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Journalist’s carelessness with truth - Albia Newspapers: Opinion

Journalist’s carelessness with truth

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Posted: Friday, June 9, 2017 10:29 am

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP “experiences life through the windshield of a golf cart,” wrote Catherine Rampell, Washington Post columnist. And that explains a lot, she concluded.

Rampell did not introduce the statement with “I believe” or “Anonymous sources explain” - she laid it out as a statement of Fact, needing no corroboration.

As a journalist, I am offended by my fellow scribblers’ cavalier attitude or carelessness toward Truth. We have a battery of weasel words to obscure actual Facts. How many news items describe comments as “he alleged,” when the reporter knew darn well the allegation was probably a lie.

Later in the Post Trump story, Rampell wrote “It can be presumed...” but the presumption is her own pure (or impure) fabrication.

There, I’ve ratted out my fellow ink-stained wretches. If you find me “alleging” or “presuming” or quoting unnamed sources, you may call me out. I’d deserve it because I know better.

COMEDIAN KATHY GRIFFIN didn’t get any laughs, when she posed on CNN with a likeness of Donald Trump’s severed head.

I did not think it was funny when I read of ISIS goons beheading their prisoners. I didn’t laugh when a man decapitated his mother, then roamed a supermarket with her severed head. The CNN photo of an unsmiling Griffin with her trophy was awful. CNN is not a BFF of Trump, but even one of their film editors should have pulled the item before it traveled electronically across this country and planet.

If the “head” had belonged to Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, the “prank” would immediately have been identified as racism or sexism. There apparently is no “-ism” applicable to a 70-year-old New York billionaire.

Griffin’s punishment is losing the CNN gig on New Year’s Eve at Times Square, but that’s more than six months from now. I won’t bet the grocery money, but I won’t be surprised if she’s behind the mic, in front of the camera that night. People forget.

REALITY WINNER is a most unusual name. If Ms Winner had taken advantage of that, plus her three languages, she could have wound up career-wise more than an anti-government secrets-leaker.

Come to think of it, the name might have attracted the leaker-seekers’ attention on their leaker-list of suspects. More noticeable, for instance, than Smith or Jenkins. (Sorry, Reality, but you decided to leak.)

PARIS ACCORD divorce was a good move by this country. The financial contribution was supposedly voluntary, and the U.S. was already carbon-cleaner than most. India and China are the two biggest polluters, and they don’t have to change much until 2030, and not even then if they don’t want to.

Banning fossil fuels is premature. Major alternative power sources are expensive; some don’t work if the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. Storage batteries are underdeveloped and algae has a long way to go before it can fuel Air Force One, or its ilk.

Americans are a problem-solving people. Scientists across this country are even now working on affordable and available fuels and super batteries. I’d put my money on the scientists - government and private sector. They do good work.


“When I was fourteen, my father was so ignorant that I could hardly stand to have him around. When I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”

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