Media

Devolution

Walter_Cronkite_(1985).jpg

Walter Cronkite/Wikimedia Commons

Commentary

On the day the Women’s March hit Alaska, a 49th-state journalist popped a photo of demonstrators up on Instagram with this description:

“We hate Donald Trump up North too.”

In the Mount Moriah Cemetery in Kansas City, Mo., Walter Cronkite must have started spinning in his grave. For those too young to know of Cronkite or simply unaware of journalistic history, Cronkite was the CBS broadcaster once judged “the most trusted man in America”.

He was not perfect. No one in the media business will ever achieve that. But Cronkite’s biases were thoroughly masked by his creation of a perception of fairness that became its own reality. He was pretty much the opposite of where we are at today.

Ignore the random capitalization and the bad punctuation in the quote above and consider that there used to be a time in Alaska when reporters, editors and publishers worried mightily about the perception of bias in general and “liberal bias” in particular.

Yes, there were some financial reasons for this. The concept of an objective media was arguably good for the bottom line of publications in one-newspaper towns. If journalists were fair and objective, why would anyone need more than one local newspaper?

But there was more to it than that.

For years before and after the 1987 elimination of the federal “Fairness Doctrine” written to control news on the airwaves in the wake of World War II, journalists remained rooted in its principles. A Federal Communications Commission regulation, the doctrine required broadcasters, of which there were few in 1949, to cover issues “of public importance and do so in a fair manner” as a 2011 Congressional history put it.

Fairness is a tough standard to meet.  Human emotions tend to get in the way on a regular basis. But a lot of journalists tried for a long time to put their personal feelings aside and be fair in reporting on the seldom black-and-white functioning of democracy.

They understood perfect answers are rare in public policy. Perfect is a three-quarter ton pickup that will fit in the parking space of a compact car, get 50 mpg mileage and cost less than $15,000.

Public policy is full of compromises. It looks like one of those black and white Ansel Adams photos that contains so many shades of gray it can almost fool the eye into thinking it was shot in color.

There was a time when the best skill a reporter had was the ability to argue either and all sides in a public-policy debate. News for a long time was built on that idea that the few facts could be presented fairly in the context of the many different ways those facts could be viewed.

“We were a priesthood, delivering truth to the masses,” Patrick Dougherty wrote in the fall 2005 “Nieman Reports,” a publication of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

A changing world

A 1989 Niemen Fellow, Doughtery had by 2005 climbed the corporate ladder of The McClatchy Company to become the executive editor and senior vice-president of the Anchorage Daily News.

It was a job he would hold through a time of turmoil as the news business began a radical transformation from the Daily News’ words on paper to ADN.com’s words on a screen. Not the most adaptable of individuals – and a man who found it difficult if not impossible to conceive of losing a debate – Dougherty struggled to adjust from a world in which, in his words, “we transmitted and readers received” to a world where people by the dozens and eventually the hundreds began to weigh in on what ADN.com reported.

At first, he wrote in that Nieman story, the tubes were filled with promise.

“A hundred thousand fact checkers can add a lot to a newspaper’s coverage of a story,” he said. “But it wasn’t long before things started to go bad. A small group of people began to write constantly. They were neither the best-informed nor most thoughtful participants. Instead they were profane, bitter, shallow, racist and relentless. Little by little, their
ignorant and mean-spirited comments began to predominate. They were prolific. They didn’t appear to hold jobs or even sleep. Ultimately their words set a tone for the forum that discouraged reasonable, intelligent, considerate voices from participating.”

They were people possibly like this guy:

“You are a coward and a shameless hypocrite, @SenDanSullivan.”

This would be the now former-ADN executive editor rebooted on Twitter as pdougherty directing his “reasonable, intelligent, considerate voice” at Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, for suggesting the short-lived government shutdown of the weekend was driven by politics.

WPD 2018

Dougherty has every right to express his views just like everyone else in this country. As an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve who has served in combat zones, Sullivan would be among the first to defend that right. And the big problem here isn’t with what Dougherty says so much as with who he is.

When former journalists abandon the “reasonable, intelligent, considerate voice” for which Dougherty once advocated in favor of hurling invective, they put a taint on everyone in the business. And when now working journalists do it, it’s only worse.

Hate

Hate is a dangerous word. The dictionary defines it as the description of “intense hostility.” It is both the word of choice and the tool of propagandists. And there is a lot of hating going on in this country at this moment.

