Fourth Estate Loses to Sensationalism and Ratings

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Fourth Estate
Courtesy of Scott Graner (Flickr CC0)

My bride and I were in shock. We could not speak. We had no appetite for food. We felt that our country had been attacked by a foreign nation, much like we reacted to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. We could not accept reality. A man with meager intelligence who was proven to be a sexual predator, white supremacist, Islamophobe, homophobe, misogynist, and a man who supported fascist governments had become America’s 45th president. The date was Nov. 8, 2016.

On November 9th, while we remained in shock, I made a promise to myself, a promise I have kept for the last five years. I decided that I would never watch a television “news” broadcast again.

Throughout the 2016 campaign, broadcast “news” renounced its responsibility to report the information to the public, which would have allowed them to make an intelligent choice in the election. Instead, TV news personalities are focused on sensationalism and ratings. The responsibility of the fourth estate, protected by the first amendment, no longer exists. Instead, the focus is on profits before people.

Half-truths are more dangerous than blatant falsehoods. Unfortunately, this is how “legitimate” news networks discuss Donald Trump and his right-wing extremist cronies. When Trump ordered his minions to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the mainstream media downplayed what was obviously an attempted coup. History proves that if President Barack Obama had attempted to overthrow our government, the condemnation would have been relentless. Trump has been given a free pass for far too long. It is time to offer all Americans the facts.

Fourth Estate
Courtesy of brett jordan (Flickr CC0)

Trump is the worst mistake in American history. The damage he caused to our nation’s future in four years was far more drastic than the attacks on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, or the cowardly murders of thousands of innocent Americans on Sept. 11, 2001. But you will never hear a mainstream media member speak those words: they refuse to offer you and me the truth.

The primary reason I will never watch television “news” again is defined by one personal principle: I refuse to be lied to.

I hate lies more than anything. Liars are incapable of receiving my respect, and without respect from other human beings, they have no worth. Television personalities are overpaid. They thrive on sensationalism because sensationalism increases advertising revenue. The truth, facts, are boring.

However, without knowing the facts, the American voter cannot choose wisely. If we had been told the truth in October 2016 that Russia was attempting to help Trump win the election, he would not have succeeded in receiving enough votes. We have a right and a need to know the truth: this is our country, not theirs. Hiding the truth from the American people is criminal. Censoring facts based on “national security” is bulls**t.

I beg all of you; please vote in 2022 and 2024. If the turnout is larger than average again, Republicans will lose their elections, and our nation will survive. The future is in your hands. You will decide if we move bravely forward into the 21st century, or we will continue down a crooked path toward our darkest days. We must join the rest of developed nations and place people first.

Op-ed by James Turnage

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Scott Garner’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of brett jordon’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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