Paul R. Lehman, Journalists failure to challenge statements create problems for public

May 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Posted in Congress, Disrespect, equality, Ethnicity in America, fairness, Media and Race, minority, Prejudice, President Obama | 1 Comment
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Whether one is of a particular political persuasion, the lack of civility and veracity has totally taken over the media. Ever since President Obama took office, we have been continually bombarded with information that seeks to denigrate, discredit, and destroy him as a legitimate American president. With the election some six months away, we are starting to see some very negative press on and about President Obama. Negative press is nothing new to politics and is to be expected. What is seemingly new presently is the lack of fortitude on the part of journalist to engage the politicians or their surrogates.

In an interview just recently, Mitt Romney rattled off a number of things he accused President of doing—things like, raising taxes, not creating jobs, creating more debt, wrecking the economy  and a number of others. The problem with the list is that none of the claims are true. All one has to do is check with the fact finders to verify the information. So why do the journalists sit like stone statues and not challenge the accuracy of these statement? When these accusations are not challenged, many people will assume they are true. And therein lays the problem.

When journalists simply allow their subjects to speak without a challenge, they are simply giving free air time to the person speaking. Some have argued that people like Romney will not commit to an interview if they cannot control it. So, why do an interview with them? Actually, in such cases, an interview really does not take place; just an opportunity for the speakers to present their points without challenge. How does that help the electorate? Actually, more harm is done in those situations because the people who believe incorrect information is correct can, in effect, vote against their own best interest.

So, what can be done to address the situation regarding the inaction of the journalists? People need to demand they do their job and have the people they interview give some evidence or bases for their claims. Some people are led to believe, based on the comments of some politicians, that no deficit existed before Obama became President, or that America was at full employment when he took office. For journalists to allow that kind of information to go unchallenged does a disservice to journalism as well as to the American public.

Why such a barrage of negative and untrue claims against President Obama at this time? We must remember that the Republican Senate leader, Mitch O’Connell stated very early in President Obama’s tenure that their, the Republicans’ objective is to make Obama a one term president. All the efforts in place today to cast President in a negative light are directed to that end. The most common element used by those seeking to discredit the President is fear—doom and gloom.

Up to this point some people might say that the reason for all the negative press against President is because he is a democrat. That concept changes when we began to examine the negative press being revisited that questions his citizenship, his ancestry, and his patriotism. Those elements speak directly to President Obama’s ethnicity and the bigotry that accompany them.

Recently, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio along with Donald Trump brought to public awareness the idea of President Obama’s birth certificate. They still want to challenge it to prove that Obama is not a citizen of the United State, and if he is not a citizen, then he cannot be the legitimate president. Common sense tells us that after nearly four years of serving in office, if President Obama is not citizen someone would have discovered it before now. So, why the resurgence of doubt about his birth? Probably to try and create doubt in the minds of some people unwilling to accept the fact that Obama is a citizen of America. This attack is directed not against President Obama’s political party, but against him directly.

In addition, the Secretary of State for Arizona, Ken Bennett, confirmed the fact that President Obama’s birth certificate was legitimate, but only after he was accused of embarrassing his state. However, Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado told an audience that he believed that Obama is not an American. Just what was that comment supposes to convey to that audience? Could it be something like “although Obama is a citizen of the United State of America, he is not really one of us. He does not have the best interest of America at heart.” That seems to be the suggestion. Notice again, the comment was aimed at President Obama, not his political party.

Let’s add to the mix of negative attacks on President Obama the recent comment of Sarah Palin who said that “Our country’s prosperity may depend on smearing Obama with Rev. Wright.” In essence, Palin wants to create in the minds of Americans the image of President Obama as a terrorist who wants to destroy America. All this information, she believes, can be gained from looking at the people President Obama has associated with in the past. What Palin is really saying is that she does not trust the vetting process in America, because it allowed President Obama to slip through the cracks.

To speak clearly to the point of all the negative attacks on President Obama as a person is to uncover the bigotry and the fear that is driving it from the people who feel they have much to lose from President Obama’s reelection. The 2010 Census report indicated that by 2042 so-called whites in America will be in the minority population. The power and prestige that supposedly goes along with the skin color will no longer have the value it once had. The fear comes from the thought of losing that so-called superior status, forever. The personal negative attack on President Obama is a defensive response associated with the anger and fear of losing ground. The over-all philosophy in the attack approach is to create a climate of fear, gloom and destruction under President Obama’s command. The idea is to suggest that in some way President Obama will wreak havoc on America as payment for slavery. But what would be the benefit in that? The benefit would come from creating a negative and fearful image of President Obama so he would have no chance of being reelected.

The initial point in this blog is to have the journalist do a better job in bringing the facts to the American people, and indeed, the world. We would all be better off, better informed, if the journalists would simply do their job and stop giving air time to politicians who refuses to or cannot back-up their claims.


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  1. You comments are spot on and unfortunately it’s going to get worse. Of course mudslinging is not new but our 24/7 high speed news cycle is unprecedented. What is more reprehensible is that these candidates are exceedingly comfortable and downright brazen telling bold faced lies to the very people they seek to represent or already do. It speaks volumes about the character of those who will say anything to get elected. More importantly it reflects the disrespect and utter contempt they actually feel for the people who cast the votes.

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