Too much some would argue.

“In March, (Keith) Mines was one of several national-security experts whom Foreign Policy asked to evaluate the risks of a second civil war—with percentages,” Robin Wright wrote in the New Yorker back in August. “Mines concluded that the United States faces a sixty-per-cent chance of civil war over the next ten to fifteen years. Other experts’ predictions ranged from five per cent to ninety-five per cent. The sobering consensus was thirty-five per cent.”

Wright’s story ran under a headline that asked “Is America Headed for a New Kind of Civil War?”

She penned a thoughtful examination of the tribalism that increasingly divides people in the U.S. It was the kind of pithy analysis of a changing world that journalists used to see as their responsibility to pursue.

“Mines has spent his career—in the U.S. Army Special Forces, the United Nations, and now the State Department—navigating civil wars in other countries, including Afghanistan, Colombia, El Salvador, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan,” Wright wrote. “He returned to Washington after sixteen years to find conditions that he had seen nurture conflict abroad now visible at home. It haunts him.”

Hopefully he is not alone, but you have to wonder.

As Mines himself observed in Foreign Policy, “violence is ‘in’ as a method to solve disputes and get one’s way. The president modeled violence as a way to advance politically and validated bullying during and after the campaign.  Judging from recent events the left is now fully on board with this, although it has been going on for several years with them as well — consider the university events where professors or speakers are shouted down and harassed, the physically aggressive anti-Israeli events, and the anarchists during globalization events.

“Press and information flow is more and more deliberately divisive, and its increasingly easy to put out bad info and incitement.”

There is way too much truth in those observations. Were Dougherty, an old colleague, some strange Alaska outlier, his behavior wouldn’t be worth writing about. But he is no outlier. He is a reflection of so many others today – right or left – still in or formerly in the media.

At a time when the country cries out for those of reasonable, intelligent, considerate voice, it instead gets a bounty of name-calling ranters.

Blame game

It would be easy to put a lot of this at the doorstep of Trump or the woman who showed him the low-road to the White House – former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. She of the Ali-esque, pol-ebrity catch phrases: “pallin’ around of terrorists,” “death panels,” “don’t retreat; reload,” and more.

But the decay of civility predates them. As Dougherty noted, it was already underway by 2005 when Palin was still clinging to President George W. Bush’s mantra of being “a uniter, not a divider.” 

Palin wasn’t elected Alaska governor until 2006, and then there was she in her inaugural address talking about how “Alaska is a family…let us be united with one heart.” 

Only a couple of years later,  Republican Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., tapped her as his vice-presidential running mate, and she began a makeover that started with two lines uttered at the Republican National Convention in Sept. 2008.

“What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?” Palin asked.

“Lipstick.”

So was born the “pit bull with lipstick” destined to become a Tea Party favorite in a not-so-United States that seems to have fractured a little more with every passing year. And the mainstream media that used to cover these sorts of phenomenon – the lamestream as Palin took to calling them – is now part of the story.

Here’s how Thomas Frank, a historian and columnist for The Guardian, described media coverage of Trump in the run-up to the 2016 election:

“Stories marveling at the stupidity of Trump voters are published nearly every day. Articles that accuse Trump’s followers of being bigots have appeared by the hundreds, if not the thousands. Conservatives have written them; liberals have written them; impartial professionals have written them. The headline of a recent Huffington Post column announced, bluntly, that “Trump Won Super Tuesday Because America is Racist.” A New York Times reporter proved that Trump’s followers were bigots by coordinating a map of Trump support with a map of racist Google searches. Everyone knows it: Trump’s followers’ passions are nothing more than the ignorant blurtings of the white American id, driven to madness by the presence of a black man in the White House. The Trump movement is a one-note phenomenon, a vast surge of race-hate. Its partisans are not only incomprehensible, they are not really worth comprehending.”

Trump’s Democrat rival for President, Hillary Clinton, summed it all up in three words with her reference to Trump’s “basketful of deplorables.”

The biggest loser in the name calling wasn’t Clinton or Trump; it was all of the media that got caught up in chosing sides. It was the people who used to do journalism, with all its damn grays, instead of propaganda, with its stark blacks and whites.

The goal here is not to defend Trump. His public behavior is aggressive, combative and sometimes offensive even to the thick-skinned, although if you believe the interview his porn star date gave to InTouch he is more of a gentleman in private than President Bill Clinton.

