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Friends, for the first time ever I have written a letter of complaint to a news organization about their reporting. As I wrote this I realized what I am complaining about has been happening in other newspapers:  sometimes the venerable NYTimes, sometimes even the Washington Post which has done its daily duty more explicitly.

David Kay Johnston

I wrote to Mark Gertler who is the person one sends these emails to, something like this:

Dear Sir, There is a difference between even-handedness and bending over backwards to the point you support a candidate by not telling the truth.  The other night Paul Solman had on the broadcast for the first time a man who has written a thoroughly-research book on Trump, showing among other things his long history of fraud, of lying, and now he recently wrote an article about what we know about this man's taxes. Solman treated him hostilely. In effect Solman defended cheating on taxes. He defended behavior that was indictable. The interviewee said that there is a difference between shady practices by someone who is not running for president and someone who is. Solman looked unimpressed.

I've listened over the months to Shields and especially Shields, attack Clinton for what are in comparison personality issues and political maneuvring well within the norms of politics. Brooke has made it plain he is "never Trump," but to listen to him on some weeks he regards her remiss behavior as the equivalent of Trump's.  Endless complaints about her and then they turn round to excuse and "understand" him. Only in the last two weeks has Shields come out and treated Trump with the seriousness a presidential candidate ought to be and thoroughly described what he is.

Judy Woodruff will sit and try to excuse the delusional voting of the Trump people, never once pointing out the difference between what is and what these people imagine. Never have I seen her come near the issue of misogyny.  Shame on her as a woman. I suppose I ought to make a blog too about the difference between even-handedness and bending over backwards to support a crook.  They are helping to elect this man.

Gwen Ifill. Does she care more about her career lest the least fair comment about black women -- often the mothers, sisters, daughters of the black men regularly killed in the streets hurt her chance at whatever. I wonder if Charlene Hunter-Gault was hired to say in her suave tactful way as if meditating what Ifill demurs at. Ifill does regularly interview African-American people.

I have been a sustaining member of PBS for over a year. I did this because I support PBS reports. Equally that night Paul Solman disgraced himself Malcolm Brabant had a news report on trafficking of refugee women. I've no doubt he sometimes risks his life informing us about the plight of these people. Fred de Sam Lazaro is irreplaceable, a hero. William Brangham is so penetrating in what he does present.  I enjoy Jeffrey Brown's purview and interviews.

I have the highest respect for Hari Sreenivasan. Has he at any point reported on the effect of Trump's anti-immigrant stance? precisely because he is a man whose background is not European he should be forthright.

When it comes to Trump this news organization loses sight of their duty as news people to report straight what is.
I signed my name.

i did not say that Trump has not deigned to appear on their show. He has treated them with utter contempt, pretending they are not there even. What do they expect will happen if he should become president? When someone pisses in your face, do you say it's raining?

The man Solman interviewed is a a Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist, David Cay Johnston, who’s been reporting on Trump since the late ’80s. He’s also the author of a bestselling book, The Making of Donald Trump.

Miss Drake


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 1st, 2016 01:18 pm (UTC)
False equivalences
Catherine: "It's a good thing you wrote. I am so tired of this "Pretend Fairness." It is far from fair. Even the great and powerful Friedman of the NY Times recently wrote an OpEd about the dangers of "false equivalency" with reference to his own paper's coverage of Hillary and Trump. Baby steps and way to late. But this false equivalency has to stop."

Nicholas Kristof finally said this in the Washington Post about a week ago.
Oct. 1st, 2016 10:34 pm (UTC)
False equivalences
I couldn't agree more that the press is not doing its job in calling out Trump as the venal liar and cheater (crook) he is, not to mention incompetent. It's obscene that sober people have to suffer the anxiety of worrying this man will be elected.

Another friend
Oct. 1st, 2016 02:33 pm (UTC)
Tone seems to have changed since the debate
Good letter! I do think this recent debate has changed the tone of what the pundits are saying now. I think CNN has been as guilty as the people you mention. Only the MSNBC people have dealt with Trump as he should be dealt with. PBS has been especially disappointing. Good for you!!
Oct. 1st, 2016 05:27 pm (UTC)
A strategy?
"Ellen, because Paul Solman and my brother were friends at Brandeis, I've paid attention to his reports for many years. He's a leftist who can reveal his point of view only in his choice of topics to cover, as PBS has to maintain a decidedly neutral stance. I didn't see the segment you refer to, but my guess is that he convinced the producers to let him discuss this anti-Trump book by agreeing to adopt a strongly skeptical attitude toward its author. This seems to be a frequent tactic on PBS.

I've only recently begun watching MSNBC and CNN and see much more clearly how limited PBS is, because it depends on government funding."

I'll agree that until now I'd seen this man and heard about his book only on DemocracyNow.org.
Oct. 1st, 2016 08:38 pm (UTC)
Thumbs up
I agree Paul Solman seemed to be the Devil's advocate in that exchange. And even David Cay Johnston let Trump off easier than he usually does, saying he didn't blame him at all for not paying any taxes when Solman seemed to agree Trump was "smart" not to pay a thing. Johnston explained the system is certainly stacked in real estate mogul's favor, sounded sympathetic to Trump's use of it & illustrated how he could make millions by owning the buildings his businesses are in. He did declare him to be a sales tax fraud by sending himself empty boxes out of state & pocketing the jewelry.

It is infuriating to listen to the even-handedness of PBS & NPR (my chief news sources). It is so very PC old fashioned mainstream journalism. When dealing with a huckster, charlatan, liar & crook like Trump I think they should really be doing all they can to expose him at this point, before we wake up in November to national disaster.

Thumbs up, Ellen, for writing your letter & posting your blog. I hope they gain attention & change some minds at PBS. Gwen I. does drive me nuts on Washington Week this past election season.
Oct. 1st, 2016 10:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Thumbs up
Yes, and it didn't seem like Solman. I kept looking up to see if it was really him.
Oct. 1st, 2016 08:39 pm (UTC)
Coverage is outrageous
The whole coverage is outrageous. My blood boils. Definitely blog. The NYT is what says Clinton is not in Ohio enough, sends "surrogates." Obama did that all the time and it was fine, no complaints. I give that woman credit for running. A lesser mortal would crumble.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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