Please play this link until it gnaws away your last nerve.
Significant investigative journalism from The New York Times, The Washington Post and other major (and some not-so-major) news organizations is an essential check to the dangerous erosion of democratic principals and the rollback of important policies taking place under the Trump administration and the concurrent complicit Congress.
However, many Americans – roughly 50 percent of the voting population – does not trust legitimate news organizations, in part due to a constant barrage of badmouthing from Trump. Trump calls any unfavorable news “fake news” and tens of millions of people believe him. TENS OF MILLIONS.
No matter how insightful or revealing a news story might be, if Trump supporters don’t believe it or don’t ever see or hear about it, the story is of little value in earning back their trust. And while such stories might motivate some Congressional fence-sitters, they and the true-nonbelievers typically play to the disgruntled base of Republicans who support Trump through thick and thin.
So in addition to the news stories, the legitimate press needs to get out of the defensive mode and mount a counter-offensive against the “fake news” attacks.
Major news outlets and journalism organizations needs to band together now.
PROPOSAL FOR A CAMPAIGN DEFENDING FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
Public trust in the news media hit a record low in Sept. 2016, according to Gallup.
For years, the news media has weathered sustained attacks by the right-wing pundits, supporters and news outlets, especially those fueled on fear and devoid of facts.
New technologies and social media have given individuals—be they high profile or totally anonymous, knowledgeable or wholly ignorant— unprecedented reach and, in some case, prominence in the marketplace of ideas.
President Trump, during the 2016 election process and since his election, has attacked the news media relentlessly, particularly when presented with unfavorable news stories about him or his administration. He has called legitimate news outlets “fake” and on Feb. 17, 2017 tweeted that the news media was “the enemy of the people.”
With the communications capabilities of a large media company within the reach of his two thumbs and a Twitter account, President Trump is dangerously dismissive of and hostile toward facts, justifiable questions and critical observations.
All of the above-mentioned factors create immense challenges if not outright existential threats to Freedom of the Press and American democracy itself. Under today’s unique political circumstances, it is essential that the Fourth Estate regain and exercise the vital role it plays in this nation’s governing machinery which has become too large and complicated for any one individual or institution to monitor and explain to the citizenry.
Hard-hitting investigative pieces, important as they are to exposing incompetence and corruption in the Trump administration, are distrusted or ignored by many of his supporters. In-house ads and PSAs promoting Freedom of the Press, critical and clear thinking do little to reach the people who need it most. More urgently needs to happen.
Increase public’s trust in the news media. Attain respected position in political process.
1> Restore trust in news media with mass media and social media outreach campaigns.
2> Promote the professionalism and practices of legitimate journalists and news outlets.
3> Design a fair and consistent system of fact-checking major speeches, reports, etc.
4> Maintain a steady flow of accurate news that is fair to everyone yet fearful of no one.
Freedom of the press was wisely included in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. That freedom must not be intimidated or impeded because the very Constitution which enables the amendment also relies on the amendment for its continued existence.
DETAILS FOR A CAMPAIGN DEFENDING FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
While current campaigns and slogans from individual media are positive steps, a large-scale, united campaign would be much more effective.
1>>> The campaign should explain why the First Amendment and Freedom of the Press are essential in a thriving democracy.
> Themes should include: government transparency, accessibility and accountability; real news versus fake news; critical thinking; freedom from intimidation; and other related issues.
> The campaign should use traditional mass media (television, newspapers, radio, billboards, bus boards, direct mail, etc.) and social media with a consistent logo, style and messages.
> Since many Americans use only sources that reinforce their social/political beliefs, placement of ads should be in unexpected places such as sports or entertainment environments and “outside” using billboards, bus boards, etc.
> The message should be straightforward and bold (e.g. “TRUTH IS OUR DUTY” or “PRESS FOR THE TRUTH” [if available]). Much research already exists to help create effective messaging.
2>>> Explain to the public that today’s professional journalists have solid educations; understand their subject matter; seek out multiple, reliable sources; fact check; accept oversight from experienced supervisors and will correct mistakes.
> Furthermore, freedom of the press is worthless if not tied inextricably to a professional and ethical obligation to be accurate and truthful. Journalists are not perfect, so the public needs to be reminded that reporters almost always pay a price for their mistakes.
> The industry should identify reporters and news organizations that adhere to a code of ethics and professional standards as outlined by several news associations and organizations and display such designations just as other professionals do (e.g. CPAs).
3>>> News organizations need to offer the public a basic, agreed-upon industry-wide “fact-check” system displaying the accuracy of stories, reports and speeches. It should focus on national, state and local officials and, importantly, the news media itself.
Submitted: Don Mooradian, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am not selling anything and have nothing to gain from this proposal other than the satisfaction in having tried to counter the dangerous Trump agenda and the lunacy that is overtaking the United States of America.