Bill, however, had an affable nature that made most Americans like him, even when some didn’t want to like him. As the U.S. Congress was considering impeaching him in 1998, his popularity rating was going up, according to Gallup polls at the time. 

Clinton polled about 60 percent; Trump, a New Yorker to the core in all the worst meanings of that observation, is polling about 40 percent. Trump is an undeniably flawed President inclined to lash out at the smallest of insults and burdened at times with a stunning inability to separate fact from self-serving fiction.

But not everything Trump has done to date as president is deplorable. The economy is healthy and the International Monetary Fund is predicting solid economic growth ahead. The President hasn’t ordered the secret bombing of any foreign country in violation of the Constitution as President Richard M. Nixon did, or if he has no one has found it out yet.

America has had worse presidents. James Buchanan comes immediately to mind. But you wouldn’t know from a mainstream media turned increasingly partisan and fractured by social status. A lot of editors and reporters today think themselves members of the educated, ruling class no matter their marginal pay scales.

Some of the lowest paid, in fact, might be among the highest minded in the belief of their need to save the unwashed masses of American democracy from themselves.

This is not good for journalism, but it is even worse for democracy. Arrogance alienates, and it’s hard to engage a reasonable, intelligent, considerate conservation about anything once you alienate people.

Trumps approval rating might be at a lowly 39 percent, according to the last polls. But the media’s is at a miserable 32 percent. 

It might be a good time for a lot of reporters and editors, present and former, to take a good, hard look in the mirror and consider what they see. A lot of them, if they are honest with themselves (something admittedly easier to say than to do) are likely to find some version of Trump staring back at them.

In these tubular times, it is so easy to play to your tribe as Trump does. It is so easy to replace substantive critique with simple name calling as Trump does. It is so easy to talk about tolerating those with differing views, and so hard to do as Trump demonstrates.

That Trump presents a poor role model is bad; that so many mimic it – most especially those in the media – is worse.

We have met the enemy, and he is us.

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40 replies »

  1. Hey, Craig,
    You misspelled Nieman.
    Other than that, and your amusing Stormy Daniels defense of Donald Trump’s gentlemanliness compared to Bill Clinton’s, which omitted the 12+ women who’ve accused him on the record of groping, kissing and other predatory boorishess, nice read.

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    • yes, i know. i fixed it. it’s hard working without copy editors. and i’ve always had trouble with that word; i think i associate it too closely with the once upscale Texas department store chain, though i’m not a Neiman Marcus kind of guy anymore than a Nieman Fellowship kind of guy. more Alfred T. Neuman here.
      i didn’t write that i approved of Trump’s behavior around women and would categorize it as much worse that boorish. a few woman should definitely have slapped him, or kicked him in the balls. but that said, he does not appear to have raped anyway, and it’s not clear the same can be said for Bill Clinton.
      and yet, Clinton remains by far the more “likable” of the two men by anyone’s standards. personally, i admit, i’d much prefer to sit down to beers with Clinton than Trump though i don’t much like some of the behaviors of either of them. that said, i don’t hate them either.
      they’re politicians. they’re in the business of being attractive to some constituency in whatever way that works for them. and for that reason they can never be trusted. i like people who can be trusted, but it’s hard to imagine someone like that getting elected in America. there are two many deals that must be made within the parties on the way to the White House.

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      • I’m unsure of why you insist on the comparisons of Don Trump and Bill Clinton. There is reason for the difference in “likability” of those two and I’ll go out over my skis here with the main reason has to do with Trump’s racism and bigotry.
        And I suspect it’s just too hard to separate the hate, for that racism, from the hate for the man.

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  2. Cronkite was a huge leftist who sympathized with the N. Vietnamese Communist Dictatorship, his reporting turned the TET Offensive from a military victory into a Pyrrhic victory for the communist forces. His sympathies towards Hanoi Jane Fonda;s treason showed no bounds. To put it mildly F*&^% Cronkite and the Commie Jack Ass he rode on!

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    • The TET Offensive was a military loss for the North Vietnamese but a political victory that contradicted the Johnson administration’s position that NV forces were weak. This was obvious, before Cronkite reported his TV special on Vietnam about a month after TET. And about a month after that LBJ announced he was not running for re-election, mostly because of his losing the trust of Walter Cronkite.
      You may disagree with Cronkite, but the rest of the country held him in pretty high regards, and LBJ sat up and listened. As someone in the US Army at the time of TET, I paid attention too.

