The Newsroom At 55 Park Place – Chapter 15 – Truth To Power

 The Newsroom At 55 Park Place

                                                               By Don Storch


                                                       Books By Don Storch

                                              The Newsroom At 55 Park Place
                                                       Snakes in the Swamp
      If a Passive-Progressive Leads from behind he is a Double Oxymoron



            This book is dedicated to my Mom and Dad, mentors of an only child, with daily memories of loving gratefulness, Viola Pauline (Helmstatt) Storch (1910 – 1969) and George John Storch (1903-1984)

Twin boys, stillborn, (1965) 

Norman B. Tomlinson Jr (1927-2017)


Chapter 15

Truth To Power

 As I sit here in the quite solitude of a 50’s newsroom reporting on journalism of the past, but with the ability to analyze the media of today, I find there are few reporters and more columnists and analyst’s commenting on hearsay all of whom have abdicated their reason for being — truth to power.

 The media has always been a check and balance to our democracy, but only when it remains credible, using truth as it’s quill of justice to right the wrongs of government from the grassroots of local municipalities to the power of the Federal government.

 However, when the mainstream media becomes complicit with a political force and serves up bias or fake information under the guise of ‘news,’ it no longer serves under the tenants of what this nation’s founders had in mind for a ‘free press.’

 When the news is muddied with analysis, commentary, hearsay, bias and fake stories, it no longer serves the democracy it is challenged to protect, least of all the audience for which it writes.

 When it takes on the cause of politics, no matter the label to which it serves, it is flackery of the worst kind because it projects to be what it is not.

 Journalism reached its pinnacle when two young reporters for the Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, uncovered Watergate through investigative journalism bringing down the presidency of Richard M. Nixon in 1972.

 Applications to journalism schools soared, it seemed as though everybody wanted to become an investigative reporter.

 Investigative reporting is a double edge sword, both to the reporter and to the reader. In all cases the source of the story is anonymous, leaving the journalist with the uneasy feeling of whether he can trust his source, but more importantly can the reader believe the story being written.  The credibility of all is on the line, including the medium.

 During the Watergate disclosure the Washington Post required its reporters to provide multiple sources, although not named, for each of its salient points.  The paper ran with the story virtually alone without any other media support.

 What proved to be helpful in Watergate reporting based upon anonymous sources, was that Nixon resigned under pressure in a relative short time after disclosure of the story confirming credibility, while the true source of the Watergate disclosure known as ‘Deep Throat,’ Mark Felt, a former FBI Associate director, wasn’t disclosed until 31 years later.

 It is interesting to note as a postscript about these two ageing reporters today, is that Carl Bernstein pontificates as an analyst on muddied political forum  for CNN and Bob Woodward writes hearsay nonfiction books by taping multiple anonymous sources to deliver news through a fictional style of source consensus.

 Fake news based upon anonymous sources often contains qualifiers such as the following from the New York Times: “This account is based on interviews with current and former White House officials and others who have spoken to both men, all of whom requested anonymity to discuss a sensitive investigation. A spokesman for the special counsel’s office also declined to comment for this article.”

 With the advent of social media, journalism allowed itself to be fictionalized by following in its path trusting on ‘reliable sources’ – if they actually existed – to tell unreliable news.

 It may very well be possible that in the near future we might expect that social media will be selecting a president, not ‘we the people,’ for after all social media knows more about ‘we’ than ‘we’ know about ourselves, ergo the need for a democracy or the principles upon which it functions?

 The impact of social media has been so pervasive and addictive, it will, if it hasn’t already, take over our lives from cradle to grave, allowing citizen journalists to become pseudo journalists while the profession follows down the same misguided path.

 It was once thought that you don’t take on the press because they have more ink than you.  Well that ink well has dried up; however, the communications venues are still here, they have just taken on a new form.

 Journalism only has one product to sell and that is truth and transparency and there seems to be little regard today among journalists to focus on this important part of the story, although the very principles of a nation’s democracy and existence is dependent upon it.

 Brokers seek power through money and position, only the watchdog of truth can keep it honest.

To Be Continued . . . 

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