Why the country needs whistleblowers and a free media

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  1. Don W profile image82
    Don Wposted 6 years ago

    Do you remember when these statements were made?

    "Good morning ladies and gentlemen. The president has asked me, as his spokesperson, to tell you he was aware of the burglary at DNC headquarters in the Watergate complex, and he personally sanctioned the burglary".


    "The Department of Defense would like you to know that on March 16, 1968 approximately 504 unarmed civilians in My Lai, Vietnam were massacred by U.S. Army soldiers. The Army accepts full responsibility for the incident and the relevant legal procedures are in motion to bring the perpetrators to justice".


    "As spokesperson for the Third Reich, I'd like to inform the people of the world that we are currently engaged in the systematic extermination of Jews and others we believe to be inferior to the aryan race."

    Probably not, because obviously none of those statements were ever made.

    Instead all of the above events came to the public's attention through the news media.

    I think it was right for the public to be informed about those events.

    Do you think this statement would have been made:

    "Good morning ladies and gentlemen, the President wants you to know the FBI have found that his choice for National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, has been compromised by the Russian state. He also wants you to know that he was informed about this three weeks ago, but allowed Flynn to remain a member of the National Security Council, possibly compromising national security".

    I think it's unlikely. This story too, came to light mainly because of the news media. Is it as significant as some of the above incidents? Debatable. Does the public have a right to know if a senior security official has been compromised by a foreign state? Absolutely, and it does, mainly thanks to the media and a concerned whistleblower.

    This is why the news media (with all its faults) and whistleblowers are needed.

    It is also why the first thing dictators do when they get into power, is attack the free media.

    The founding fathers knew this. That's why the press is specifically mentioned in the very first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

    So no, the media is not the enemy of the people.

    A free media, armed with accurate information from a whistleblower, is the enemy of tyrants, despots dictators and criminals. Anyone in power who says otherwise, is a wannabe tyrant.

    1. Genna East profile image82
      Genna Eastposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      I quite agree, Don.  Nixon and Watergate pale in comparison to what might have happened between Russia and Trump/Campaign.  Now, it appears the President is trying to stonewall the press.   (I am often troubled by how his concern is often focused on what is legal as opposed to a breach ethics.) If it hadn't been for Woodward and Bernstein, we would never have known about Watergate.  And there were clearly laws broken when they were given information, aka "leaks." 

      I can't recall an administration that hasn't been annoyed with certain news outlets, from time to time.  But not one of them would seek to disparage the news media as a whole, by defining them as "an enemy of the American people."  The term, "unhinged," doesn't begin to qualify such a statement that is targeted to appeal to the fearful and uninformed.  Sadly, this appears to be more characteristic of the defensive rhetoric of a dictator who seeks to minimize opposition or the call from concerned citizens for an investigation into the facts.

      1. Don W profile image82
        Don Wposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        Well this term in particular, "enemy of the people", is associated with the Stalinist purges in Russia. The term was used to describe academics, artists and intellectuals critical of the regime. It was also a favorite of Mao Zedong.

        Trump is almost certainly unaware of the associations (mainly because he's culturally ignorant). Stephen Bannon, on the other hand, is not.

        Bannon is quoted as saying: "I am a Leninist . . . I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment"(1). To Bannon, certain parts of the media represent the "establishment".

        What's truly frightening is that you can see a straight line from Bannon's brain to Donald Trump's mouth. Trump has no idea about the historical significance of these associations. He's just saying what bannon tells him. Bannon is the threat. Trump is just a useful idiot.

        (1) http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2 … inist.html

        1. Genna East profile image82
          Genna Eastposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          I have always thought that Trump's friendship with Bannon is not unlike his former association with the ruthless and shameless, Roy Cohn, who was once Trump's long-time friend and mentor.  ("Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?")

    2. lions44 profile image96
      lions44posted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Great sentiments. Keep up the good work. We need it.  Thx.

    3. jackclee lm profile image82
      jackclee lmposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with your premise and I even wrote a hub on the same title.
      However, there is a difference between an honest press wanting to keep an eye on people in power and a dishonest press who try to distort and create news to advance an agenda.
      The media has been doing this for quite some time.
      In fact, during the Obama years, they turn blind eye to some of the unConstitutional and criminal acts of that Admin. I can give you a few examples, the IRS, and the immigration executive action, were criminal and unConstitutional, nothing was done by the media.
      On Trump, it was the opposite. During the primaries, they created the myth of this person who is sexist, racists...of Trump. They were false characature of him. Hence, the problem now. Now that Trump is the President, they continue this attack which were unfounded. They created this myth and now, millions of people have this false fear about Trump...
      It was created in part by the distortion of the media. They are biased from the start. 90% voted democratic. They attacked all republican candidates. It happened during the 2012 cycle with Mitt Romney. It is out in the open. They have created the bed and now they have to lie in it.
      The best thing that came out of this election, is exposing these media for the dishonesty.