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      • The Tet offensive showed China’s ability to smuggle in large amounts of troops to support the Viet Cong…this scarred the Pentagon and eventually led to the compromise of a north and south divide, just like when u.s. soldiers left Korean soil years earlier.
        The book Devil’s Guard speaks of the Viet Cong’s supply train from China.

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      • I suspect your source is a book of fiction Steve, for several reasons. First off, Vietnam was in the middle of their own civil war at the time of our first involvement and second, we never did “invade” Vietnam.
        Also, as far as I know, there were no Chinese troops involved either. As for scarring the Pentagon, they may have been “scared” by it but I suspect it was more of a political embarrassment for Johnson and his administration than anything military. And finally, our leaving Vietnam was nothing like our leaving Korean soil.

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      • Bill,
        The book Devil’s Guard was written by a former Nazi soldier who fought in Vietnam on the side of the French colonists before U.S. GI’s INVADED the land.
        Since the established government did not welcome U.S. troops, it was an invasion….remember that the CIA killed the Vietnamese president in 1963, then our country increased troop size.
        Prior to that in 1961 JFK lied and sent troops to Vietnam without congressional approval.
        So, any perceived “civil war” was brought on by French and American colonists who were not welcomed in the distant land.
        Next you will want to tell me that 60,000 Americans did not die over there or that over 1 million Vietnamese were not killed by U.S. bombing raids, and machine gun fire.
        As for Russia and China supplying the Viet Cong….where do you think peasants got AK-47’s and RPG’s and “duce and a half” transport vehicles?
        Do you think the farmers fabricated these weapons and trucks in their muddy rice paddies?
        Where did the fuel come from to keep the Viet Cong transporting supplies…
        Obviously, the Viet Cong were connected to Communist super powers in the region.

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      • “Not until 1995 did Vietnam release its official estimate of war dead: as many as 2 million civilians on both sides and some 1.1 million North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters. The U.S. military has estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died in the war.Jan 11, 2018”

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      • No matter what you believe, Steve, Vietnam was not invaded by us. In fact, we didn’t even invade North Vietnam but we did do much bombing of them (as well as Cambodia and Laos).
        While the CIA did back the coup, they did not assassinate the South Vietnam president. The situation between North and South “was” a civil war that had been going on for years before Kennedy got involved (mostly with advisor Green Berets). This was not a “perceived civil war” and we send troops without congressional approval all the time. Its the approval of the local government that establishes whether/not it’s an invasion (for example Iraq).
        I said nothing about N. Vietnam getting supplies, just that Chinese troops were not involved. Clearly Ho Chi Minh had his friends/backers but we are getting pretty far from the subject TET Offensive that marked a change in the overall thinking of our involvement there.
        We know more now than we did at that time but the thinking (at the time) was instrumental in the political change that Walter Cronkite played a large part in IMO.

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      • Bill,
        Apparently you are ignorant to how super powers in the world fight “proxy wars”.
        And to answer one of your questions….
        George Elford’s classic book the “Devil’s Guard” is Non Fiction.
        He claims the stories are to the best of his experience…and he took plenty of notes while fighting in Vietnam.
        I will not argue symantics over the term “Invasion”…
        I have enough knowledge to form a solid opinion on that.
        But…as for Chinese envolvement you are not getting the picture.
        How did all this “stuff” arrive from the Communists?
        Did they just go to the supply store at the border?
        No…the stuff was carried in on backs of neighboring communists in the night.
        That is why the U.S. never advanced troops into the North and why we left an unsettled conflict.
        This is also why U.S. Navy Seals are required to read Elford’s book…so they know what they are up against when they deploy on modern “proxy wars”.
        And lastly, this has everything to do with the Tet Offensive….
        I know cause my father was running a PBR up the Mekong Delta for the Navy at the time the “Shit Hit the Fan” also called “Tet Offensive”.

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      • We are not going to agree, it seems Steve.
        I get the supply thing but my objection was to your post “China’s ability to smuggle in large amounts of troops to support the Viet Cong.” Troops are not AK-47s or RPGs IMO, so what troops do you speak of being smuggled in??
        Proxy wars and symantics (an invasion either is or isn’t one) have nothing to do with it either!
        Also, our getting out of Vietnam was nothing like our situation in Korea either.
        And finally, the point was not the TET Offensive but what the TET Offensive did to our thinking about this war.

