, a news org based in San Jose, CA where I used to live, doesn’t have to be objective about San Jose. They are in favor of it. And American journalists are okay if they favor America. We want them to have that conflict of interest.
It isn’t up to Hillary Clinton to provide the reason we might or might not want Trump. That’s the job of the press. It’s one that they haven’t taken seriously enough in the recent past. There’s been a lot of false equivalence, leading to terrible things almost happening. Like defaulting on the country’s debt. We, as a country, didn’t fully appreciate the consequences of that, as it was about to happen. And that was a failure of the press. Luckily it did not happen because the Repubs weren’t that insane. But it was only a matter of time before the insanity fully blossomed to the point that even the Repubs are scared of it. That’s where we are now.
On last night’s Chris Hayes show, not only did Hayes fully embrace his conflict of interest, in favor of protecting the US from the insanity of the Trump candidacy, but a guest, Bob Garfield from On The Media, said what I was planning to say — it’s time for the media to stop with the false equivalence. We are all threatened by the lunacy of the Trump candidacy, including the press. We all have to act to make sure the country survives this. This is not a failure of both parties or of the American system. It’s a failure of American journalism. They don’t like to look at themselves, or take blame for their mistakes, and that’s okay as long as they stop making the mistake.
There’s still at least one other big problem. None of these people listen to non-reporters or non-politicos. None of them will read this post or care that a software developer has strong, perhaps insightful and passionately held positions based on love of country. Only a few voices are heard and their thinking suffers from inbreeding and in many cases lack of experience. They are the reason we are in this mess, not Trump and not the Repubs.
So I conclude we need to reboot blogging. I am finding that message is getting through, not to reporters but to other people who care. And I’m going to keep pounding my fist on the table and banging the drum until we are all heard, until we all hear each other. That’s the real fix for this bug, long-term.
Bottom-line: If the voters know what they’re really getting, i.e. press tells real story, and the voters want him, then so be it.