Press and the People
David McCraw is accurate in saying that many regard the press as enemies of the people (Perspective, March 17). What he misses is the reason for this; it has little to do with Donald Trump (although he has certainly raised awareness of it) and more to do with the actions, and oftentimes inactions, of the press itself. The majority of the media is biased in favor of liberal policy. It has been this way for many years before Trump. McCraw is correct about the press becoming irrelevant, just more noise and distraction in a divided country. Unfortunately I don’t think this will change until the press returns to reporting (all) the news.
As a society, we have invested almost 250 years in creating reliable and trustworthy sources of information, which McCraw mentions in the piece. However, when do journalists stop broadcasting information when they know it is false, misleading, and incendiary? It seems that every train wreck tweet from whatever source becomes news. That, in itself, when repeated over and over by “reputable” news sources, degrades the value, honesty, and stability of our journalism. We rely on journalists to stand up for themselves and draw a line where dishonest and falsified information is no longer repeated. It’s Mr. McCraw’s job to wade through the legal nuances to support their positions.
Kudos for McCraw’s defense of the First Amendment. I do take some exception that “the threat to press freedom . . . comes in the form of the president’s repeated denouncement of American journalists as purveyors of fake news and the enemy of the people.” The president’s over-the-top hyperbole would be a joke and fall on deaf ears if the press did not vindicate his core premise. It is partisan, journalistic malpractice that has brought the media to its low estate in public opinion — not the rhetoric of the president or his supporters. McCraw’s call for us to find our way back to some golden era of “national consensus” sounds more like a call for critics of poor journalism to just shut up.
Mark Weinburg Melrose
McCraw says, “We need to find our way back to that national consensus, to the shared belief that an independent press counts.” This overlooks the fact that robust disagreement is part of the vitality of a free society. Maybe Americans who lament our country’s lack of “national consensus” should offer to trade places with some North Koreans who would welcome the opportunity to live in a nation where people are free to disagree.
Felicia Nimue Ackerman
The greatest threat to a free press is not suppression but journalists who undermine factual reporting with obvious infusions of their ideological orientation. This is so rampant that it is necessary to read multiple publications on the same topic to gain some sense of the truth.
The 2020 Democratic Divide
Thank you to Neil Swidey for the article on Democratic candidates in the presidential race (“Getting To One,” March 24). Regarding how Donald Trump “changed the game for Republican presidential politics,” I think the Democrats should consider the same thing. Now the gloves are off when running for political office. Trump is a master at turning things around to his advantage and is certainly “held to a different standard.” The next two years will be interesting, to say the least.
Trump touched a longing of many for a past that never existed. Accordingly, his “Make America Great Again” resonated, and the fear of immigration permanently changing America and Americans was his principal tool. Each of the Democrats who has or will throw their hat in the ring has a strong following. If they can avoid splashing dirt on each other, and unite behind the winning candidate, the Democratic Party has a very good chance of prevailing. That, unfortunately, is not politics. Too much money, time, and obligations exist in these races so that it is not how they play the game, but that they win the game with whatever it takes to do so.
Richard D. Gilman Lexington
I remember when I lived in Brookline, after Mike Dukakis had run for president, chatting with him in the line at Stop & Shop, discussing our respective preferences in potato chips. I’ve also seen him picking up litter in the Fenway, as Swidey mentioned. Thanks very much for the memories.
Jordan Kreidberg WalthamCONTACT US Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or The Globe Magazine/Comments, 1 Exchange Place, Suite 201, Boston, MA 02109-2132. Comments are subject to editing.