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      • Bill,
        I am just trying to give you sources that show China’s involvement in the Vietnam War.
        It is obvious you understand most of the weapons were coming from USSR (Ak-47’s and RPG’s along with soviet grenades and recoilless rifles.)
        As for the “delivery service”…this was China’s mission.
        The Mekong Delta was international waters and large Chinese freighters with large crews would sail munition supplies up to Cambodia and then “mule” them in to the Viet Cong…which were the same group that the French called the “Viet Minh”.
        Another good book written by a U.S. Navy veteran who served, is “Papa Bravo Romeo”…by Wynn Goldsmith…on page 122 he says: “…a ten thousand ton Chinese merchant ship being taken up the Mekong River…laden with munitions to kill Americans…the ship reached Cambodia and its cargo was sent back across the border to Vietnam in small loads.”
        And Goldsmith’s work is also Non-fiction.
        The documented evidence is over whelming…China helped the Viet Cong kill U.S. GI’s in Vietnam.

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      • Well Bill,
        It looks to me that the perplexity involving the matrix of events surrounding the Tet Offensive is just too complicated for you to understand (Even 50 years later)
        The way that the Viet Cong increased their troop size and modernized their weaponry with the help of neighboring Communist superpowers is very relevant.
        Many new technologies like the RPG 2 and 73mm Soviet Recoilless Rifle were just introduced in the Vietnam War.
        Without understanding these keys points of the war, it looks like American GI’s were “losing” to a weaker smaller nation.
        This was not true…
        You cannot begin to have a baseline of understand by which to judge Cronkite’s opinion without researching the data now available to everyone.
        I am just attempting to show relevant published writings to support my understanding of WHY the Tet Offensive ever happened.
        Maybe you should not begin to comment on subjects that you do not understand?

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      • Still no answers to my questions, Steve.
        And my original comment had nothing to do with reasons behind the TET Offensive, or RPGs etc.. The point of my comment was that Walter Cronkite had influence with many Americans, relative to Vietnamese War and recent TET Offensive, including the President (at the time) and myself, just in case you have forgotten.
        Tell us again why it is that recent writings are necessary to get a grip on that point. Is it that you feel empowered to second guess LBJ on his decision about running for re-election or is it something else?
        Please spare us your answer as you’ve wasted too much of our time already IMO.

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      • How about you and I just agree to disagree on most of this Vietnam stuff, Steve.
        I’ll just accept that you made a blunder when suggesting the Chinese smuggled troops into Vietnam and we can avoid using “invade” without a strict definition.

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      • Well Bill…
        I am sorry to be such a waste of your time (you obviously have nothing better to do).
        The only 2 questions you asked, are… what troops? and was my source fiction?
        The two books I listed are non fiction.
        If China arrived in Cambodia with freighters at the ten thousand ton level and off loaded at the “trail head” to the Ho Chi Minh Trail, then it is easy to see how people and supplies arrived into north vietnam communist camps.
        If you have any further questions, just let me know..
        On page 142 in George Robert Elford’s book, he states:
        “How many Chinese were with them yesterday?
        There must have been over twenty militiamen among the Viet Minh”
        George also speaks of “The Red Highway” into China under the jungle canopy that they discovered on an “unauthorized” recon mission of the forbiden north vietnam territory.
        There is also reference to Chinese Nationalist soldiers on the border of northern vietnam at the time.
        Lastly, Mr. Elford wrote Devil’s Guard because he felt “American generals are compelled to fight world opinion instead of the Viet Cong”
        It appears 50 years later, we are still fighting “world opinion”.

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      • It would be foolish to think American Capitalists could have sent nearly 3 million GI’s over 8,500 miles away in a ten year period (1965 to 1975) to “fight” a war in Vietnam against communist insurgency (Viet Cong / Minh)….killed nearly 3 million people (2 million classified Vietnam civilians) and the world’s largest communist super power China that shares a border with Vietnam to the north, stood by and did nothing but supply weapons and food when they have over 1 billion people under their dictatorship control with a million young men who are forced into “conscripted” military service…
        The evidence, data, and real life written accounts from officers who fought in Nam prove China was involved in the fight against us on many levels.

