Journalism

‘The Nineties” Series On CNN, Another Decade Series, Following “The Sixties”, “The Seventies”, And “The Eighties”

CNN has begun this evening a multi-part series on “The Nineties”, shown over a period of two months on Sunday evenings.

It follows up on earlier series on “The Sixties”, shown in 2014; “The Seventies”, shown in 2015; and “The Eighties”, shown in 2016.

All aspects of each decade are shown, including politics, foreign policy, culture, journalism, and social change.

This series, as the three earlier ones, is well worth your attention.

Journalist Dan Rather A True Profile In Courage: From Richard Nixon To The Bushes To Donald Trump!

Dan Rather, the long time anchor of CBS News from 1981 to 2005, is now 85 years old, but still in the battle for the truth and freedom of the press.

Rather fought against President Richard Nixon during the Watergate Crisis in 1973-1974, confronting him openly at a press conference, and was on Nixon’s enemy’s list.

Rather confronted George H W Bush in 1988 about Ronald Reagan’s Iran Contra Scandal, leading to the two men shouting at each other.

Rather exposed the fact in 2004 that George W. Bush had been reading magazines and avoiding National Guard duty during the Vietnam War, and for that, he was forced out as anchor in 2005.

Now, Rather is already exposing and condemning Donald Trump in his lies and deceit, and pointing out what any intelligent, sane person sees, that Donald Trump is an extremely dangerous man to America’s civil liberties, including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly.

Dan Rather has devoted his life to journalism, and is a true hero, who should be applauded and supported in the struggle to preserve American democracy!

The Need For Strong Backing Of Journalism To Hold Trump’s “Feet To The Fire”!

It is urgent that all Americans realize the overwhelming importance of strong backing of major newspapers and magazines, as well as PBS, NPR, CNN and MSNBC to hold government leaders’ “feet to the fire”, to hold them accountable on government policy.

Donald Trump’s attack on the news media is an alarm bell in the night.

Without a free press, specifically print media and electronic media, our democracy can be taken away from us, and no journalist or media source can allow themselves to be intimidated, and must pursue the truth about government leaders and policies without fear of retribution.

If we lose freedom of the press, then our basic civil liberties are threatened, and that is why such organizations as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center and others like them, must be fully supported in fighting in court to prevent the loss of freedom in any form.

There are cynics about the news media, but such publications as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and major journals of opinion, both in print and online, must be vigilant and not allow themselves to be threatened, as they are the first line of defense for all Americans.

At the same time, CNN and MSNBC must work at being more accurate and less motivated for profit, as many Americans who do not read news online regularly, rely on them to do the job that we used to expect automatically from such media luminaries in the past, such as Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, and others, including Diane Rehm on NPR, who just retired, and will be greatly missed!

Censorship Beginning In Trump Era: Promotion Of Mistrust Of News Media, College Professors, Entertainment Industry As The New McCarthyism!

It is becoming clear that Donald Trump intends to declare war on the news media, calling them dishonest and out to promote propaganda, while it is precisely Trump and his “Alt Right” White House Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor Stephen Bannon, formerly of Breitbart News, which is working to establish mistrust among the American people toward their own media that dares to challenge and investigate the many shortcomings of Donald Trump and his cabinet appointees, and his future policies in domestic and foreign affairs.

Additionally, a plan to list college professors who are felt to promote a leftist agenda, a reminder of McCarthyism in the 1950s, has been started by a group termed “Turning Point USA” under the name “Professor Watch List”, to intimidate professors from having freedom of speech in their classrooms. So academic “witch hunts” are back, in order to advocate a right wing educational system.

And the usual attack on liberals in Hollywood and the broad field of entertainment, is also clearly beginning, as censorship and attacks on civil liberties and civil rights groups are being encouraged, to attempt a total crackdown on dissent.

The ultimate goal is to sow distrust and doubt in the fields of journalism, education including universities and colleges, and the entertainment industry, including criticism of the humor of “Saturday Night Live” and other programs on cable, television, and radio, as well as film.

