Column - Something I never thought I would see or readDid you happen to see the cover of the recent Newsweek magazine that showed Barack Obama and the quote, “Hit the Road Barack, Why We Need a New President”? I don’t know about you, but I had to take a second look at this to see if what I was seeing was actually the cover of Newsweek, which has been a very liberal-leaning publication and very supportive of President Obama, both during his campaign and during his presidency.
By: DuWayne Paul, Columnist, Alexandria Echo Press
Did you happen to see the cover of the recent Newsweek magazine that showed Barack Obama and the quote, “Hit the Road Barack, Why We Need a New President”? I don’t know about you, but I had to take a second look at this to see if what I was seeing was actually the cover of Newsweek, which has been a very liberal-leaning publication and very supportive of President Obama, both during his campaign and during his presidency.
The cover referred to an article in that issue written by Niall Ferguson. Granted, Mr. Ferguson is a noted conservative writer and commentator and it is a bit surprising that Newsweek would publish someone like this, but, put it on the cover of the latest issue? The publisher and editor of Newsweek have control of what goes on the cover of each issue, not Niall Ferguson, and that is what makes it so stunning.
Is the national mainstream media actually starting to question Obama’s background and qualifications for office, as well as his performance in office?
Maybe there is a growing remorse among the media that Barack Obama was not vetted the same way other politicians have been on both sides of the aisle. The media was very slanted against Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic primary process and showed a decided favoritism toward Obama. In the same way, they are looking for anything they can use against the Romney-Ryan Republican ticket in this election. In fairness, let’s distinguish what and how the media gives us information.
There is a big difference between “reporting” and “commentary.” When reporting the news and current events, the media should be dealing with facts and history and let the reader decide what that means in terms of today’s politics. For instance, the nightly news on broadcast or cable TV should be “reporting” and not peppering the report with opinions as a means of expressing the ideology of a particular journalist, publication, or TV channel. This type of “reporting” is what you should see on the front page and main body of any news publication or on the nightly news you may watch.
On the other hand, commentary can and probably should express the opinions and ideology of the writer or TV commentator. The column I write for the Echo Press every two weeks is a good example. I am decidedly a conservative constitutionalist, small government, low taxes person, and I make no apologies for that. It is my opinion, and I try to use facts and history to express what I am thinking or seeing. This type of “commentary” is what you typically read in the editorial or opinion portion of a publication. Also, cable TV programs such as The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News and the Ed Show on MSNBC are commentaries, not necessarily reporting. Distinguishing the difference is what is critical for the reader or listener to discern.
Reporting can contain commentary, and commentary can contain reporting. It gets a bit confusing, doesn’t it? In our politically divided country, it gets harder to know the truth and the facts. As citizens and voters, it’s our responsibility to evaluate what the media feeds us. That takes time, effort, and critical thinking. The good thing is that we have resources to help us understand. Publications, libraries and the Internet are valuable tools for this. We owe it to our country and coming generations to be knowledgeable and make good political decisions. We should be discerning and use informed critical judgment.
I’m just sayin’.
“Maybe it is the media that has us divided.”
DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.