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Letter: Journalists providing context shouldn’t be attacked for bias
National Media.jpg
Media and others try to get a glimpse of former campaign adviser for President Donald Trump, Roger Stone, as he leaves federal court in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. - photo by Associated Press

A recent letter writer declares that virtually all reporters are “Democratic operatives” and tend to write “slanted stories.” That is a ridiculous claim. The basis of the claim is that Donald Trump is treated unkindly by all news organizations except for Fox News and the Gainesville Times.

While The Times seems to be fairly benign in that regard, Fox News has been roundly denounced as no more than a propaganda arm for anything Trump. Their totally positive coverage of Trump is simply not credible. The phrase “fake news” comes to mind.

Reporters are highly educated and trained to be objective, accurate and analytical in covering events and situations. The words “liberal” or “conservative” are pretty much an irrelevancy. However, reporting is definitely more than a “facts only” endeavor. Facts alone without context have little meaning. For example, is merely reporting a politician’s words good reporting? Of course not. One must ask, are the comments accurate? What is the history of the subject matter? The notion of objectivity hardly precludes providing context. That is what a good reporter does. That is not liberal or conservative.

Take the closing of Trump University. Is it sufficient to merely say that the university closed? Not hardly. It is an essential part of the story that thousands were defrauded; it, in fact, was never a university; and it made outrageous claims of success to lure students. It is certainly not biased to report that no president has ever run a business that ripped off so many and feels so little remorse.

Trump has a history of making highly inaccurate statements that simply do not square with reality. But as president he is obligated to deal with truth and honesty. It would be irresponsible for a reporter to ignore those discrepancies.

Most of us prefer full and comprehensive reporting regarding all news items, including the presidency. Smearing good reporters as liberals or as purveyors of fake news is no more than an attempt to undermine them. Usually those doing the attacking have something to hide. We have to be vigilant to not be swayed by groundless attacks on our news organizations and reporters.

Jim Grattan


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