Lawrence O’Donnell and David Farenthold (5 minutes)
Since the days of Ronald Reagan, corporations have had a goal of owning and controlling the disseminators of the news media in this country. To this end, they have purchased TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. They have used lobbying and huge campaign donations to elect congresses that were sympathetic to their cause which the sold under the guise of market economy.
There is only one job that is enshrined in the constitution and that is journalism. It was so important to the founders that the right for observers to be able to speak and disseminate their opinions unfettered by government that both speech and and press were enshrined in the very first amendment.
Unfortunately having the right to speak or write opinions without interference and exercising those rights are two different things. The lure of power and riches has always led folks to cash in their rights for an easier life. What we have seen in America over the past few decades and especially since the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 is an almost complete capitulation to the monied interests in this country.
The range of news coverage and analysis in this country these days are about as broad as it was in the old USSR with Tass and Izvestia.
Television is America’s main source of news. With six companies owning most of the television media in this country divergence of news coverage and analysis is almost nil. In the middle of a presidential campaign, few news outlets are doing stories on the real issues such as climate change, social security, rights of citizens or the true character of the candidates.
There have been three bright lights in this year where our own media has done all it can to shut off any light. Thanks to these men, their editors and the fact that we still have one media that is not under control of corporations and that is of course the internet.
The first is David Farenthold of the Washington Post. While much of the media has acted as stenographers for the Trump campaign, Farenthold and the Post have dug deeply into the dealings of Trump and his charity and reported the truth. For Trump and his various organizations, the truth ain’t pretty. But reporting like this is what the first amendment is all about. Here is a site that has many of Farenthold’s stories of this election. If you are not familiar with Farenthold’s work this year, be prepared to be astounded.
A side story to the Washington Post reporting of David Farenthold is that the editor of the Post these days is the highly regarded Martin Baron. You may not recognize the name, but if you saw the movie “Spotlight” you will remember Baron as the editor who identified the Catholic Church clergy sex abuse scandal as a story to pursue. Here is a profile of Baron in Esquire that gives us an idea of why the Post pursues stories that others don’t.
The other two bright lights of this campaign work for online publications. Internet companies are not as stodgy as brick and mortar media companies, which no doubt contributes to many online sites investigating Trump the difference with Farenthold, and the next two reporters are that their stories actually broke through the corporate barriers to get at least some time on corporate television.
Many of you are already familiar with Kurt Eichenwald’s work at Newsweek. His story “How The Trump Organization’s Business Ties Could Upend US National Security” was a breakthrough story that explored the consequences of what we have not been told may have on our national security.
The last stellar member of this reporting group is a man whose name is familiar and who has been reporting for decades on the screwing that our political class has been giving the citizen while giving the store away to the wealthy and well connected. David Cay Johnston needs little introduction. His new book “The Making Of Donald Trump” helps to lay bare the real Donald Trump. The real Donald Trump is not fit to be president plain and simple and Johnston gives plenty of reasons why.
Johnston’s book and subsequent articles just continue what he has done all his life. Yet in this day and age reporting like this is being suppressed. Note that the media blitz for this Johnston book was mostly on what left wing media that exists on the fringes that the corporates haven’t gobbled up or run out of business. Stops included shows like the Thom Hartmann Show, and Democracy Now!
Here is an 8 minute or so clip from Democracy Now! that discusses Donald Trump’s taxes: