Wednesday, January 25, 2017
A Media Lesson for Donald J. Trump, POTUS….
“The Press" as it is called used to be newspapers and magazines/journals exclusively in print. When the concept of the "4th Estate" was established it was hundreds of years ago when Thomas Carlyle attributed the origin of the term to Edmund Burke, who used it in a parliamentary debate in 1787 on the opening up of press reporting of the House of Commons of Great Britain. Burke said, "...there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters' Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all." Meaning that the people should know about the goings on of government and to use the press to hold them accountable.
This concept was the foundation of our Bill of Rights, in that the 1st Amendment guarantees freedom of the press; the Founding Fathers knowing that in a new democracy the right of the people to know about their government and to hold them accountable was paramount.
Today there is a very different "Press", mainly because of technological developments far beyond Gutenberg. One thing to keep in mind is that a legitimate "press" should always question government about its actions, report those actions to the people, uncover misdoings of government and hold those and them accountable for their actions.
There are plenty of reasons to hold "opinions" about politicians and government and to publish those opinions identified as such. However, the people often see these opinions as news when they are not, see them as fact when they are not and also see them as bias when they are not.
The internet is full of things that are also associated with "the press" when they are not. Today any individual or group or organization can offer up their opinion and make it look like fact. They can sway their "facts" to represent any type of leaning, accuracy be damned as long as it gets their view point across and panders to their audience. It is difficult to weed out the good from the bad, the truth from fiction. A responsible citizenry should be able to honestly know the differences, measure the information, seek the truth and act accordingly. Democracy isn't a one-way street; it takes active participation on everyone's part.
Always ask questions, hold a contrarian's judgement on the things that seem not to be right and hold accountable those who would usurp the right of the people to an open and honest government; this facilitated by an informed populace aided by a free press.
So, Mr. President, if you don’t want media scrutiny of your claims and outlandish assertions, like the Inaugural was the biggest ever or the popular vote was corrupted by fraudulent voting, don’t make those statements.
Best Regards, ... SF