LEE’S SUMMIT, AUGUST 11, 2016 – I’m constantly amazed at how little I’ve come to trust the media. It is getting to the point, perhaps in the not too distant future, where we only trust the weather guy and the baseball scores.
In a TIME exclusive story written by Zeke J Miller “The Republican Party’s Chairman’s Warning to Donald Trump” the opening paragraph talks about a phone call between Reince Priebus and Donald Trump:
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told Donald Trump in a phone call last week that if he doesn’t turn his flailing campaign around, the national party may shift its focus from his candidacy to down-ballot races, according to two GOP officials briefed on the exchange.
Two paragraph’s later he also states:
Trump denied the officials’ account of the exchange.
Then comes the unsubstantiated premise for the rest of the story. Mr. Miller acknowledges not knowing what was spoken, having one denied and the other not commented, but he still builds on his foundationless claim that the GOP may possibly abandon Trump.
Here, read this for yourself:
Whatever the exact words spoken on the phone, there is no doubt that the possibility of Republicans effectively abandoning Trump by prioritizing voter outreach for down-ballot races now haunts his presidential campaign.
How is there “no doubt”? Trump denied the premise that Priebus made such a statement; and Priebus has not commented. You have no story.
Don’t let facts get in the way of the desired piece. Off the record comments, unnamed sources, supposition, and wishful thinking are the Opinion writer’s venue. However, journalists – professional, well educated, and highly experienced journalists – should uphold their venerable post in life, and write fact based articles.
We tend to call pieces of journalistic work, “stories” in today’s vernacular, but they are not stories. They are not meant to tell a story about what happened. They are tasked with publishing the facts: “at this time, in this place, these people did / said the following.” Journalists present the facts. Opinion writers interpret, through their own lenses, what the story means to you and me – based on their “opinion”.
Europe has it so right in one sense. Here in the US we tend to think of News Anchors as “Journalists” at the peak of their careers, the peak of their reach. But, the reality is that they are “Presenters” of news. The Journalist must still strive to provide fact based articles for you and I and opinion writers to form the opinions.
Journalists should be very clear when they are expressing an opinion. Journalists should never bend facts, or opinion, or wishful thinking into their journalistic efforts. Yet as you saw in this case, Mr. Miller is actually expressing an opinion in the guise of a news article.
He is long on opinion, and short on fact based entries into the record. Opinions come with three options (as I often tell those who ask my opinion):
- You may accept my opinion,
- You may reject my opinion,
- You may modify my opinion in forming your own.
At least, that’s my opinion.
Lee’s Summit Conservative