Journalists must tell it like it is

  • You’re to blame: as US President Donald Trump points to CNN’s Jim Acosta, a White House aide tries to take the microphone from him during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, on November 7, 2018, in Washington (Photograph by Evan Vucci/AP)

    You’re to blame: as US President Donald Trump points to CNN’s Jim Acosta, a White House aide tries to take the microphone from him during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, on November 7, 2018, in Washington (Photograph by Evan Vucci/AP)


They say “fair is fair” or, otherwise put, “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”.

News and journalism are meant to be objective and impartial. I hear CNN is losing viewers and, as one such viewer, I may be able to attest to why.

First, they are a highly credible news source who rarely get it wrong and when they do, they usually come back quickly with a correction.

So, if they are credible, one may ask: what’s the problem?

Well, for me, the news became too depressing; I got “Trumped”. Not that the news was unbelievable; rather, what is alarming is that it may be true.

America at one time was a beacon of hope in a world that identified with truth and democracy as an ideal.

Yes it was a work in progress, which often fell short of its own ideals. Notwithstanding from time to time its leaders rose to articulate the higher truths of its mission, which restored people’s faith in the American dream and constitutionality.

When you have a leader that seems to be peeling back the Constitution letter by letter and page by page, it throws cold water over the whole notion of a democracy of equal branches of government and even the notion of living for truth.

CNN is not responsible for what turns up as news; it can’t orchestrate events to enable a news story. It can only report what it sees or hears. I suppose there is no other way of describing cow dung except in its familiar vernacular.

When the news piles up and the news anchors are not making a joke about the most powerful leader on Earth, but rather are passing information that should otherwise be a joke as actual news reporting, it is demoralising to the extent that overexposure can be harmful to one’s health.

Hence the inclination to turn off the news to prevent insanity is an inevitability. The poor news anchors caught up in this daily delivery of bad news are unwittingly being sucked into a tit-for-tat battle with the President and have become hosts to a “reality” news broadcast show.

CNN has become the Trump “Show ’N Tell” with little other news to report. Somehow, it can’t be true that the only news is Trump news.

Would it not be a pity if in fact the only real accelerator of news is Trump.

For example, when we think globally we take note of a possible war with Iran. We hear of US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Kim Jong Un testing ballistic missiles, and the trade war with China. So, from a news angle, it becomes a carved-up global affair that has the fingerprints of one man on everything.

Will a magnanimous leader arise, one that has similar global implications but for the common good? Or will the Democrats’ response be that of a leader sucked down the same rabbit hole of narrow nationalism, even if espousing diversity in the new tide of nationalism?

None of the what’s happening in America is helping Bermuda. It gives some the justification not to seek or aspire towards higher and more accountable governance.

The times truly call for leadership with a depth of character because when they look to the West, they find no example.

Then, looking to the East, we have the potential break-up of the United Kingdom with the serial resignations of prime ministers who found it impossible to lead and whose next leader will probably find it just as difficult.

The south offers no example, either, with two leaders making news in the European courts for fraud. It will take depth of character for any local leader not to become complacent and rise above mediocrity.

News is news, and the job of journalism is to tell it like it is. The media in the United States were given the status and were protected by the Constitution as the fourth estate.

In some measure, news organisations are as committed to protecting their role as any other branch of government, and perhaps more visibly.

It will be an interesting observation to witness the outcome of broadcast news in the United States as it either battles or aligns with the executive branch of the Government.

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Published May 29, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated May 29, 2019 at 8:01 am)

Journalists must tell it like it is

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