Fake News Accusation Dishonors the Legacies of Fallen Journalists

Fake News Accusation Dishonors the Legacies of Fallen Journalists
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Photograph by George Cassidy Payne

For a year and a half now, you’ve heard from George Payne  on multiple topics and enjoyed his wide ranging photography.

A graduate of the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, George teaches philosophy at Finger Lakes Community College and is the founder of Gandhi Earth Keepers International. Recently, the Messenger Post Newspapers invited him to be a Guest Columnist. His first piece, ‘Alternative facts’ normalize Trump’s lies was published 2/16/17.

Fake News Accusation Dishonors the Legacies of Fallen Journalists

Our Republic and its press will rise or fall together.
— Joseph Pulitzer

Lest we forget, the British would not have survived the Nazi invasion without BBC.

The New York Times has broken thousands of stories about the world’s most significant natural disasters, plagues, social movements, and genocides.

CNN has been providing 24/7 news coverage for decades. They do not always get it right but they try.

For the president to routinely call these mainstream news companies fake is both ignorant and dishonorable.

What was fake about Atlantic Monthly-at-large reporter Michael Kelly, a Washington Post columnist who covered the first Gulf War with distinction, and was killed in a Humvee accident outside Baghdad while traveling with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division during the second Iraq War?

Ernie Pyle's monument in Ie Shima

Ernie Pyle’s monument in Ie Shima

What was fake about the work David Bloom did as a journalist with NBC? Bloom died while covering the war in Iraq. He was known by his colleagues as a modern-day Ernie Pyle. At the age of 39, he was also a father and husband, a tireless and resourceful reporter whose battlefield correspondence gave millions a soldier’s perspective of war.

There was nothing fake about the work Kaveh Golestan, 52, did as an Iranian freelance cameraman for the BBC. He died instantly on a mine as he climbed out of his car in the town of Kifrey. In that same attack producer Stuart Hughes, 31, was injured in the foot by the explosion.

What was fake about the work those reporters were doing in Erbil, Iraq —when a helicopter carrying aid from Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous government to stranded Yazidis in the Sinjar mountains of northern Iraq crashed, killing the pilot and injuring other passengers, including a Yazidi member of Parliament and a New York Times journalist?

What was fake about the death of Anthony Shadid, who won two Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting from Iraq, but died while reporting in eastern Syria, apparently of an asthma attack. He was 43.

Every day journalists take tremendous risks to report the truth. They die for the truth. They sacrifice everything they hold dear for the truth. They are willing to give up their families. They are willing to give up their limbs. They are willing to give up anything that is asked of them because they made a promise to themselves to do journalism.

For Trump to ridicule and provoke companies such as the BBC, The New York Times and CNN, is to needlessly dishonor the contributions of brave reporters. It is beneath the office of President of the United States.

Tom Paine at Burnham Park, Morristown, NJ

Tom Paine at Burnham Park, Morristown, NJ

Even before the Revolutionary war started,  the founding fathers and mothers made it clear how important the Freedom of the Press is. The Continental Congress – the legislative body of these political minds – wrote in 1774:

The last right we shall mention regards the freedom of the press. The importance of this consists, besides the advancement of truth, science, morality, and arts in general, in its diffusion of liberal sentiments on the administration of Government, its ready communication of thoughts between subjects, and its consequential promotion of union among them, whereby oppressive officers are shamed or intimidated into more honourable and just modes of conducting affairs.

These are the invaluable rights that form a considerable part of our mild system of government; that, sending its equitable energy through all ranks and classes of men, defends the poor from the rich, the weak from the powerful, the industrious from the rapacious, the peaceable from the violent, the tenants from the lords, and all from their superiors.

These are the rights without which a people cannot be free and happy, and under the protecting and encouraging influence of which these colonies have hitherto so amazingly flourished and increased. These are the rights a profligate Ministry are now striving by force of arms to ravish from us, and which we are with one mind resolved never to resign but with our lives.

For Trump to continuously launch baseless and spiteful tirades against journalists, once again exposes him to be a clear and present danger to our country’s democracy.

George Payne 

About The Author

dkramer3@naz.edu

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY and Lake Affect Magazine.  My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

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