LOS ANGELES-What’s going on in Washington, D.C. is a joke these days. The only problem with that assessment is that there is no one laughing at the punch lines. First, the same man who tried for eight years to discredit President Barack Obama with all of those birther lies is now crying wolf that the media is putting out news that is fake.
Yeah, hypocrite. The media is called the “Opposition Party” because reporters actually have the audacity to question the President and the actions taken by his hackmen.
Throw in a rush to a multicultural, religious judgement travel ban that fringes on an alleged illegal framework, marinate on the termination of an Acting Attorney General who had the nerve to call a spade a spade, then top it all off with appointees confirmation hearings that turned out to be a circus, and you have one heck of a show.
It is not a show the American people want. Oh, that’s not to mention the Russian hacking scandal that somehow seems to have evaded the memories of members of Congress while subordinates in the federal government are under lock and key in regards to any dissent against the President.
America, this is not. This sounds and is playing out like a page from Adolf Hitler’s playbook. That is not somewhere the United States want to go. I don’t care if all of the GOP turn out to be the President’s own little puppets, the American people are not having it. The world is not having it. And certainly the media is not having none of this nonsense.
All of my life, I have heard that America is a country of laws. Well, if you voice your opinion opposite of the 45th President of the United States, it seems as if freedom of speech has become nothing more than a wasted exercise. It should not be. It cannot be. This is America.
This country is bigger than one man. It is bigger than one set of elected officials. It is bigger than one branch of government. Even two or all three. This is not the days of “Ozzie and Harriet.” Nobody is trying to go back to the back of the bus. Lest people forget, the world has changed.
It has evolved. So those trying to renew the interest of making this country an all-white power grab of autocracy have sadly miscalculated the united force that is the American people. The Civil War is supposed to be over, right?
It’s only been two weeks and already massive demonstrations rallying against the so- called “Muslim” travel ban and women’s rights rallies worldwide have taken place.
What’s next? An executive order to do away with other ethnic groups’ rights to protest? Will a full-blown blockade on minorities’ voting rights and other civil liberties come into affect? Are we to serve the President or is the President to serve the best interest of the American people? And what sector of the American public do that include or exclude?
In saying all of that, there have also been underestimation of the power of the press. The media can build you up. The media can also tear you down. It doesn’t matter who you are. Look at what happened to former Presidents Richard Nixon and to Bill Clinton.
I take very seriously what I do as a professional journalist. Most of my colleagues in the media do as well. We don’t wake up in the morning looking to deceive people. We don’t walk around and purposely seek to create lies and trying to find ways to destroy people’s lives.
Our profession is steeped in integrity. Character and credibility means everything to us. A reporter or a member of the media is only as good as his or hers last story. Every story is an audition before the public. If there is one profession that will keep you humbled, it is being a member of the media.
There is no such thing as having an off-day. You have to be on all the time. A factual error or a misspelled name calling for a retraction will get you rebuked and yelled at by your bosses. And it had better not happen too many times or else you will find yourself in the unemployment line.
Our jobs in the media is to bring out information pertinent to the general public. That means sometimes going through logs and logs of pages of numbers, court filings, legal jargon and other stuff at times to explain it all just so a seventh grade student can understand what we’re talking about.
At times, that can be uncomfortable for people we report on. Sometimes that means finding politicians trying to intimidate members of the media through public berating or flat-out denying access to day-to-day beat reporters.
Elected officials and others who have made their living off of the media forget that the hands that fed them are also the hands that will come back and bite them. Being a member of the media is not some punch line you can throw at people to make a mockery out of our profession.
The media are the gatekeepers to the truth whether people accept it or not. We are the watchdogs who stay awake to keep guard against the rails of tyranny, unfairness, lack of justice, discrimination, racism, facism, intimidation or any other type of wrongdoing.
We, the members of the media, though we are not perfect, are the check and balances to keep governments accountable for their actions and have the ultimate wielding power to stifle them from running roughshod over its people. There is a reason why freedom of the press is included in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Our voices matter. You can’t fire that fact.