NEWS MEDIA MUST FIGHT TRUMP’s ‘FAKE NEWS’ LABEL

Please play this link until it gnaws away your last nerve.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-keeps-claiming-things-are-fake-that-arent-fake_us_5a6bc0c4e4b070d67df54d83?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

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 

BACKGROUND:

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.

PROBLEM:

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.

GOAL:

Increase public’s trust in the news media. Attain respected position in political process.

ACTIONS:

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.

CONCLUSION:

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 

THE CAMPAIGN:

While current campaigns and slogans from individual media are positive steps, a large-scale, united campaign would be much more effective.

ACTIONS:

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, donmooradian@gmail.com

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.

 

Advertisements

Sessions Moves to Make News Media a PR Department for President

Leaks to the legitimate news media are among the few tactics America currently has against the radical alt-Right Trump agenda. The people leaking (most of them) likely believe that releasing inside information is justified to counter the jerky descent (think of someone tumbling erratically down a steep bumpy cliff) into an authoritarian state never before seen in this country.

The news media needs to band together with a massive outreach effort to counter the label of “fake news.

Worse yet, and now more URGENT, is today’s warning from Attorney General Jeff Sessions that news/information leakers and their news media recipients/users will be prosecuted and punished.

Of course, there have always been guidelines, regulations, laws and judgments  regarding the use of anonymous sources and leaked information. The safety of American personnel and the safeguarding of important national security information needs to be respected.

However, Trump and his cabinet members are capable of onerous pronouncements and policies which run contrary to many (most) established protocols.

Whether Sessions intends to go after every leak–significant or not–is unknown. It should be expected that he will at least try to so as to control info coming from the White House and elsewhere and direct news narratives into favorable stories about the administration.

As I have long believed Trump is mostly egocentric (maybe psychotically so) and devoid of any core political beliefs. And although he has surrounded himself with some harmless sycophants (e.g. Ivanka), there are others–cabinet members, staff, business people, a few Congress members–with their own far-alt-right-to-fascist agendas who are now empowered to carry out those agendas. Trump is too ignorant or too enamored with them (and himself) to control or stop them in.

Civil liberties, the environment (meaning the ENTIRE planet), the economy, the health of U.S. citizens, issues of war and peace, freedom from HATE and so much more is now in jeopardy because some Americans wanted to return to some mythical good ol’ days (1950s? maybe even 1920s?) and others just believed an outsider businessman could create high-paying manufacturing jobs for them.

An outreach campaign by the news media has to be “outside” its own silos of supporters using billboards, direct mail and non-traditional placements of messages. This needs to begin immediately because Trump and his enabled supporters and administrators are already dreaming of a new America in which the traditional, legitimate news media is nothing but a PR arm of the Presidency.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jeff-sessions-leaks_us_59807a57e4b08e1430058d5a

MSM influence is Slip-sliding Away

A  PARADIGM  HAS  SHIFTED and the traditional news media will never return to the good old days of civil discourse in the marketplace of ideas. Professional and honest news people, regardless of their political inclinations, must now contend with a growing number of crazed or crooked posers and provocateurs. The marketplace has become so confused that many people, even those trying to, cannot discern the difference between real and fake news.

And while this is not be the first time news media have faced criticism from politicians, the current assault by the Trump administration and others exhibit overtones similar to those found as part of or prelude to repressive governments in less democratic countries.

Some news organizations (CNN, New York Times, MSNBC) are beginning to run ads promoting their vital Fourth Estate role in America.  HOWEVER, THERE IS AN URGENT NEED FOR A UNITED FRONT BY ALL TRADITIONAL, LEGITIMATE NEWS OUTLETS.

News industry companies and associations need to act now to reach every level of society and regain the respect and attention the Fourth Estate requires to remain viable in our democracy. All the changes the news media has experienced in the past decade in terms of delivery platforms, eyes-on-the-page and credibility are small compared to the catastrophic hammering it is taking now.  Although readers and viewers are growing in some areas, there is a real danger of losing credibility with vast swaths of demographics for years, possibly generations, to come.

A MASS MEDIA CAMPAIGN WITH A SET OF UNIFIED MESSAGES AND APPEARANCE IS NEEDED TO BREAK THROUGH THE NOISE FOUND ON-AIR, ONLINE, IN PRINT, AT THE WATER COOLER AND ACROSS THE DINNER TABLE.