Old Cold War Joke:
American citizen: The reason it’s great to be an American is that I can make fun of my president and write bad things about my government all day long and there’ll be no repercussions.
USSR comrade: Oh, it is the same here in the Soviet Union.
USSRian: Of course. I can make fun of your president and write bad things about your government all day long and there will be absolutely zero repercussions.
Hahaha… Uhm, actually, it doesn’t seem funny any more.
Journalists in Russia these days have to be very carefully pro-Putin. It seems anyone who publicly disagrees with him somehow has something bad happen. The Russians seem to want to make that point so bad that they even once left a trail of radioactivity through London to kill one man (see here). Funny thing, when Fox News recently characterized Putin as a killer, Russia demanded (is demanding) an apology.
OK, Putin is bad. We all know that. So that makes the joke still relevant, right?
The media in the US is under attack. Alternate facts have become a huge deal. The thing that is bad is that this Administration lies about things that have no importance! Why does crowd size matter? Nobody would have talked about crowd size if the Administration wouldn’t have brought it up! And then there are things like the Bowling Green Massacre and all of those terrorist attacks that the media doesn’t talk about. Can you say fear-mongering? I knew you could.
I never, ever write overtly political stuff on my blog, but, to tell you the truth, I am both mad and frightened. I’ll let you research it on your own, but look up and read everything you can about Steve Bannon (start with Wikipedia here). He has been given unprecedented amount of power. Remember, this is a person who has spent a big chunk of his adult life pushing out extreme right (often to white nationalist and neo-Nazi) propaganda (he doesn’t deny this, only that he himself isn’t part of the “alt-right”). If this doesn’t scare you much more than the 1-in-3.6-billion chance of being killed by a Muslim refugee in America, then there is something wrong. OK, the insurance underwriters (people who make or lose money off of it) give it a 1 in 20 million chance for being killed by any type of terrorist activity. (Here are some stats for some of this). Many analysts feel much of the policy coming out of the White House is coming directly from him, which explains the latest Saturday Night Live spoof (Bannon as the grim reaper controlling Trump).
I want to write more but there are a few things. The first, I don’t have time to fact check everything. How can I write about misinformation if I don’t triple verify my sources without becoming a hypocrite? I can’t and I don’t have time to fact check. I have also noticed that a lot of the big issues are not as black and white as I thought before I started doing research. To be fair, I’d have to at least acknowledge the other point of view (I know, so few people do), but that would be even more time. And then there is the fact that I do not do political posts. Ever. OK, almost never.
Freedom of speech and a free and independent press to me are some of the greatest things about this country. Yes, I am a huge First Amendment fan. Look at history and how many things our press turned up that has helped us normal people. From automobile safety (about every safety feature on your car, from seat belts on up, are a result of the press) to the health issues with smoking, the press has been there. They discovered Watergate and uncovered every scandal you’ve heard of (which should be obvious). It is the sacred duty of journalists to keep the government honest and report to us when they aren’t. Soldiers may be what has kept us free from those attacking our soil, but the press is what has saved us from tyranny and oppression, from both our own government and from industry.
If you love your freedom, thank a journalist.
So when we see these attacks against journalists we need to ask ourselves why they are being vilified. What is being hidden? And then we need to remember that old cold war joke. The great thing about being an American is that I can make fun of my president and write bad things about my government all day long and there’ll be no repercussions.
Let’s hope it stays that way.
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I do not put up political posts, I hate putting up political posts, I do not want to put up political posts, but I will not apologize for putting up this political post.
disclaimer – I have friends who are or were journalists at many different levels. I know their integrity. When somebody calls them the lowest of the low, I take it personally. But since it is exactly those journalists that protect our freedoms, I believe we should all take it personally.