By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – For as long as I’ve been following the news, there have been people who prefer to make news media coverage the issue rather than deal with the issues the news media is covering.

Before the public turned against the war in Vietnam, reporters who dared report on what a travesty it was were accused of siding with the communists.

The late Bernard Cardinal Law deplored the media’s “focus on the faults of a few” for its coverage of the priest child-abuse sex scandals, a decade before he was forced out for his role in covering up those crimes.

And these days, trashing the press for critical coverage of political figures is common practice on the right and the left, depending on whose favorites are under scrutiny.

But President Trump has elevated press-bashing to an art form, creating a catchy phrase – “fake news” – that has been adopted by oppressive regimes around the world.

And Wednesday, Republican Senator Jeff Flake made it clear he’d seen enough.

“It is the range and regularity of the untruths we see that should be cause for profound alarm, and spur to action. Add to that the by-now predictable habit of calling true things false, and false things true, and we have a recipe for disaster. As George Orwell warned, ‘the further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it,’” Flake said.

Is the media imperfect?

Of course.

But the partisans across the spectrum who’ve become addicted to gratuitous media-bashing have a decision to make – are you interested in seeking truth? Or do you prefer to outsource that search to your political overlords?

Talk back to me via email at, or you can reach me on Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

Comments (2)

  2. There is a big difference between “news and thoughtful analysis” and “soundbites with unbridled speculation”.

    The Vietnam conflict and the view of it as a tragedy for both Vietnam and the United States occurred during a time when the objectives of our foreign policy were undergoing a not-unexpected revision form the policies of the immediate post WWII and the Korean conflict. The change in public opinion was fueled by the growing number of servicemen killed in action with no reasonably perceived gain against the objective.

    So, don’t pat yourself on the back too hard about that, and remember, you weren’t even draft-eligible for a goodly portion of that unfortunate engagement so you have little direct experience in understanding the way it was back then.

    I bash the media, Jon, and it includes you, for their willingness to set aside the tenets of journalism…the who, what, when, where, and how…for ad hominem indictments based on speculation, anonymous sources, and ideological leanings.

    For that I will always bash the media…and anyone or any group that choses to operate in the fashion.

    Yes, I want the truth. But please, make sure that you are telling me “the truth” and refrain from telling me what conclusions I am to draw from it.

    If you can’t stand the marketplace of ideas, then I would suggest that you take up electrical work or plumbing since skepticism is essential for progress.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s