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  3. Funny how the author doesnt remember Obama’s tribAlism, all this seems to fall at the feetof the Donald and the press is just following his lead. Yeah, right! I also remember how the lofty press treated Reagan. The press has been left of center at least since the prayer in school fights in the late 50s

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    • Paul: who says? as in the “the author doesn’t remember Obama’s tribalism?” let’s be honest here. Obama was way better mannered than Trump, but there is no doubt Obama also did some things that helped drive Americans apart. there has been a progression of tribalism here. and tribalism has spawned a lot of civil wars.
      tribalism is in the middle of the chaos in the Mideast at this moment. it has been in play in Africa for a long time. it tore the Baltic states of the former Yugoslavia apart in the 1990s. it’s hard to believe (or at least most of us don’t want to believe), it could happen here, but democracies are historically fragile.
      none of them have lasted all that long.
      and yes, you’re right. the media has been left of center for a long time. good intentions live over there. they arise from wanting to help people, and it is undeniably easier to feed and clothe someone in trouble (and feels better) than to tell them: “you know what? you need to get up up off your ass and get yourself a job.”
      “tough love” is described that way because it is tough.
      there is, however, a difference between being “left of center” and being somewhere so far out on the range of left-center-right that you profess to hate those with whom you philosophically disagree. when you start talking about hate, you are beyond philosophical differences and into the realm of moral judgments that too often justify extreme acts.
      that’s dangerous territory. it is from hatred that terrorists are born from ISIS to ALF to Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.
      here’s how McVeigh explained the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building in a letter to Fox News:
      “…Borrowing a page from U.S. foreign policy, I decided to send a message to a government that was becoming increasingly hostile, by bombing a government building and the government employees within that building who represent that government. Bombing the Murrah Federal Building was morally and strategically equivalent to the U.S. hitting a government building in Serbia, Iraq, or other nations. Based on observations of the policies of my own government, I viewed this action as an acceptable option. From this perspective, what occurred in Oklahoma City was no different than what Americans rain on the heads of others all the time, and subsequently, my mindset was and is one of clinical detachment. (The bombing of the Murrah building was not personal , no more than when Air Force, Army, Navy, or Marine personnel bomb or launch cruise missiles against government installations and their personnel.)”
      this is the path down which hatred leads. journalists shouldn’t be fomenting or encouraging hatred or even suggesting it is OK for Americans to hate each other over political differences of opinion. the Women’s March was supposed to be a protest against hate: https://www.facebook.com/events/396523310689462/
      for a journalist to use it as a forum to express hate for the nation’s chief elected official? there is something badly wrong there.

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      • How convenient to remember OKC bombing, but forget all the BLM violence and ANTIFA violence fomented by the OBAMA ADMINISTRATION and the full time PROPGANDA OF THE MSM you call journalism! Your leftism blinds your memory. How many Trump supporters have actually been attacked at campaign rallies in 2016 and even later for just wearing MAGA hats? I bet you don’t even remember it happening or that Obama’s buddy Soros is known to have funded these groups which amount to nothing more than street thugs for the Left I’m not surprised journalist support the Mad Pink Hatters mindless protests, after all they’ve been encouraging street violence for a long time.

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      • Craig,
        I am not so quick to buy the “tribalism” slip into chaos theory.
        I believe a CIA backed coup destroyed the established government in Yugoslavia back in the 1990’s, just like they did to the Vietnamese president in 1963.
        Many people forget that there was once a unified Vietnam before our country intervened.
        After we invaded, the north aligned closer with the Soviet Union and China…that is when u.s. advisors knew that we could never take the entire country, so a north and south divide were created.

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  4. Journalism is a lot like all the other “ISMS” in the world….Colonialism, Communism, Radicalism, Racism, Fascism, etc.
    It is government driven and very biased to the point of propaganda.
    But, I would say it has “Evolved” greatly….Now, Mark Zuckerberg can pick and choose what sources the world can view and if he does not like what you are saying, you are “blacklisted” from any further media posts…and FB saves your “digital fingerprint” for the NSA to review.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_branch_of_government

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  5. Much to agree with here. However the idea that Pat Dougherty should be held to some higher standard than anyone else is wrong. He is no longer a journalist. He is entitled to his opinions and has the right to express them. They reflect on him, not a profession he once practiced. I’m not sure calling a U.S. Senator names is the way to influence his or her actions or persuade a supporters he or she is a coward or hypocrite. Better to be hard on issues, and avoid personal attacks.

