Category Archives: Journalism

Baited

There has been considerable press about how President Donald Trump can be baited by a tweet. This first was pointed out by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in her failed bid to win the White House.

The national press corps has seized on that point with a certain glee.

This was pointed out on some of the Sunday talk shows after a New York Times reporter wrongly tweeted that the new Administration had removed the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office. The bust is and was there.

But while I agree the Prez does seem to be apt to take the offense to the slightest dig in a tweet, the national press corps is also easily baited by Trump and the new Administration.

The corps seems intent on answering and defending each time the President, his Press Secretary or any surrogate says anything hitting at the low esteem in which the national press is held by the American people. Members of the journalistic class cannot help themselves from going defensive and responding, which plays right into the hands of the President.

It further amplifies in the minds of the readers and viewers that there must be some kernel of truth to whatever charge. To borrow from William Shakespeare, methinks the press doth protest too much.

Then there is the issue of tone, which is usually combative and dismissive in a condescending way by those working inside the Beltway. To those of us in the Heartland, the attitude of the national press reflects what the President says about them being elitists, out-of-touch with every day Americans.

Yes, the national press corps should be vigorous in reporting the news and holding the new Administration and President accountable for the words spoken, the actions taken. At the same time, the national press needs to get out of their bubbles and reconnect with the reality of we, the people, living in the vast expanse of the nation.

Members of the press say they are not at war with the President, yet the way some label the President and his staff as “ridiculous” as NBC‘s Chuck Todd did on Meet the Press this morning, only serves to alienate the public and solidify a line of defense around the President – even if he is wrong.

To people in the Cornfield, it looks like the national press corps has declared war on the President.

How long will the national media continue to be baited?

How long will the White House press corps keep swallowing the dangling worm, hook, line and sinker?

From the Cornfield, journalists covering the White House and the President need to return to Journalism 101 and step out of the story. The national press have violated this basic tenet and in almost every report become part of the story.

Journalists need to become objective reporters of the news and not the center of the story.

Journalistic Integrity Model

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His father was a liberal giant. His brother is governor of arguably the most liberal state in the Union. He works for a center left news network. His political ideology is not a secret.

Yet, CNN New Day anchor Chris Cuomo is cut from the same fabric as those paragons of journalism, Walter Cronkite and Tim Russert.

Both icons maintained the highest level of objectivity and integrity in their reporting. While we knew their political bent, neither let that get in the way of doing the job of a free press who looks at events with an eye of neutrality and not picking sides.

This is why Cronkite was America’s favorite Uncle behind Uncle Sam. This is why Russert was the face of Meet the Press for two decades with full trust of the viewing public.

Compare this to today’s crop of journalists whom survey after survey reveals are not trusted. Today’s journalists rank far behind even the two most mistrusted presidential candidates in history.

Then there is Chris Cuomo.

Most people would accept if he slipped now and then and revealed a bit of bias or prejudice, but he does not. Instead Cuomo seems to go out of his way to uphold and maintain why the free press was enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Chris makes sure he does not become the story, but rather lets the story develop on its own. In questioning candidates and politicians of all stripes, Chris walks the line we expect of reporters unlike too many of his colleagues.

Whether liberal or conservative or moderate, whether Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or independent, all are put under the same glaring light of professionalism and transparency.

Chris is one reason I continue to view CNN. Not that I have many options with Fox News being too far to the right and MSNBC being too far left. 

There is hope left for the current cadre of journalists who have abandoned the principles on which our free press was founded.

That hope is the example of Chris Cuomo.

From the Cornfield, Chris keep up the good work and being an example for journalists everywhere in this day when too many journalists are leaving behind objectivity and integrity.

Thank you, for the breath of fresh air, Chris.

‘Fess Up, Brianna

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Each day I tune in to CNN for all the news of the day in addition to pouring over the various news feeds online.

Over this past week, I have watched as one of the senior political correspondent and fill-in anchor has gone from objective reporter to an out-and-out surrogate for one of the presidential candidates.

Brianna Keilar has been filling in for Wolf Blitzer the last week while he has been on grandpa leave during the 1 p.m. Wolf show and the 5 p.m. The Situation Room.

After her interview with Donald Trump’s Chief Counsel Michael Cohen went viral as Keilar and Cohen squared off about polls and Trump being behind, I have watched as she has dropped day-by-day all pretense of objectivity.

