Finding News

As a self-professed news and political junkie, I am having serious issues with getting my daily fix.

Years ago I tuned out to MSNBC and Fox News due to having to wade through both networks extreme ideological bent, which colored and camouflaged the actual news. Trying to get an objective report on the national, world and political stages was too difficult when wading through all the mire.

This left me one option – other than relying only on local news reports, which still are the most reliable on state and local issues. That option was the center left broadcast by CNN.

That choice worked well for the past eight years – until the election of the Reality Show President Donald Trump.

While it has been a ratings bonanza for CNN, the network has become the alternate programming with Reality Show News.

Even when there is real breaking news in the country or around the world, CNN remains focused on what appears its reality show script of disrupting and discrediting the President.

So what am I to do to find news – real news – not news in a reality show format?

Currently the network has tunnel vision on one issue – the wording, “wiretapped.”

With the President and Congress working on a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, with a proposed presidential budget, with a confirmation hearing looming for a Supreme Court pick, with saber rattling on the Korean Peninsula – every news story comes back to the theme of the day – the President’s unsubstantiated claims that former President Barack Obama “wiretapped” Trump Tower.

Nothing else seems to matter to CNN.

I am having to rely more and more searching through online websites to find what is actually happening in the world and even in our own country.

The chattering class are decrying the loss of real news, the reliance and acceptance of the public of “fake news.”

But who is to blame?

All three major news networks share the blame as they have moved from reporting to opinion interspersed by anchors and journalists.

As Jack Webb used to say, “Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.”

Report the story without embellishment.

Give us the who, what, when, where, why and how and leave your own take behind.

From the Cornfield, are we truly in for four or eight years of a Reality Show Presidency and Reality Show News?

Forget finding Nemo, I want to find the news.

Baited

There has been considerable press about how President Donald Trump can be baited by a tweet. This first was pointed out by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in her failed bid to win the White House.

The national press corps has seized on that point with a certain glee.

This was pointed out on some of the Sunday talk shows after a New York Times reporter wrongly tweeted that the new Administration had removed the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office. The bust is and was there.

But while I agree the Prez does seem to be apt to take the offense to the slightest dig in a tweet, the national press corps is also easily baited by Trump and the new Administration.

The corps seems intent on answering and defending each time the President, his Press Secretary or any surrogate says anything hitting at the low esteem in which the national press is held by the American people. Members of the journalistic class cannot help themselves from going defensive and responding, which plays right into the hands of the President.

It further amplifies in the minds of the readers and viewers that there must be some kernel of truth to whatever charge. To borrow from William Shakespeare, methinks the press doth protest too much.

Then there is the issue of tone, which is usually combative and dismissive in a condescending way by those working inside the Beltway. To those of us in the Heartland, the attitude of the national press reflects what the President says about them being elitists, out-of-touch with every day Americans.

Yes, the national press corps should be vigorous in reporting the news and holding the new Administration and President accountable for the words spoken, the actions taken. At the same time, the national press needs to get out of their bubbles and reconnect with the reality of we, the people, living in the vast expanse of the nation.

Members of the press say they are not at war with the President, yet the way some label the President and his staff as “ridiculous” as NBC‘s Chuck Todd did on Meet the Press this morning, only serves to alienate the public and solidify a line of defense around the President – even if he is wrong.

To people in the Cornfield, it looks like the national press corps has declared war on the President.

How long will the national media continue to be baited?

How long will the White House press corps keep swallowing the dangling worm, hook, line and sinker?

From the Cornfield, journalists covering the White House and the President need to return to Journalism 101 and step out of the story. The national press have violated this basic tenet and in almost every report become part of the story.

Journalists need to become objective reporters of the news and not the center of the story.

Journalistic Integrity Model

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His father was a liberal giant. His brother is governor of arguably the most liberal state in the Union. He works for a center left news network. His political ideology is not a secret.

Yet, CNN New Day anchor Chris Cuomo is cut from the same fabric as those paragons of journalism, Walter Cronkite and Tim Russert.

Both icons maintained the highest level of objectivity and integrity in their reporting. While we knew their political bent, neither let that get in the way of doing the job of a free press who looks at events with an eye of neutrality and not picking sides.

This is why Cronkite was America’s favorite Uncle behind Uncle Sam. This is why Russert was the face of Meet the Press for two decades with full trust of the viewing public.

Compare this to today’s crop of journalists whom survey after survey reveals are not trusted. Today’s journalists rank far behind even the two most mistrusted presidential candidates in history.

Then there is Chris Cuomo.

Most people would accept if he slipped now and then and revealed a bit of bias or prejudice, but he does not. Instead Cuomo seems to go out of his way to uphold and maintain why the free press was enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Chris makes sure he does not become the story, but rather lets the story develop on its own. In questioning candidates and politicians of all stripes, Chris walks the line we expect of reporters unlike too many of his colleagues.

Whether liberal or conservative or moderate, whether Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or independent, all are put under the same glaring light of professionalism and transparency.

Chris is one reason I continue to view CNN. Not that I have many options with Fox News being too far to the right and MSNBC being too far left. 

There is hope left for the current cadre of journalists who have abandoned the principles on which our free press was founded.

That hope is the example of Chris Cuomo.

From the Cornfield, Chris keep up the good work and being an example for journalists everywhere in this day when too many journalists are leaving behind objectivity and integrity.

Thank you, for the breath of fresh air, Chris.

Citizen Journalism Dying on CNN?

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More than half a decade ago, with much fanfare, CNN, the international news network, introduced an experiment in citizen journalism called iReport. The forum was a way for people to submit breaking news, commentary, opinion, pictures, videos, recipes, almost anything you might find in a newspapers lifestyle section or letters to the editor page.

During the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012, iReport was hopping and a veritable cauldron of activity of a political nature. The conversations could become quite heated at times. With the anonymity of a username, hiding behind firewalls and not easily discovered IP addresses, some of the users, members of the news community network, became not only very vociferous and verbose, but could be cutting, ferocious and outright personally bullying at times.

Many of those who jab and cut with personal insults, slurs and innuendo were banned. But many also returned with new usernames and new avatars.

The iReport community grew from a predominantly US forum into a global forum. Photos and videos continue to be a major stock for the network. But the loudest and most unruly slice of the iReport community remains those speaking out on politics and policy centered on the US political scene.

Where once iReport was prominently linked on CNN’s main page, today you have to search to find the link. Where once you would see the familiar iReport logo on broadcast TV on various current events and headlines, now it is rare to never for inclusion from iReport.

Is it the lack of civility by some who participate with iReport which has the community becoming the proverbial “redheaded step-child”?

Are the personal slaps, the intense bullying, by some members of the community, becoming too much for CNN to continue its experiment in citizen journalism?

Has iReport become a financial liability rather than income generating?

Will iReport resurge as the 2016 presidential race heats up?

Are iReporters, who work to bring items of interest, stories to intrigue, input from another angle, photos and videos to delight, becoming disillusioned as some iReporters tend to interject discord and go off-topic with each post?

From the Cornfield, how soon will iReport end up in exile in the Desert with me?