All this is advocated as part of the “fake news” which helped to undermine the Hillary Clinton campaign for President in 2016.

With an authoritarian oriented President coming to office, many elements of our basic freedoms of speech and press, and even assembly, are clearly under attack.

40th Anniversary Of “All The President’s Men” Film: A Great Moment Of Investigative Journalism!

If it was not for Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, and the investigative journalism of the Washington Post four decades ago, we would never have learned about the illegalities of the Richard Nixon Presidency.

It was their courage and willingness to go where leads took them that held Richard Nixon and his administration accountable for the scandals that besmirched the Presidency, not just Watergate but many others.

The film, starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, came out forty years ago this week, and can be considered one of the very best political films ever produced.

Sadly, journalism has declined dramatically, and too much of it now is entertainment or sensationalism oriented, and this has caused the American people to lose confidence in the reliability and accuracy of journalists.

And newspapers and magazines in print have rapidly disappeared, a tragic turn in journalism, as online has become dominant!

Crazy, Out Of Control Donald Trump Or Right Wing Extremist Ted Cruz: Is This What The Republican Party Will Offer In 2016?

Billionaire Donald Trump has his biggest lead in polls yet with the latest poll showing him with 36 percent, a 20 point lead over Texas Senator Ted Cruz, with both of them being very scary and terrifying, at the thought of either being the Republican Presidential nominee!

Cruz is rapidly rising, despite his extremist right wing views, and the fact that almost no Republican Senator likes or respects him, making it clear that he would have very little support from his own colleagues, were he to be elected President.  He consorts with hate mongers and right wing extremists of all kinds, and makes no apologies for it.  He is a loose cannon, and again, reminds us so much of his look alike, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, of the infamous Red Scare of the 195os!

And then there is Donald Trump, who is crazy, out of control, and has attacked, insulted, and vilified just about everyone, and yet keeps public support in the polls!

What is the list of who Donald Trump has attacked, insulted, and vilified?  It includes the following:

Mexicans and Hispanics

African Americans

Muslims

Refugees

Immigrants

Women

Jews

The Disabled

Journalism in general

New York Times

Washington Post

Fellow Republican candidates for the Presidency—Lindsey Graham, Rick Perry, Scott Walker,George Pataki, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, John Kasich

Senator John McCain and former Governor Mitt Romney, past Presidential candidates

Former President George W. Bush

Bernie Sanders

Hillary Clinton

And the list goes on and on and on, and yet Trump has large audiences hanging on every word and insult, as if the nation has gone totally insane, at least based on his audiences and poll ratings!

Is America about to nominate a “Reality Star” of tremendous egotism and arrogance and narcissism, or a Senator who is disliked by everyone and is much further to the extreme Right than any candidate in the race?  And could either Trump or Cruz actually defeat Hillary Clinton eleven months from now?

If so, America is doomed for the long term future in domestic and foreign policy!

CBS’s Bob Schieffer Retires After 46 Years Of Journalism: One Of The Greats Who Will Be Missed!

A legendary journalist, CBS’s Bob Schieffer, who has hosted Face The Nation for many years, is about to retire at age 78.

Schieffer has been in journalism for 46 years, and has been a major figure in the success of CBS over the past four decades.

A total professional, and nice guy, who still had the toughness to ask the right questions in interviews, Schieffer never became the center of controversy as, sadly, other TV and Cable journalists have become in recent years.

Schieffer was the kind of journalist that gave his watchers, listeners, and readers of his several books, a sense of confidence that they were being told the “straight story”, with no holds barred.

He will be missed, and it will not be easy to replace him!

Fox News Channel: A Political Machine That Employs Journalists!

Fox News Channel and its chief executive, Roger Ailes, are a political machine for the conservative movement and the Republican Party which employs journalists who give up their principles for a big financial reward. It also employs former politicians who are in the make, to earn as much money as they can, and to hell with convictions or beliefs they had once held!

Ailes began his career in advocacy journalism under Richard Nixon, helped promote Ronald Reagan, and learned the power of advocacy journalism to promote one’s ideological agenda. And journalists and politicians have seen the money involved!