Brianna has turned before our eyes on the television screen from being a journalist who covers the campaign of Hillary Clinton into a full-blown surrogate and defender of Clinton.

In my other life as a print journalist, who happened to cover politics, I would have been shown the door if I had exhibited even a smidgen of the bias Brianna is showing during her interviews with Trump supporters and in talking with her panel.

Today after bringing up the subject of stories swirling, erroneously, about Clinton’s health while interviewing Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy, Duffy attempted to say there were issues to talk about, but Keilar was not having it. She kept trying to get him to talk about the health concerns until he finally gave in to her persistence.

Later in talking with the panel, Keilar defended her inquiry and wondered why Duffy did not steer the conversation to issues instead. This after she clearly would not let him do that.

Brianna, it is time to ‘fess up.

Time to admit you are in the tank for the candidate you are suppose to be covering objectively.

Question is: are you being paid by the Clinton campaign in addition to your CNN pay?

For inquiring minds, I am not a Trump supporter. I am currently leaning toward the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson.

I am not a conservative, but a moderate. I am an independent, though I usually vote in the Republican primary.

From the Cornfield, this election cycle is making more nostalgic for the late Walter Cronkite and the late Tim Russert.

Both respected journalists always maintain objectivity in every election. Both respected journalists never let their own bias or prejudice get in the way of being members of the press.

CNN Signals Curtain Call on ‘Citizen Journalism’?

It was exactly one year ago today when I penned the following article.
How prescient this article was I did not know at the time. Yet one year later we have the answer to the question posed in the title.
The  start of a new year often signals the start of new ideas, new programs,  new web site designs. Such is the case of international news giant CNN.
Over  the weekend, the network launched a new web design. The design is  ascetically appealing. It seems geared toward our more mobile-dependent  society.
The design also appears to have signaled a turn in CNN’s experiement with “citizen journalism”.
Where  once the network’s user community, iReport, was prominently displayed  with a link on the top banner, the ability to easily identify and locate  the user submissions of articles, images and opinions is mch more  difficult. Buried at the very bottom is a link. You can also click on  “Opinions” to find a link.
For  members of the community there has been much frustration. Another issue  is having to constantly sign in when navigating the site.
Over  the past year, there has been less interaction from Team iReport and  the community at large. Where once there was a weekly roundtable it  devolved to monthly to being non-existant in the past year.
The  activity on iReport, for the uninformed, may be best described as  submissions to a local newspaper “Lifestyle” section and “Letters to the  Editor”. On occasion users also submit “breaking news” when being in  the right place at the right time to capture images or videos of local  news which had national or international impact.
The  community is a type of social network geared toward what is called  “citizen journalism”. It is not journalism in the traditional sense. It  is the users’ take on the news.
Submissions  deemed “approved” or “vetted” by the Team have been part of the fare  offered up to fill gaps in programming on CNN International. At times  those images, videos or even commentary have made the way onto the US  market of the news giant.
I  am one of those iReport community members who have been fortunate  enough to have been interviewed on CNN and on HLN, the network’s sister  channel. What led to those interviews were my political opinion reports  on iReport.
Over  the last year and a half or so since the 2012 presidential election,  interaction with the community seems to have become less and less. While  I have continued to have a very good relationship with the Team, not  all iReporters have been so pleased.
Along  with the new web design rollout, the new year brought the departure of  iReport Community leader, Katie Garr-Hawkins. Katie has moved on to  another venture in Florida and not with CNN.  This had many in the  community wondering last month about what would happen with iReport.
With  the web design and the difficulty in locating iReport, members are now  asking if CNN is signalling that its experiment is over.
With the 2016 presidential run soon to start in earnest, will CNN rethink its position on iReport?
Will CNN later in the year close the doors on the community?
From the Cornfield, so many questions and no answers at this juncture.
If  the site layout is an indication along with the lack of communication  between the community and Team iReport, are we seeing the end of a  short-lived era of active user participation on CNN?

Kernels – Remains Dark

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Had to spend most of the day at the ophthalmologist’s, picking up prescriptions, a few groceries and getting blood drawn.

Due to not getting home until around 6 p.m. and that this cold, damp weather is not friendly to my health concerns, Kernels will remain dark tonight.

That said, there will be a special week ending wrap up on Saturday.

Regular daily Kernels will resume on Monday.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.