CURBING DISCOURSE IS NOT AMERICAN


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By James Carlini

Patrick Henry Stipple engraving by Leney, after Thomas Sully Published by J. Webster, 1817, Copyprint Prints and Photographs Division (LC-USZ62-4907) Library of Congress (134) “I may not agree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.”  Patrick Henry said this just before he said his more famous line, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

It is sometimes misattributed to Voltaire, but the reason I bring it up is because we are experiencing too many curbs to discourse in both the new media of blogs as well as our traditional TV and print media.

The average American wants to hear both sides of the issues, not just one.

It is easy to blame politicians for the tearing up of America and its values, but the media – both the traditional and new media, are also to blame.

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WHY IS BENGHAZI A STICKING POINT WITH A “MODERATION TEAM”?

I usually read the column Wall Street Breakfast: Must Know News Column at Seeking Alpha (www.seekingalpha.com) because it is a pretty good place to read through financial headlines and make comments on the various trends that are going on in the markets as well as the political trends that shape the markets.

Wednesday, there was a comment about the Press and its bias that seemed to get many people’s attention.  There were those saying that FOX Cable News was more objective than others (CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN) and some with differing views saying that FOX was the biased one.

I expected that discourse because the usual readership is stretched across the political spectrum from conservative to liberal as well as one or two Canadians giving their perspective as well.  In a way, this group is a microcosm of society and each has their opinions.

At rare times, it gets a little hot so they have an anonymous Moderation Team that is supposed to follow-up on personal attacks or comments that are not germane.  Like most blogs they have their terms and rules, but that should not get in the way of healthy discourse of differing opinions.

Having a healthy discourse on financial as well as political issues is critical and the comments on this thread reflect that.

This is what seems to be lacking in Washington DC and the results are clear to see.  People need to communicate.  People need to hear differing views and they need to respect those who have differing views.

When it came to asking a question of what actually happened at Benghazi because there are still many unanswered questions, there seemed to be a good give-and-take about it until the “Moderation Team” took down about six comments?  Why?

By taking them down, they are showing either their immaturity to discern real discourse OR they are letting their own political leanings overtake their sense of objectivity.  In either case, I think it was the wrong move.  (They cannot say it was irrelevant to the thread because it is not tied to a financial discourse.  Unless no one there owns US Treasuries, Bonds or US Savings Bonds, it IS very relevant.)

Benghazi has left a lot of questions on the table and it is unfortunate that the mainstream press has not taken up questioning about this.  When a financial blog, all of sudden has an anonymous “moderation team” slice out the whole conversation, you really start to wonder why you cannot talk about it?  What is being covered up?

The more that is covered up, the more likely there is something there.  If there truly isn’t any cover-ups, the journalist or “moderation team” should not be trying to create an impression that there is.

And it’s sad that they do not have to account for their actions of censorship.  If for nothing else, they should be able to say why they feel so strongly to censure that issue and sweep it under the table so that readers coming in to read the thread later, see a disconnect between a comment left dangling when the prior six have been swept away.

Why am I writing about it here?  This is not an isolated case.  I have seen it in other cases where a “new media” blog or traditional newspaper wants you to add to their “credibility” by writing comments only to be censored later by them if your views do not agree with theirs.

graphic opposing viewpointsI don’t want my news filtered and I definitely don’t want comments after that news excluded or left out because they don’t agree with the news media’s viewpoint and might even counter the “facts” written in the article. The news media should be there to present the news, but not filter it and sometimes edit it before presenting it to the public.

What do they teach in college journalism today? Maybe they should hand out Patrick Henry’s quotes.

It is not just some of the “new” media at fault, the Chicago Tribune does that a lot with reporting on Chicago crimes and it is always caught by one of its chief competitors on the new media side of blogs.  The unofficial blog of the Chicago Police Department (www.secondcitycop.blogspot.com) is constantly focusing on the Tribune’s “lapses” of not providing all the facts in the crime or shutting down the comments section when the comments refute the accuracy of their reporting of the crime.

As for my subscription to the Chicago Tribune?  It was cancelled a long time ago.  I have no faith in their reporting of the news.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS HAS TO BE REPLACED WITH POLITICAL ACCURACY

What is wrong with the American Press today?  They wonder why they have lost that monopoly on providing the news but maybe they have forgotten how to present the news.  If they were doing a good job, we wouldn’t be seeing a deluge of blogs and other on-line media not only exploding on the market, but actually capturing a sizeable audience away from the traditional journalists and news media.

We need to get back to some solid foundations that they have seemed to forgotten or maybe in their journalistic education, they were never exposed to.

As to media strength and putting down those independent blogs because they simply don’t “reach the audience” of a major metropolitan newspaper, I have to laugh.

With my electronic circulation of over 2.5 million readers through several syndicated distribution outlets, my circulation is over three times larger than the Chicago Tribune’s Sunday circulation number of about 734,000 which is declining.  (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20121030/NEWS06/121039958/chicago-sun-times-tribune-gain-in-digital-lose-in-print )

Let’s remember Patrick Henry and his focus on protecting the Freedom of Speech and start asking journalists and their editors to be more politically accurate instead of politically correct in their assessment and presentation of the news.

CARLINI-ISM :  Political correctness has to be replaced with political accuracy, especially when it comes to the news media.

Follow daily Carlini-isms at www.TWITTER.com/JAMESCARLINI

Copyright 2013 – James Carlini

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3 responses to “CURBING DISCOURSE IS NOT AMERICAN

  1. Thank you both for your comments. They add to the issue at hand.

  2. Wayne Jablonski

    James, I agree wholeheartedly with all that you say. I have no problem with bias, to tell you the truth I kind of enjoy seeing the subtle and clever nuances people use to hide their bias. I do have a problem with bias being reported as news and a real big problem with “filtering” what someone else thinks I should hear or read or worst of all what I should say. Like you, when that type of filtering happens the alarm panel in my head starts flashing red. James, keep on keepin on.

  3. Tom Barsuk (IgnisFatuus on SA)

    Nice write up Jim. I stopped subscribing to the Arizonza Republic news paper here in Phoenix 10-12 years ago because of their tendencies to provide a less than complete picture.

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