"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Freedom of the Press

If you're looking for an interesting trilogy of movies to sink your teeth into, have I got one for you.
In the last two weekends we've viewed Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House, followed by a re-viewing of that 1976 classic All The President's Men, and then rounded off by a trip to the cinema on Sunday afternoon to see The Post.

The events depicted in all three of these films occurred when I was a little kid so of course I don't recall any of this political history in a personal way.  However, the shadows of the Pentagon Papers and of Watergate are long and dark, so of course I knew something of each.  It's so interesting to have these events put into context through film.

I couldn't help thinking about how relevant the core issues of democracy, freedom of the press and ethical standards are to our current times.  Now more than ever I believe that we should read the news carefully and that we should be mindful of the source of that news.  I still read newspapers (although I read them digitally) and I won't find my news anywhere else.  I read blogs for lifestyle stories, not news, and I don't engage in Facebook at all.  I subscribe to The New York Times and MrBP subscribes to The Globe and Mail (Canada's national newspaper) and it seems between the two of us we cover off the news for North America at least.

High quality newspaper reporting is not "fake news", the SPJ Code of Ethics is a real thing.  For a government to undermine journalism by washing it away with the "fake news" brush is to attempt to control the information the people who elected them will access and interpret.  I'm not trying to lecture on this subject (unless you're one of my Rascals and then I am lecturing you, get your digital NYT on the go kids) I just quite frankly find it frightening.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
-The First Amendment of the United States Constitution

Everyone has...the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.
-The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

xoxDani

17 comments:

  1. Well said Dani! I've always been a bit of a news and news magazine junkie. I regularly read the Guardian online, as well as the Daily Mail - the latter not because I agree with its viewpoint, but it sure is an eyeopener, especially when you look at the comments! It has certainly made me very aware of opposing viewpoints. At the end of last year I bought a trial subscription to the New Yorker - however, I found I simply didn't have the time to sit and read through everything. Actually, on Facebook I come across a lot of articles I otherwise wouldn't, so I like it for that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patricia it sounds like you are a very well-rounded news reader! We don't subscribe to the New Yorker in print anymore but our son does and he shares them with us. I find I read articles online and I do get the New Yorker emails, their reporting is so good, and the writing is excellent.
      Reading the comments is definitely an eye-opener, I agree. xx

      Delete
  2. Dani, Thanks for this post. I could not agree more. We just saw The Post and loved it. I know Spielberg rushed to get this movie done as it is SO relevant to what is happening in the U.S. right now- and I guess other places too. I also love the NYT app, and I also get The LA Times one and my hubs reads The Washington Post and we still get our local real paper delivered every day- The Mercury News, which is pretty great. I'm with Patricia, I got a subscription to the Times for Christmas and I feel sad I don't have enough time to sit and read it all.

    Facebook is really a dichotomy because there are some great articles shared there and I find some of the best New Yorker and Post ones there, however you then have to contend with friends and relatives sharing fake news (mostly relatives) and it's quite disturbing. In fact yesterday my husband's aunt shared a story via another person that showed the Women's March participants left trash with all their signs and then mocked them for being environmentally conscious. It even had #SFMarch which implied it was the San Francisco March. I tracked that back and someone used a photo from last year's march and the signs were left as a protest at Washington D.C. Trump Tower, not garbage. The signs were cleaned up the next day, but in the interim someone deliberately took that photo, used it to falsely claim it was the San Francisco marchers with huge hashtags and published and shared. I looked at the person it originated from and it looked like a fake account that had 4,000 followers. Get this Dani, by time I reported this, which was shared yesterday morning, it had been shared by 33,000 people on Facebook! So even if you shut down the original person, the fake news is out there and people are believing it. THAT is the really scary part about Facebook.

    As far as the president and Sarah Saunders and the whole administration calling anything that doesn't flatter him fake news, it's stomach turning and I don't know who I despise more, the president or the Republicans who continue to turn a blind eye to it all and refuse to call him out. They are cowards and that is one reason why I was marching. How every American wasn't out there, I do not know. I've never been big into politics, but I cannot stand by and let this happen to our country! All the values we hold dear are being destroyed daily. We don't yet even know how bad as so much is happening behind our backs. I refuse to be quiet though many of my friends are okay just shrugging it off. Calling the news fake is unlike anything before in modern times, except for Nixon, who just pressed charges. It's just unreal this is happening.

    Sorry for my rant. This is something I get very sad about. So glad you feel the same! xx Kim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kim that Facebook story you looked into is exactly the problem with news on Facebook. And so many readers won't investigate it as you did and so it's taken as truth, when in fact the whole thing was fabricated, unbelievable.
      I don't know how things can go on this way, I'm watching as somewhat of an outsider but I love the USA and I feel so concerned. These are very confusing times and people have to stand up for their rights and for their country. Keep going! Big hug to you! xx

      Delete
    2. Kim, I'm very glad that you rant! I think for people outside the US it can be very easy to put all Americans in the same basket - it's so important to hear from Americans who are livid that the reputation of their country is being sullied. It really give me hope to hear about people who think like you do. As Dani said, keep going!

      Delete
    3. Patricia, thanks so much! Wish everyone was as thoughtful as you ladies and so concerned. I won't give up! Thanks Dani too. xo

      Delete
    4. Kim, I love your 'rant'. I feel the same way you do. Hoping the midterm elections turn things around.

