News

Shhh…

… something is rotten in the state of America!

 One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution;
one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.”

~ George Orwell, 1984

free-press-and-censorship

The truth is hard to come by.  These days, truth about current events, the state of the U.S. government and its various controversial machinations have become particularly difficult to obtain.  Throughout U.S. history the idea of a “free press” has been the corner stone of an informed public.  If we do not gain information—”truth”—through the news media, how can we ever know what is actually going on around us?

A Call for More Investigative Journalism

Traditionally, White House news briefings have provided news agencies—which is to say, us—with direct access to the President.  February 2017 exclusions of major news outlets from such a briefing as well as alleged false statements from White House press secretary Sean Spicer have caused some to wonder if investigative reporting might be the only viable means of obtaining news related to actions of the U.S. government.  A specific appeal was voiced in a recent article that appeared in truthdig.

sean-spicer(White House press secretary Sean Spicer)

The ever widening divide between the executive branch of the U.S. government and the news media has become a major problem.  Previous decades found journalists bridging this gap when the need arose.  Yet now it appears something is broken in American journalism. For fiscal reasons, many major news outlets (particularly print media) have largely curtailed the practice of news-worthy investigations that manage to bare what some might attempt to conceal. Yet given the state of media relations in the U.S., a “receptive” approach to news gathering may no longer serve the goal of maintaining an informed public.  An era of “alternative facts”  seems to cry out for a return to more vigorous, independently probative journalism despite economic constraints.

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A “Deep State” Coup?

glenn-greenwald

Some supporters of the current administration have accused the intelligence agencies of attempting to wage a deep state coup against the President. Meanwhile, some critics of this “Loser President” open embrace such activity.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept explains what the deep state is and critiques the idea and implications of a deep state coup, warning that such a development signals the end of democracy.

Defunding the EPA

Have you chosen a political issue on which you have decided to focus?  There is plenty to do.  Consider this.

The new presidential administration plans to cut the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget by $800 million.  Ken Kimmel, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists has stated that “the inevitable consequence of budget cuts of that magnitude would be a reversal of about the last 50 years of improvements in air quality, improvements in water quality and greater safety from chemicals that cause disease in people”.  Read the full story.

smoggy-washington-bridge
The George Washington Bridge in heavy smog, photographed during the early 1970s before many of today’s clean air protections were put in place. (Photo from the US National Archives/Flickr).

Here are more climate change stories.

Objectivity, Neutrality and Truth

Trust in “news” as well as other sources of “truth” is a developing topic here at seekingGood.  When does conviction stand in the way of objectivity, or does it? Can it be that not taking a stand endangers objectivity, rendering us complicit in a lie?  When does a habit of normalizing acquiescence result in notions of “truth” we might abhor under other circumstances?  Sound complicated?  It is. (If nuance is your cup of tea, here is a story for you).

Lewis Wallace, a former journalist for Marketplace, attempted to draw attention to these issues—and was fired.  The first video presents a brief overview of Mr. Wallace’s situation.

lewis-wallace(Photo: Facebook)

This second video presents a more in-depth description, as well as Mr. Wallace reading the blog post that created the stir.

objectivity-is-dead

We should all ponder the pitfalls of neutrality as we attempt to find Good in this new Public Space of contemporary life.  Want more on these issues of media reliability?  Explore these stories.

Stuff to do This Week – Jan 29th

jennifer-hofmann-image-1If you would like something specific to do this week, take a look at Jen Hofmann’s Action list for the week–January 29th-Feb 4th.  The are specific things you can do, email and phone call scripts (in case you do not know what to say) and some news.  You might also want to subscribe to her weekly list directly.

(Note: Since a lot of people are accessing this document, it might not load right away.  Or it might seem like a broken link.  If so, just try it again.)

We, the People: Black or White Hats, Shirts or Skins?

by c. alexander parms

Which is Good?

rally-split-focus
(Photo: c. alexander parms/www.seekinggood.blog)

Such categories are never real.  Nor have they ever been. But we like to feel in control, that we know this and that with an assurance that allows us to move forward into the world with confidence.  Sadly, too often, such clarity is not to be had. Us and Them is always a fiction, a shorthand used to bind us together and to give the appearance that we combat a common, definable foe.  The recent political rally in Newark, New Jersey—touted as “Our First Act of Resistance”—clearly accentuated the greyness of the political arena.

With more than 600 people in attendance, the focus of the rally was to “stop the Republican attempt to dissolve the Affordable Care Act (ACA)”.  Politicians and leaders of various community organizations presented statistics regarding how many New Jersians (this was a regional rally) would lose their healthcare if the act is repealed.  A few citizens (non-elected officials) testified how ACA had changed their lives, pulling them back from the brink of a single illness driving them into financial ruin. As with all rallies, speakers led chants such as “People united will never be defeated!” and “Fired up, ready to go!” The audience was jazzed, ready to dive into whatever action was proposed.  This was a political rally, after all.  It all sounded “good”.  Or did it? (more…)