Press On Press
an interview given to journalists by a prominent person in order to make an announcement or answer questions.
When Harvey Weinstein & others have been accused of sexual assaults, journalists didn’t ask them about their next project — they asked about the victims & the allegations. They didn’t ask one day, they asked every day, until trial. They talked to the victims. They asked during the trial. They asked after the sentencing. Everybody has an opinion, but GOOD journalists should want to get to the truth.
This is not a typical election cycle, so journalists (and the rest of us) need to stop treating it as such. Yes, press, that means you! We have local/state races where candidates are running for re-election. And, whether you are a new candidate or incumbent, the record (your own or your opponents) is the story.
Of this cast of candidates vying for the two highest elected offices of the land, all of them have a record of some type:
Only one has been a Vice President;
Only one has been governor;
Only one is Black & female;
Only one has been president.
And, among them, only ONE has myriad pending allegations, which include: multiple charges for sexual assault/misconduct; illegal payments to cover up trysts; a sea of verifiable lies and disinformation; numerous criminal charges; a long list of court losses & settlements; unreleased tax returns.
Trump, Biden, Harris & Pence have public service histories that should be scrutinized fairly. Private practices & conduct are also on the table. It must be noted that this nation is in turmoil while on the watch of one candidate team, so their immediate actions deserve heightened public assessment. Current and past actions need to be held up, not deferred or deflected. And we must remember that fact-checking is not a crime — it’s all our jobs. All media should fact-check as if their own repetition is on the line — assuming they care about their own reputation.
Just the facts Ma’am/Sir…
Media, pundits (incl. bloggers; tweeters; columnists; et.) and the voting public should perform due dilligence. That means asking questions, reading up on the candidates (use reputable sources) & making informed decisions. It means looking at past actions in context. It, also, means paying better attention to present actions. Your voice is your vote. But, don’t forget that we have resources to prove & disprove information.
And, because it isn’t a “normal” election cycle, now is not the time to gloss over real-time conduct and criminal activities, as if it’s not important. I’m still trying to figure out when God told evangelicals that truth and compassion became optional. I don’t think God said such, but 45 & friends think so.
Every journalist should be PERSISTENT. They (we) should feel insulted when an elected person lies in the their face. Every press conference should use their moment at the mic to get the truth. The EDWARD R. MURROW level of integrity, which Yamiche Alcindor continues to lean in with, every time, should be the standard. Paula Reid, Jonathan Swan & others have been doing their jobs and seeking facts during Q&A or interviews must be our expectation of them.
But when S.V. Dáte, HuffPost’s White House correspondent was called upon during a recent (unnecessary) WH pontification conference, the world wasn’t ready.
“Mr. President, after three and a half years, do you regret at all, all the lying you’ve done to the American people?” Dáte asked.
Trump looked confused. “What?” he asked.
“All the lying. All the dishonesties,” Dáte repeated.
“That who has done?” Trump asked.
“You have done,” Dáte said.
Trump didn’t know what hit him. He wasn’t ready for someone to ask this question. They Waahington Posts counts over 20,000 lies & disinformation. This question could have been asked after each lie — 20,000 times and counting.
The alternative to fact-checking is going down the OANN, Breitbart line of biased affirmation, cloaked as legitimate inquiry.
Folks are shocked when we hear the latest, crazy headline. Never, would we imagine our mail would would be in danger. We see this but Trump says he’s working to save the post office. THATS A LIE.
Media must challenge these lies at the moment it’s uttered. We cannot criminalize fact-checking. And candidates must be held accountable to the facts. And, called out when they lie. Candidates must face the charges against her/him, not be allowed to change the subject. Press conferences are designed to inform, not be allowed to propagandize. If the candidate wants to just give a speech, they don’t have to have press in the room. Journalists serve no purpose in a press conference if you just want to make the speaker comfortable — that’s what dictators do. It’s up to us to keep the facts on the table at all times.
So, press on press — we need you to do your fact-finding now more than ever.