The fact that too many Americans can not define or differentiate news reporting, analysis articles, and opinion columns is one reason that a by-product of the Robert Mueller Report is the slamming of the American press. Though this is a typical reaction from Republicans and under-educated voters in particular, and perhaps we all should be use to their type of bloviating at times like this, it still creates a needless chill in the nation. Sadly, though, it is also Democrats who have joined the fray.
The current storm over reporters, networks, and newspapers is simply stunning regarding the Mueller Report. Conservatives claim the media wanted a dreadful outcome for Donald Trump and the clamor over the past two years to produce such an outcome was the mission of the press. Meanwhile, some liberals are reported to be dispirited and filled with angst about what they have learned concerning the contents of the report Attorney General Barr has wished to disclose to the public.
As I watch this all play out I am left shaking my head.
I am stunned, based on this tempest from both sides, that so many of my fellow Americans seemed unable, over the past two years, to pick up a newspaper or hear a news report and not have the ability to winnow out the facts and place them in context. From what I have heard and read today it is clear that too many in this land over the past two years were not able to place analysis pieces in the context of politics and law. And it is most clear, too, many from both political camps have a serious problem grasping what a news article is, and how that differs from an an opinion piece.
I knew nothing was for certain until the investigation was over and the facts presented. Until the report is made available we will not have all the facts.
Reporters had certain facts at various stages that were used to take the Mueller story as far as the ability of those facts allowed at the time. Talking heads on network programs pontificated from each side of the aisle, but that was far different from what solid reporters presented to readers on the front pages of papers such as The New York Times. It is most clear that a large swath of the nation were not able, or perhaps unwilling, to either follow credible news reporters and operations or wished to push facts aside for a partisan wish list of outcomes. (While I fully understand the threat Trump poses to our republic it also goes without saying that facts matter and citizens must always use them as guiding stars.)
The fact that our national election process was under attack by Russia has never been in question. All of our national intelligence agencies and departments made that clear shortly after the 2016 elections. We are all aware that concerns were raised about Trump and the election. Due to so many varying avenues pointing to the legal and political problems Trump possibly presented meant a national inquiry about him and Russia was required. To not have undertaken that inquiry would rightfully have been a colossal national nightmare. The reason being the nation is more important than any other consideration. Once the investigation was made known it most certainly needed to be reported on, and dived deeply into.
Reporters over the months took their readers and viewers as far as the facts at the time of publishing or air-time allowed. It was not the role of the press to prove or disprove that a person, or inquiry, met the test or threshold to be absolved, further implicated, or ended. The press reports on what others do and say, and in so doing allows for the nation to be informed as far as the facts are able to carry the story.
Instead of bluster and fury from partisans on all sides it would seem wiser to add more reading comprehension emphasis in our classrooms, prepare graduates to be wiser news consumers, bolster analytical skills, and seek to have future citizens read actual content rather than short and misleading social media messages. All of the matters in the last sentence have contributed mightily to the mess from the 2016 election to the headlines over this past weekend.
And so it goes.