20Jul
By: George Lombardi On: July 20, 2020 In: Articles Comments: 0

Tough Journalism or Culture Food Fight

What does Trump giving a thumbs-up to Goya Foods have to do with a young New York Times reporter giving a thumbs down to the publisher in her letter of resignation.

I see them somehow related as often these days it’s hard to tell when journalism ends and bias and cancel culture take over. And come in with guns blazing for the kill.

After the CEO of Goya Foods effusively praised President Trump at a White House event, Latinos went to nuclear war on social media.

Soon the war spills over on CNN when Anderson Cooper ridicules the picture of President Trump giving a thumbs up to cans of Goya beans.

Ridiculous!

“137,000 Americans dead and this is our self-proclaimed wartime president’s answer to it,” an emotional Cooper says about the photograph, snarling it’s so utterly “ridiculous.”

Meanwhile, Democratic critics like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez call for a boycott and other liberals post social media videos of themselves dumping the iconic brand’s signature spices down the drain.

Conservatives fume about cancel culture and mock the boycott on Facebook with memes like “Black Beans Matter.” Yes, another typical day in the ever fermenting, percolating, discombobulating USA.

In another part of the news world, a young journalist resigns in a super loud huff.

Dear A.G.

In her resignation letter to The New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger, reporter/writer Bari Weiss stresses how important it is for journalists to understand other Americans, resist tribalism, and embrace a free exchange of ideas so important to a democratic society.

Instead, she wrote, “a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.”

In her parting shot, Weiss urged that stories not be told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, but to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions.

First draft

Like her, I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history, but is history emerging today as just one more ephemeral item molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative?

As a former journalist myself (The Philadelphia Inquirer and other newspapers), I have to agree that Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, for opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere.

Yet Weiss charges her erstwhile colleagues keep assuring themselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing their “4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world?”

She closes citing one of my heroes, Adolph Ochs, exhorting his staff 1896:

“. . . make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.”

Thumbs up, Adolph!

Adolph, I wish you can see my thumbs up for that sage message of yours from yesteryear!

Although I wish it would lean at times a bit more editorially central, please know, Mr. Ochs, I continue to subscribe to that Gray Lady, The New York Times, at least to the digital version, albeit she’s far from the grande dame she once was

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