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Friday, May 8, 2015

Dear Media: (Part 2 - ABC)

I saw a poll that showed the least informed Americans are those who watch the Fox cable channel and that people who don't follow the news knew more about what was going on than the Fox audience. I thought that made sense, actually, but it also gave me an idea. I decided that I would start watching all of the news outlets and try to determine what it is that America is being told.

Initially I was outraged, to be honest. I wrote a blog entry called Dear Media and figured all media outlets would have a revelation and forward to all of their staff and their immediate understanding would be reflected in what would be produced from there on out. I am pretty adorable, I know.

But seriously, I am actually shocked at what I am seeing on the major news outlets. Where is our country headed if those who are meant to inform us do so lazily and leave out important variables? Those who only watch their news at 6:30 with their dinner are getting a pretty narrow view of our political world as it stands now. And if they wanted to jump on your websites, there would still be a very skewed focus toward generic and useless informing.

My mother is a Republican and it always infuriates me that she has no idea who the players are, presently, in her party. She doesn't understand what they really believe. I watch MSNBC, and am proud to admit that I go there specifically because I am a Liberal. And I understand that they have a left-leaning bias. But I do watch other channels, too. The channels which are supposed to be unbiased. And I have noticed a profound difference in the stories. I think I would call them fluff. Or nonsense? If you are not journalists (which is questionable, to be honest) you are certainly marketing something. Because you need to get them to come back and watch the show next time, right? It seems that is the objective. If you are in marketing, your consumers are being ripped off. And you should be ashamed of yourselves, honestly.

For instance, just now I went to because the misinformation of politics is my major concern. You have to scroll down in the political page above to come to the first mention of Secretary Clinton, which is a story about a fundraiser for the Clinton Foundation. You would not be reporting this at all if the Republicans hadn't started a, thus unsubstantiated, rumor (which you have willfully reported on ad nauseam) about the foundation. The position of the writer is negative and points out that this is a curious time for them to hold a fundraiser as there are concerns at this time about their fundraising. There is never an insistence or direction in any of your reporting that I have seen or read about its being a rumor. You are reporting it as if a rumor is newsworthy. (When did rumors become news that wasn't only printed in tabloids?) And questioning the timing of the fundraiser was quite simple-minded as if to suggest this was scheduled last week and not long before they knew someone was going to get started so early with their smear campaign and begin the barrage of attacks with rumors surrounding the Clinton's philanthropy.

To counter, the first thing one sees when they open the politics page is a huge photo of "HOPE" which takes you to a story about Mike Huckabee. This begins with the initial sentence telling the reader that Huckabee doesn't like Bill Clinton, the other famous politician from this small town. This piece goes on to glorify Huckabee through the words of those who live there and tells us that it has turned Republican since the time when Clinton was the President. We are left an image of a small-town southern man who is really respected and honorable; in opposition with President Clinton, who has since lost favor.

There was absolutely no mention of any of his scandals or rumors. None of the readers were offered an opportunity to learn his opinions about and genuine disdain for women. The scandal of his having endorsed a "cure for diabetes" product (which, surprisingly, didn't cure diabetes) was not offered to the reader, either. Your reader might have wanted to know that this respectable small-town guy was one of the few on the right to proudly jump on the 'legitimate rape' bandwagon. And he never jumped off when those wiser then he realized what a trainwreck it was. They didn't find out about how he genuinely believes, and in 2008 campaigned on, an idea that the Constitution needed to be amended to fit God's law (his God- the Christian one). And it would be really important that the American electorate be informed that this change to the Constitution would, in fact, be the sharia law they have heard people talking about.

The fact that he opened his campaign in Hope was the only mention of his campaign. This would seem like the perfect time to tell your audience what he said that day about his campaign and his vision for America. His vision is quite compelling as he means to, "abolish" the IRS and Department of Education. He stated that the Supreme Court could not overrule the "Laws of God." Most Americans would find it interesting that he thought the laws of God were something their country was meant to be judged on. They would want to know that a potential President thought so. If a serious candidate were running for the highest office in the land and repeatedly condemned large swaths of American society, it is your responsibility to let them know that. He literally displays contempt for the LGBT community. And for women. And for Muslims. If they don't make it to one of his rallies, as hundreds of millions of Americans won't, it is your responsibility to let them know what he said.

Americans need to be afforded an opportunity to understand what they are voting for. As journalists, this should be such an exciting time to cover politics. Presently the GOP has up to 20 people vying for the primaries. And all but one of those identifies as a Tea Party hopeful. Most GOP members don't know that those in the Tea Party call them RINOs (Republican In Name Only). They don't realize that the "R" they check on the ballot is really a "T" and that the ideals they believed their party stands for are a joke to this new movement. I believe, as journalists, it is your job to make sure they know. Presently, if they are being informed by either of the big 3 or CNN, they are having a very skewed view of the political landscape. You are doing America and your legacies a profound disservice. Honestly, you should be ashamed.

All of those running in the Tea Party have a lot of things people need to know about that you are not telling them. They have a lot of rumors surrounding them. They have made a lot of contradictory statements in their varied speeches depending on who their audience was. None of these have been reported on.

These Tea Party affiliates have ideas which most Americans would see as quite extreme. If the majority of Americans believe in a woman's choice and gay marriage and the need for stricter gun laws, it is your responsibility to make them understand that all of these Presidential hopefuls will fight against these.

The single most terrifying item for me, however, is that the Tea Party members who joke about the unwitting RINOs were sincerely excited by the shooting last week in Texas. The woman who incited the event is one of their biggest idols. The RINOs would be terrified if they heard her hateful message. Those RINOs should also be made aware of the entire story behind the fear presently being instilled in Texas about a military take over of the state which is being supported by some of their leaders, including some of those running for President. They would want an opportunity to defend their party against such outrageous ideals. And, most importantly, they would want to know that the vocal piece of their party agree with these views.

I imagine anyone who goes into journalism does so hoping to get to investigate issues and get to break a story that no one else has discovered. I imagine a young college student deciding they wanted an opportunity to learn about and report on the world and build a respectful reputation for doing so. This would be a great time to not only get to do some real investigative journalism, but to make a name for yourself as a creditworthy newsperson. The present field is quite underwhelming. And you could be a part of a positive movement for this country. Please step up. Make your mother proud. Make America proud. Its time.

#Media #ABCNews #ABC #DavidMuir #GeorgeStephanopolous #ABCWorldNewsTonight #Nightline #20/20 #ThisWeek #JamesGoldston #CeciliaVega #TomLlamas #JonathanKarl #MarthaRaddatz #JimAvila #CokieRoberts #RickKlein #MatthewDowd #DonnaBrazile #BillKristol

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