      1. Genna East profile image82
        Genna Eastposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        Good morning, Jack.  I'm afraid I have to respectfully disagree.  The media certainly did report on Obama's 2014 immigration action, and the IRS issue was all over the media.  Regarding Mr. Trump, the media discussed voter opinions based on Trump's actions and rhetoric on the campaign trail, and before.  As a matter of fact, a number of them have said that they didn't think Trump was racist, despite his years-long campaign to claim that former President Obama was not a legitimate President while channeling the absurd birther movement.  I also wrote a hub on the media and the election results.

        https://soapboxie.com/us-politics/My-Op … al-Analyst

        1. jackclee lm profile image82
          jackclee lmposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          That is why were are here to discuss and disagree... I also wrote about the media and their dishonesty and bias...
          I am not a Trump supporter and didn't even vote for him this cycle. However, I call it as I see it. It is funny and sad to see the media going down in flames with TDS... They have lost total credibility and the contrast between how they treated Obama vs. Trump is glaring.
          The bottom line is, the media was played by Trump all along because he is the master at manipulation and the media finally met it's match. They have controlled the narative election after election, giving support to democrats and cover for them, while attacking republican candidates...
          Now, they met someone like Trump that does not cave.
          They are besides themselves and don't know what to do...
          They created this false narrative and now they must live with the consequences.
          The media is dead.

          1. Genna East profile image82
            Genna Eastposted 6 years agoin reply to this

            The media isn't dead.  Have there been exaggerations or in the past on the part of certain outlets?  Of course.  But that doesn't mean we throw the baby out with the bath water.  What I find especially interesting about your comment is that  this is exactly what Trump wants us to do.  This country needs the free press -- perhaps now more than ever.  I think Don has stated the reasons why, perfectly.

            1. jackclee lm profile image82
              jackclee lmposted 6 years agoin reply to this

              What I mean about the media is that they have lost all credibility with the public. When people don't trust you anymore, you might as well close shop. They went too far in attacking Trump and create false narratives and now they have no where to go but down.

              I also believe our country needs a free press as dictated by the Constitution.
              They are in charged with keeping an eye on our elected officials and keep them honest...
              They didn't do that during the Obama years, and now they have completely gone off the deep end.

              I hope you can see a difference between an honest independent press and a biased press as exhibited by the MSM lately...

              1. Will Apse profile image88
                Will Apseposted 6 years agoin reply to this

                The media and academia have both been targeted by the political right for the same reason. They both produce data-based, hard to refute information that can make it hard for powerful people to make money in business or acheive personal targets in politics.

                When the powerful cannot win an argument, they generally resort to bullying (lawsuits, political persecution, personal attacks etc) or campaigns of misinformation.

                Trump goes a lot further. He is seeking to destroy fact-based criticism altogether. Democracy cannot survive this kind of attack for long.

                1. profile image0
                  ahorsebackposted 6 years agoin reply to this

                  Think about this , Trump is fighting off both established , ingrained political parties AND a biased and disingenuous media    ALL three  .  And he is winning because  he is right and because of his following !     
                  You believe in one sided media and  B.S. from one party .

                  The powerful IS winning the  argument , truth and Trump .

                  Who is the strongest ?

                  1. Genna East profile image82
                    Genna Eastposted 6 years agoin reply to this

                    Trump is losing, which is a reflection of how he won the election by default in that 74% of all eligible voters never voted for him.  These recent campaign type rallies are to garner more support, and the adulation and attention he needs like the air he breathes, in light of his low approval ratings.  He's not "taking on" anything.  He is merely being Donald Trump.  He attacks anything and anyone who disagrees with him or calls him out on his misstatement of facts.  His incessant lying, distortion of the facts, and ineptitude are now under scrutiny.  The media went relatively easy on him during the general.  Those days are gone.  Truth and freedom are the strongest, and that God for that.  The "establishment" GOP, which the voters placed into office (they didn't get there by waving some kind of magic wand), will keep him around until they can push their agenda through without the threat of veto.  That is, unless he does something truly idiotic and reprehensible.  After all, Pence is waiting in the wings.

      2. Don W profile image82
        Don Wposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        I'm glad you agree.

        I have no issue with complaining about bias, or fake news. But when you pretend that factual reports are fake news, just because it makes Trump look bad, I'm sorry but that's just called lying, and people can see through it.

        Also, something else you don't seem to get, is the fact that no spin is needed here. The facts are enough for any reasonable person to be concerned. For example:

        Did Trump say he wants to ban Muslims from the country? Yes.