So we have such examples as:

Bill Hemmer, John Roberts, Ed Henry, Greta Van Susteren, Howard Kurtz–all formerly at CNN

Juan Williams, formerly of NPR

Former Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana; former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich

And this is just the “tip of the iceberg”, as many former journalists for NBC, ABC, and CBS have also moved to Fox, and tried to make its distorted view of the news and of the world become standard and believed!

A new book by Gabriel Sherman is making the case that Roger Ailes is the most important journalistic giant of the past half century, a figure on the scale of William Randolph Hearst.

So Fox News Channel is a massive challenge to its cable competitors, CNN and MSNBC, and already attracts more viewers than both of them combined.

So an important thing to remember is that when one is out to promote the truth about America and the world, being ignorant or unaware of Roger Ailes and Fox News Channel’s impact is to the detriment of their rivals!

Two Political Giants Pass From The Scene: Lindy Boggs And William Scranton!

In just the past couple of days, two Political Giants, one a Democrat and a woman, the other a man and a Republican, have passed from the scene, and their deaths remind us of the fact that there have been quality politicians in both parties, but the number who are such is rapidly declining!

Former Louisiana Congresswoman Lindy Boggs, the widow of former Congressman Hale Boggs, and the mother of ABC journalist Cokie Roberts, died at the age of 97. One of the greatest women ever to serve in Congress, she won her husband’s seat after he was tragically killed in a small plane over Alaska, with his body never being found, in 1972. Lindy Boggs served almost 18 years in her Louisiana House district, winning the last few times as the only white Representative in Congress to represent a majority black district. She served as the Chairwoman of the 1976 Democratic National Convention which nominated Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale. She was outspoken on the subject of civil rights, and was the first woman to serve in Congress from her state. Boggs also served as Ambassador to the Vatican, the Holy See, in the second term of Bill Clinton’s Presidency from 1997-2001.

And her daughter, Cokie Roberts, became a well known, outstanding journalist on ABC for a few decades, adding much to the profession of television journalism!

Lindy Boggs was truly an elegant lady, and a woman who stands out as one of the best ever to serve in the halls of Congress!

Just today, news came of the death of former Republican Governor of Pennsylvania, William Scranton at age 96, who became very prominent as a one term Governor from 1963-1967, after serving one term in the House of Representatives. A progressive or liberal Republican, and proud of that appellation, Scranton ran a last ditch Presidential campaign against fellow Republican, Senator Barry Goldwater, attempting to stop his nomination for President in 1964.

Scranton came from a wealthy family which had founded Scranton, Pennsylvania, and was an inheritor of a fortune made in iron, coal, and railroads. He brought about education reform, including the community college system in his state. He also served as UN Ambassador in 1976, the last year of the Gerald Ford Presidency, and also headed a committee to investigate the Kent State University and Jackson State College tragedies which occurred after the US invasion of Cambodia in 1970 under President Richard Nixon during the Vietnam War! He also was asked by Nixon to be his Secretary of State, but declined, and was considered to be Gerald Ford’s Vice Presidential running mate in 1976, but passed by for Senator Bob Dole of Kansas!

The loss of two principled, decent politicians, such as Lindy Boggs and William Scranton, is a loss to American politics, and we can only hope for more people entering politics with the kind of stature and dignity that these two individuals personified!

Death Of Journalist Michael Hastings At Age 33 A Loss Of Massive Proportions!

It was a shock to discover yesterday that journalist Michael Hastings, age 33, the person who exposed General Stanley McChrystal’s open criticism of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, forcing his retirement from the military, had been killed in an horrific auto accident in Los Angeles.

A journalist for Rolling Stone and Buzz Feed, Hastings had reported from Iraq and Afghanistan, and was a man of courage and convictions, and the author of two books on public affairs. It is ironic that he avoided harm in both wars, and was killed in Los Angeles by a traffic accident.

Hastings represented the best in journalism, true muckraking, exposing people in power for their short comings. The potential of his future contributions is impossible to measure! This death really has shaken the journalism community, and the author as well!