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Could public pressure reform the media?

December 4, 2017

Words have consequences. For instance, they can tank the stock market, as happened on Friday.

By now everyone has probably heard that one of ABC’s stars and certainly its highest paid one has been suspended for an “inaccurate” report  that stated that “candidate” Trump instructed Michael Flynn and others to make contact with the Russians, which would mean during the campaign.

Actually Flynn did that as part of the President-elect’s transition team.  According to the dates given in conjunction with his guilty plea, the first such contact occurred more than a month after the election, and less than a month before the inauguration.

Although few President-elects have been as public with their transition duties as Donald Trump, not one ever waited until noon on January 20 to begin to reach out to foreign leaders and governments. To do so would be asinine.

There is little doubt that Mr. Ross intended his report as a hatchet job.  After all, one presumes he can count forward from November 8 and is arguably smart enough to understand the differences between a campaign and a transition.

Even the FBI didn’t make the leap that merely contacting or attempting to contact another government during the transition period was illegal. What was illegal is that Flynn stupidly lied to them about it while under oath.

But that’s a discussion for another time.

The real story here is that ABC (apparently) visited some pretty severe discipline upon its media star. The network even issued a somewhat self-serving statement about doing it to preserve “journalistic integrity”, two words seldom conflated today.

Maybe that was due in part to the revelations concerning just how sleazy the media and other workplaces are, and how much went into covering that up.

Or maybe it was due to the top brass not wanting to be held responsible for a stock market crash over a lie.  After all, their portfolios were being affected too.

But maybe, just maybe, it’s beginning to dawn on them that the public, given a full slate of information, can form opinions of its own. Opinions that increasingly hold the media accountable for accuracy and yes, fairness.

Opinions that recognize that if you pay no Federal income taxes, you probably won’t get a tax break, for instance. No one is buying the 1% meme anymore, especially when it comes from the one-percenters themselves.

Opinions that are now seriously wondering what, besides a bordello culture, the media is really  hiding.

It will take a lot more than one person’s four-week suspension without pay to restore the slightest semblance of trust in the media, especially given that they still seem set on  invalidating the people’s choice.

Still, it’s a goal to work toward.

From → op-ed

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