The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States says (in part) “Congress shall make no law …abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …” and from this amendment, springs widely approved definitions of the role of the press in our society. The Kennedy School of Harvard University sums it up thusly:
• “On a routine basis, the watchdog press monitors the day-to-day workings of government, thereby helping citizens assess the efficacy of its performance.” (highlights added)
How’s that working for us? I would say, not very well. Generally speaking, I find the media (newspapers and TV) to be biased and more interested in presenting their viewpoints/opinions than news that enables the citizenry to assess the government’s response to the coronavirus.
Much of this reporting is flavored by their collective dislike of President Trump, but we should not let our personal opinions on that subject distract us.
Let’s instead look at our congress in action. The CARES act was a $2.2 trillion bill passed by Congress to fight the “war” against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The press duly reported passage and quickly told us that the $339 billion set aside for the small business paycheck protection program ran out of money in just a few days after approval.
They were quick to point out that many “small businesses” were not so small but had great lobbyists who got them to the front of the line.
• But other, telling, details were not reported …such as these other beneficiaries of congressional largesse:
• $75 million to the Endowment for the Arts
• $75 million to the Endowment of the Humanities (who knows what that is)
• $300 million to Public Broadcasting
• $25 million for cleaning supplies for the Capitol Building
• $7.5 million to the Smithsonian for additional salaries
• $25 million for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
• $25 million for necessary expenses for the House of Representatives (who are sheltering in place in their homes rather than working)
• $363 million for the Agency for International Development
• And the list goes on and on and on…
Good governance …or massive cronyism? Who knows? Our watchdog press has other priorities. Such as promoting Governor Andrew Cuomo (Democrat) who seems to be their latest heartthrob. Let’s look at his job performance compared to Governor Ron DeSantis (Republican) of Florida:
• Population: NY: 19,453,561, Florida: 21,477,737
• Confirmed COVID-19 Cases: NY: 333,132, Florida: 40,001
• Confirmed Deaths: NY: 21,045, Florida: 1,715 (all data as of May 9, 2020)
I think DeSantis is doing a better job, but Cuomo gets his 15 minutes every day and DeSantis’ poll numbers are slipping every day. However, we are pleased to learn that the NYC subways are finally being cleaned and disinfected.
And then there are the intelligent press questions of the President. Herewith a few for your reading pleasure:
Mr. President, should you be reelected if more people die of corona virus than were killed in the Vietnam war?
Mr. President, do you believe we should drink bleach to disinfect our insides?
Mr. President, do you think that someone drank aquarium cleaner because you shilled for hydroxychloroquine?
Yeah, yeah, I know that that’s not exactly what was asked, but the intent of the questioner …to embarrass the President and his administration …is still the same.
And finally, to sum up the press’ verdict on easing restrictions: Restrictions good, individual liberty bad. As someone said the other day: my body, my choice …but it only works when we’re talking about killing babies.
The press forgets that opinions are like noses …everybody has one …and I am tired of hearing about theirs.
My opinion? Less opinion and more news of the who, what, when, where, and why variety. It’s too bad that the Lenten season is over. I would get credit for giving up news.