The Octogenarian: mainstream journalism not what it used to be
I am mad as hell.
My anger is directed at members of a profession that I love and admire, the news gatherer and reporter.
Some 20 years back, a very brave delegation of American women, led by then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, went to China for a world conference on women and women’s issues. Among the delegates was Hillary Clinton, First Lady at the time, who was to make a speech on the world stage.
There were three major groups who feared that speech, and none of the three knew in advance what the First Lady would say.
One group was the government of China. They even harassed delegates, including our secretary of state, to make it difficult for these women to attend.
The second group was the U.S. Congress. This was a Republican Congress, and many of you readers are too young to understand that Republicans were pretty moderate back then. But, the First Lady was a Clinton, and conservatives even back then considered anything Clinton as relish and sauce for their hate appetites.
The third was the executive branch, and I don’t know if even President Bill Clinton knew what Hillary was going to say. I happen to believe that one of the strongest pieces of cloth ever invented is the marriage pillow, so I know what I believe.
Much in the image of the great Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton tucked her purse under her arm, thumbed her nose at the powers that be and went off to do her own thing.
Of course the major difference is that Hillary on her own was surrounded by Secret Service, whereas when Eleanor went off on her own, she was on her own with just a lady friend.
I know this because that’s actually how I met Mrs. Roosevelt in Annapolis, Md. in 1933.
Hillary gave her speech, and it was a kick-ass masterpiece that called on governments worldwide, especially China and even the U.S., to work towards ending the mistreatment of women.
As the father of six daughters, after reading her speech a few days later and hearing excerpts from it, this diminutive female grew to giant estimation as a human in my mind.
Since that time, I have seen the Clintons accused of every crime imaginable, short of nailing Jesus to the cross, with only one conviction: lying about his pants being unzipped.
I have observed that in cases where a man gets caught playing around, he lies first and foremost to protect the wife and children he loves.
Lower the noise, I’ll argue and prove this later.
This past Friday, I spent the first four hours of the day in a little building called VISOR at the VA Hospital. The common name for the clinic is “The Blind Clinic.”
While the staff were performing their latest exciting unexpected acts of a miraculous nature on my blind old eyes. At home, I was recording Andrea Mitchell who was interviewing Hillary Clinton, now a presidential front-runner, one on one.
It was a great interview followed by the usual critique. That’s when I got angry.
Rachel Maddow, a reporter who, up until last week I respected for her reporting, caused me to constantly refer back to the interview to see if we had watched the same interview.
That evening, I watched Rachel’s show and realized that she was misreporting the interview and was in reality reporting more on Andrea Mitchell — her obvious hero — rather than the truth of what Hillary said.
It was obvious when the many self-proclaimed reporters unveiled the fact that, though their tongues were wagging, they hadn’t bothered to watch it. Few networks reported accurately, but they were in the minority.
I grew up in the days when you needed three reliable sources before you put your words on paper. Today, sadly, supposition and innuendo are considered reporting and the public is hurt by this.
Opinion Columnist Ken Levin is a political science senior and may be reached at [email protected]