Trump’s karma is enough to make Jon Ossoff win Georgia Senate
Why this investigative journalist should win a Senate seat
Jon Ossoff is interesting for many reasons. The small business owner may connect with other SBAs. His upbringing in Atlanta may get him a few cool points from other residents. For women’s rights advocates, it certainly doesn’t hurt that his wife is an OB/GYN physician (who also grew up in Atlanta). But what really makes my mouth form into a Cheshire grin is his career background as an investigative journalist, specifically because Trump hates pretty much all journalists (including some from his favorite [questionable] news station).
According to Ossoff’s website, he’s served as the CEO of Insight TWI, a 30-year-old media production company “that investigates corruption, organized crime, and war crimes for international news organizations.” And Insight produced documentary films and television programs such as “Africa Investigates” — a docu-series exclusively featuring African reporters. You mean to tell me what Trump views as a place with “shithole countries” has journalists? Count me in!
Maybe you’ve already seen the docu-series episodes for Liberia (Episode 1), Zimbabwe (Episode 2), Nigeria (Episode 3), Ghana (Episode 4) or Uganda (Episode 5). I’ve seen none of the above, but I was particularly interested in stories like fake doctors in Nigeria and the complex relationship between China and Africa. Whether you have or not, it’s worth noting that Ossoff is someone who didn’t just hire a bunch of outsiders to cover this particular continent. Ossoff gave African journalists a chance to do the job themselves. Too often, outsiders come into a particular news story with their own set biases about the people and the location. Coverage of a story certainly helps when it’s someone that the interviewees feel they can relate to — even if they’re still going to unearth some unfriendly details. If you cannot name five African journalists off the top of your head, this kind of docu-series is your time to learn some.
Georgia — and journalists — on my mind
Georgia voters know the pressure is on to get votes for the Reverend Raphael Warnock, as well as Ossoff. After more than 10 court cases; multiple recounts in Wisconsin, Georgia and Pennsylvania; and a straight-up temper tantrum via letter from the General Services Administrator Emily Murphy, former president Donald Trump finally agreed to allow the release of transitional documents and funding for President-Elect Joe Biden.
But whenever I think of Ossoff, I think of how journalists have been treated under Trump’s presidency. Let’s put aside the fact that his camp doesn’t seem to understand the difference between a press conference and activism. Let’s talk about how he refers to journalists as “scumbags” who he believes “should be executed” and jailed so they must release unnamed sources. Let’s talk about his lack of comprehension for understanding the difference between “dishonest” versus “skeptical.” Let’s talk about him being oddly jealous of reporters getting airtime for asking him questions and threatening to turn off the cameras. Let’s talk about him gleefully making fun of how law enforcement were grabbing onto self-described reporters and how they “threw him aside like he was a little bag of popcorn.” His description of the latter event? It was “actually a beautiful sight.”
Even when journalists insist on doing their job (ex. Yamiche Alcindor) by asking tough questions, Trump has passive aggressively told women like her to “be nice” and not “be threatening.” This condescending lecture is the equivalent of fluffing investigative journalists on the heads. (Even entertainment celebrities don’t talk to entertainment reporters like that.) Contrary to Trump supporters’ beliefs — who have matched his energy when it comes to hating the media — investigative journalists are not hired to be anyone’s best friends.
While interviews are not supposed to feel like one long questioning from an attorney granted the opportunity to treat a witness as hostile, journalists also have a duty to double-check what interviewees say and get the real story. It’s not an entertainment report. It’s not soft news. It’s not a media press release. It’s not an ad promo. It’s not your mom’s backyard BBQ. The whole idea of the job is right in the name: investigative journalism.
So the idea of a black man — a reverend at that, which Trump knows zero about considering the odd way he holds a Bible — and a white journalist — who covers “shithole” countries and real news — (potentially) winning the last two seats in the Senate would be poetic justice. Georgia, I truly hope you register to vote (deadline Dec. 7), early vote (starting Dec. 14) and vote in the local run-off election on Election Day (Jan. 5) with the same energy that you did for the presidential election. We’re counting on you.
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