        Did he say he wants to prioritize Christian refugees? Yes.

        Did he say he likes to "grab women by the p****"? Yes.

        Did the person he selected for National Security Adviser, lie to the FBI about what he said to the Russians? Yes.

        Did Trump allow him to remain a member of the National Security Council for three weeks, after being told he was compromised by the Russians? Yes.

        Was Jeff Sessions rejected from being a federal judge in the 80s because of serious allegations of racism? Yes.

        Is Donald Trump (via Trump Inc) currently the leaseholder for the Old Post Office building in DC, in breach of the lease for that government-owned building? Yes. Is he also (as president) currently the boss of the man who would have to enforce the terms of that lease? Yes.

        Are Trump's aides currently under investigation by the FBI for alleged inappropriate contact with Russian officials and Russian intelligence? Yes.

        I could go on . . .

        The key point is that none of these things are spin, or bias. They are facts that can be objectively verified, and are matters of public record [note: if you can provide reliable evidence that proves any of the above is untrue, I will withdraw it]

        So it is not the media being biased that is making Trump look bad. The facts speak for themselves. That doesn't mean the media is never biased. Of course it can be. But in this case, that's not the problem. The problem is the things that Trump and his administration say and do. And here's the important part . .  .

        If plain facts make Trump and his people look foolish, incompetent, dangerous, disorganized and dishonest (which they do) then the problem is with Trump and his people, not the facts, and not those who report them.

        And complaining about bias and fake reports, but failing to show how any of those reports are fake or biased, comes across as a denial of reality. That makes people even more concerned, because it looks like the people in charge of running the country are delusional, and it makes those who support those people look like fanatics.

      3. lions44 profile image96
        lions44posted 6 years agoin reply to this

        Let me support Jack on this one.  The media certainly did not make an issue of the following:
        1. Pres. Obama deported approx. 2.5 million undocumented people from the U.S.  Other than a few House Reps., I did not hear a peep.
        2.  Whistle blower prosecutions became a very frightening function of his Administration. 
        As much as I hate Trump, I have to be fair.  Obama was given a pass by the media.  That is a fact.

        1. profile image0
          ahorsebackposted 6 years agoin reply to this


        2. Genna East profile image82
          Genna Eastposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          I don't even know where to begin on that one.  Obama announced his 2014 policy during a special address to the media.  Also, CNN and the BBC alone, quoted figures, based on Pew Research statistics:

          http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/20 … h-in-2013/
          http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/26/politics/ … index.html
          http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/25/politics/ … he-border/
          http://www.business2community.com/gover … Gmlmio7.97
          http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/201 … ing-mexic/

          There's much more; I've read about this and listened to it on the news, repeatedly.  I have no idea where you got "never heard a peep about it."  This info was discussed and reported numerous times. 

          As far as whistleblowers are concerned...do the names John Bitterman, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden and ring a bell?  And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

    4. profile image0
      promisemposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Trump loved the media when it was reporting on the Clinton email scandal.

      1. Jean Bakula profile image94
        Jean Bakulaposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        He also loved trying to criminalize The Clinton's charitable foundation. Now that he's exposed by all his lies, nothing is done about it. As Bill Maher said the other night, if you have that "magic R" after your name, lying and hypocrisy is the name of the game. If Hillary had won, she never would have gotten away with all these lies. And the whole cabinet should have been picked after the election and before the Inauguration (but he chose a victory tour). He's an unhinged narcissist, and I hope he gets impeached, like R's loved threatening Hillary. He figured he could get a staff, sit back, and let everyone else do the work. Putin is just toying with him because Trump is so naive about politics and anything tat isn't about himself. He'll tell Putin all our classified info, or Putin can call Julian Assange.

  2. ptosis profile image68
    ptosisposted 6 years ago

    ©hμmp focus is on the leaks. Fines / arrest reporters who publish classified info is next. Check out this latest firing :
    Tell me how everything is running smoothly bigly. 
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/20 … trump.html

  3. ptosis profile image68
    ptosisposted 6 years ago

    How can you tell that Bannon is feeding Trump lines?
    When Trump doesn't sound like Trump at all:

    From the transcript of the Florida rally speech
    "Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln and many of our greatest presidents fought with the media and called them out often times on their lies.

    Thomas Jefferson said, “nothing can be believed which is seen in a newspaper.” “Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle,” that was June 14, my birthday, 1807."

    The actual quote says: 'It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more compleatly [sic] deprive the nation of it's benefits, than is done by it's abandoned prostitution to falsehood. Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.'

    Jefferson maintained the importance of the media later in life, when he said: 'the only security of all is in a free press.The force of public opinion cannot be resisted, when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary to keep the waters pure.'

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article … z4Z8sr7X16



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