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    • so when does someone become “no longer a journalist”? after Mr. Dougherty left the ADN, he went to work as columnist for The Anchorage Press. he has regularly offered his views since on the state of journalism today. he has of late made a practice of critiquing the performance of the Washington, D.C. bureau of Alaska Public Media. he does this as someone still claiming some position of authority as a journalist, something akin to an ADN editor emeritus. he has never disavowed his status as a journalist. we’re not talking about someone here who was a journalist in their younger years only to go into public relations, build a career there and spend most of their working life in PR. the reality is that Pat Dougherty is Alaska’s Walter Cronkite. he was for seemingly forever the head of the state’s most-trusted news organization. and now…
      so the obvious question: if after Cronkite’s retirement, through those senior years when he was still trading on his life as a journalist, was anyone describing him as “no longer a journalist?”
      and here is Mr. Dougherty only months ago talking like an authority on the journalism business: “The newspaper is perhaps the largest manufacturing business in Anchorage. If it goes out of business and 212 people lose those jobs, that’s a major blow to the Anchorage economy. It’s a bad consequence for all those people and it’s bad for the community. In order to have functioning democracy, you have to have a strong journalism component.” http://www.alaskajournal.com/2017-08-22/bankruptcy-court-approves-1-million-loan-keep-adn-going#.WmjaVKinGM8

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      • A “strong journalism component” in our country’s future may very well NOT include the corporate sponsored large newspaper propaganda engines of the twentieth century.

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      • There’s a difference between being a subject matter expert (source) and opinion columnist and a being journalist responsible for delivering accurate and complete coverage to a community through the pages of a local newspaper. Clearly Mr. Dougherty has become the former and is no longer the latter. He’s entitled to his opinions about Alice Rogoff’s management of the ADN. And he’s entitled to voice them.

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      • Did you even read the page you’re referencing here? It barely touches on the breakup of Yugoslavia. It’s talking mostly about Kosovo and much of what it says is nonsense.

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      • James,
        Kosovo was part of the unified Yugoslavia land before the break up of that country.
        yes, I have fully read that article, unlike I suspect you have….
        If you did, you would understand how the CIA destabilized Kosovo (which was in Yugoslavia) with Narco trafficking and supporting radical Muslim groups in the region for many years before the CIA went in with military contractors in 1999 and built the largest U.S. base in Europe on Kosovo soil…Camp Bondsteel….which is also in the article I referenced…Bondsteel is considered a “black ops” site and very similar to G-Bay, although it is rarely discussed in MSM commentary.
        Lastly, I attended college with a student who escaped this region of the Baltics prior to the full on U.S Invasion of the late 1990’s, so he was able to help me understand the complexity of the region…think Mad Russians at the door!

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  6. I knew Doughtery when he was still the adn bigwig, he was a bias ass then. One who openly edited out readers comments who he didnt agree with, using Facebook’s shadow ban tool liberally.

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  7. Craig, you might be interested in reading this: “Challenging False Beliefs – Understanding and Countering Misperceptions in Politics and Health Care”
    https://www.isr.umich.edu/cps/events/Nyhan_20160613.pdf

    As they say, the perception can become the reality in the human mind. What we are seeing today is that people’s perceptions and biases are fed constantly from mass media sources of information. By comparison, people receive less and less less information from their real world.

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  8. I missed the March? Damn, just finished my Alaska version of the Pussy Hat. Maybe next time. Meanwhile the Marchers are still unhappy about their lives here in a country that affords them the conditions to partake in such meaningless dribble.

    Horrible country indeed, good thing Pioneer Women were real Feminists.

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  9. A couple of things here Craig: “We have met the enemy, and he is ( ).” Is that us, Trump, Dougherty or ?
    And in your put-down of Dougherty, you refer to his “suggesting the short-lived government shutdown of the weekend was driven by politics.” His tweet was before anyone had an inclining this shutdown was to be “short-lived.” Just a minor bias here, but why else put that in??
    By the way, Dougherty clearly needs some thicker skin and Sullivan was just doing what pols do IMO (Sullivan had nothing to do with the shutdown being short-lived, either).

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  10. There’s an awful lot in this piece to like. Today, my favorite take out is, “perfect answers are rare in public policy. Perfect is a three-quarter ton pickup that will fit in the parking space of a compact car, get 50 mpg mileage and cost less than $15,000. Public policy is full of compromises. It looks like one of those black and white Ansel Adams photos that contains so many shades of gray it can almost fool the eye into thinking it was shot in color.” It seems to me that most of our media and pols want us to fall into the the binary decision trap on stuff that just is not binary in nature. Great piece Craig!

    Liked by 1 person

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