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History

Is The Media A Watchdog Or Lapdog? It Depends On The Candidate

The mainstream press is supposed to be a watchdog on government.

 

Too bad it only does half its job by being selective of who it watches and scrutinizes.

 

In the last 20 months or so, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had enough thoughtless comments, shady dealings, and blatant lies, to tarnish their credibility. But it’s been obvious that the mainstream media picked sides. Not very professional for an industry that should focus on reporting the truth and giving all angles of the issues so that we can make the best informed decision.

 

Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal and two-sided, public-private positions definitely didn’t get the same attention as the accusations of Donald Trump being racist, sexist, and Islamophobic. And the American public was aware of it.

 

While the press focused on identity politics during the presidential campaign, the public was unaware of what is happening in Eastern Europe, Syria and the Ukraine. Along with NATO, the US is positioning and redeploying weapons systems, soldiers, and military equipment on Russia’s border. With Clinton blaming Russia for computer hacking, and the chess game of military movement in different regions of Europe and the Middle East, what would the next step be? An eventual war with Russia?

 

Green Party presidential candidate, Jill Stein, thought so.

 

“It is now Hillary Clinton that wants to start an air war with Russia over Syria by calling for a no fly zone. We have 2000 nuclear missiles on hair trigger alert. They are saying we are closer to a nuclear war than we have ever been. Under Hillary Clinton, we could slide into nuclear war very quickly from her declared policy in Syria,’’ Stein said (Real Clear Politics, Oct. 12, 2016).

 

Clinton, as Secretary of State, and our president, are responsible. But the way that the press reports on these conflicts, our government is free of any involvement. Check out alternative news websites and you’ll find out that our involvement is deep.

 

One thing is certain: the press is notoriously fallible. Throughout US history, the press made a lot of mistakes in its reporting techniques. The dirtiest election was the election of 1800. Newspaper editors supporting John Adams trashed Thomas Jefferson with nasty character assassinations, while editors supporting Jefferson did the same to Adams. (Check out the article: The Election of 1800: The Birth of Negative Campaigning in the US, mental_floss)

 

As newspapers competed for readers and advertisers in the late 1800s, a new form of journalism formed called yellow journalism. Stories were sensationalized, facts were twisted, and blatant lies were told to the public. In the process of gaining profits for their newspapers, media moguls William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer swayed public opinion and the US government to go to war with Spain in 1898.

 

History is not on the side of the journalism profession considering its tainted past. So, the only way to be critical of both sides in an election is to get your information from as many sources as you can. And always ask yourself if the mainstream press is giving you all of the information. With how the press backed Clinton, you’re not getting the whole story.

About pm

Teacher, writer, and freedom lover.

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