The Political War of Words and the Role of the Media

I have lived for 89 years and have been politically aware since the late 1930s, but I have never seen anything like the present level of animosity between our major political parties.  Virulent charges flow back and forth every day, and with all the din and smoke of partisan gunfire it is very difficult to discern the truth. Twenty-four hours per day news cycles increase our exposure to the raging political conflict.

President Trump attacks his enemies viciously, and often he displays little regard for civility or veracity.  His most contentious and scathing remarks often come as counterpunches to bitter verbal assaults from his political opponents. As for those who oppose the President, sometimes in their eagerness to destroy him their frenzy borders on the edge of a psychotic seizure.  It is a gutter fight, disturbing to witness, and it causes some to fear for the survival of democracy in this land.

Personally, I believe that these fears are overblown. Our forefathers built our governmental institutions well, and they are designed to withstand difficult partisan storms.  Study our history.  The Adams-Jefferson  imbroglio of 1800 was perhaps as vicious as the political warfare today, and there are many other conflicts that shook the citadels of political power.  We survived them. And over the course of two centuries we citizens have become even more firm in our institutions and protocols and are highly unlikely to succumb to the lure of a strongman. I trust that we will outlive this present turmoil.

I am more concerned about the failure of our national leaders to face our problem of growing national debt and fiscal imbalance.  Someday that monstrous economic turkey is going to come home to roost.

As for the media, it is amorphous.  When politicians use the term media they are usually referring to the press and to television news.  President Trump rails against the media incessantly.  He talks about “fake news” and refers to its purveyors as “enemies of the people”.  His opponents in press and television respond in kind and suggest that the President is trying to muzzle them. There is absolutely no danger of that.  There is no way that President Trump can silence his enemies in the media, and I doubt that he even wishes to do so.  He gets too much free coverage from the back and forth exchange with his critics.

Conservative commentators frequently decry political bias in news coverage.  A careful examination of the evidence proves that bias is a fact.  Most major networks and newspapers are definitely slanted in favor of the “liberal” or “progressive” viewpoint.  Their programs , editorials, and news stories reflect this bias constantly, both in their choice of stories to cover and the way they cover them.  This bias long preceded President Trump’s arrival on the political stage. Nevertheless, despite this bias, American citizens have alternative sources for news  There is one major television network that definitely slants “conservative”, and both conservative and liberal blogs proliferate on the internet. Also, radio is always available to give a different point of view.  The citizen who truly seeks the truth can get different versions of it via these several sources.  It is then up to the seeker to sort things out. Heaven help him as he tries to do it.

And, in the meantime,

May God preserve our republic.

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