      Delete
  3. The current wave of attacks on journalism are so troubling. I feel the same way. Xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jen as a writer you must be find it so upsetting too xx

      Delete
  4. I couldn't agree more! I love the digital NYT and I love the NYT Cooking app.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alicia I'm addicted to my NYT! The food editor Sam Sifton, isn't he brilliant too, I love the way he writes. xx

      Delete
  5. I've been off the grid having been attacked by the virus that bullied its way into our community - I'm keeping my head high (mostly because my nose is so runny) and conquering it square in the eyes. I've also been off the grid because I was away in Florida at a conference. How timely is your post as I came away from the trip happy to be home - the whole time I was there I couldn't stop thinking that Florida voted Trump. We had many interesting conversations with Taxi and Uber drivers - every single one educated, every single one an immigrant and every single one desperate to move to Canada. Anyway enough of that. We have very strong ties to New England and of course everyone can't be lumped in the same basket - in fact I find it interesting how many Americans we meet who begin with an apology. I like paper - we get the Globe every day and in a perfect world I would get the NYT every Sunday - it doesn't always happen. We also get the Economist and I try to listen to as much radio as I can - BBC, CBC mostly. I do read NYT online but find I only read what I would read anyway - this is what I like about paper - I see pieces that I would probably ignore or not find online. Perspective is important - what is Al Jazeera saying? Thanks for this post and I can't wait to see The Post some good reads:
    https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/11/the-post-movie-steven-spielberg-tom-hanks-meryl-streep-pentagon-papers

    also ipolitics is a fantastic online Canadian news source - read this https://ipolitics.ca/2018/01/21/weve-lost-much-just-newspapers/

    Anna26x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anna thank you for those links! Sorry you've got that hideous virus, well done looking it square in the eyes :) Interesting trip you had, and I can imagine that it would be difficult to be an immigrant in the US right now. I always find that Americans I meet are more like me than even most Canadians, I love them. But of course my Dad is American and my Grandmother was an American who lived here and was a staunch defender of her country. What she would say now I can only imagine, she would be none too pleased that I know for sure.
      Perspective is important you're so right, thank you so much for your take on this and I'm happy you're home. xx

      Delete
  6. Hi Dani,

    I've sent a post for the last 3 of your blogs. I still have this problem as well as with Hostess of the Humble Bungalow blog. The post yesterday was really lengthy about exam dreams thirty years later. I had hoped you would fine it amusing so I hope you can retrieve it on your email. To catch up: Sofie is adorable and it is life enriching and lengthening for seniors to have a pet as it gives the senior companionship and purpose. I had 2 bobcats on the driveway two nights ago. I hope they're not planning for kittens in my yard but they are welcome to catch the mice. Housework is prevailing over photos today but I hope to sneak photos in tomorrow. I am practicing for the penguin walk.

    I am preparing emergency food supplies after listening to the fault line series so since you recommended it I think you can take. credit that I bought $60 of chocolate, the only item in the emergency supplies. Have you tried Theobroma Chocolat bars, sticks etc made in Quebec City? They seem to be vegan, and made in a nut-free and peanut-free factory. A friend gave me 2 of their bars for Christmas and I gave one to a friend then called the company yesterday re allergies and then ordered a shipment. It has been ages since I had allergen free chocolate.
    In my humble opinion, it is a good emergency food (as long as it isn't eaten before any emergency).

    Today: it is anti-democratic to smear all journalists as purveyors of "fake news". Davd Frum had interesting comments on CBC about the problems there. I occasionally refer to The Economist (it predicted the mortgage bubble bursting down south about 2 years before it happened); BBC online (although it has a lot of typos and nowhere to submit changes unlike CBC), CBC online, NYC online. I sort of rotate through parts of many. I don't watch the news much. Someone from Syria has started up his family business here.
    business here and is making and selling exquisite sounding soaps (Aleppo Soaps)–– I watched that on the news
    Ann

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ann, I retrieved your comment through the email feed, thank you! I wonder why your comments aren't going on the blogs, it could be the anonymous setting although Anna seems to use that too.
      It sounds like you have a well-rounded set of news sources! I need to start reading The economist I think I'd like it. Have a great day today, off to look for your exam comment xx

      Delete
  7. Hi Dani,
    First, have to say how happy I am that you're back to blogging, and with dedicated frequency as well! It's really nice to stop in here every day, and you always give me something to think about - so thank you for all your efforts to encourage good physical and mental health and just good living in general.

    I've been trying to stay informed (in fact, following U.S. politics these days can become addictive), and have found it challenging to keep a balance of views coming in - so much of what is written by Trump supporters just enrages me. I think objectivity is very hard to come by in journalism these days, as political polarization becomes more and more extreme, and I am very grateful that attempts to use some of the same tactics in our last election here failed dismally.

    That's enough of my rant...now for something good. You might enjoy a new podcast called 'Slow Burn' which is about Watergate - even though I followed the story when it happened, I've learned a lot more from the podcast, and it's especially interesting in juxtaposition with the current situation in the States. Half hour episodes, just enough time to get some ironing done : ))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LocalSue, thank you for your comment it's so nice to see you here! Thanks too for your encouraging comments about my daily posts, I appreciate that :)
      I've been looking for a new podcast so thank you, I'll give this one a try today!
      Quite right about the failure of those tactics here in our last election, at least as a country we're not quite so polarized. I think the key to this is that we don't have loyalty to the either/or party system, we spread our votes around... I voted Liberal last federal election but I doubt I will in 2019... when we vote for issues we tend to actually discuss the issues. I hope that doesn't change in this country.
      BTW I apologize for my late reply, your comment was buried in my email feed and I didn't see it straightaway.
      Thank you Sue! xx

      Delete