Hello everyone. First a little background on what I’m about to say. I’ve been involved in broadcast news for almost fifty years and one of the things I learned early on is you can’t please everyone. General news or informational news is just that, what bank was robbed or what house burned. However when it came to really hard news involving business or politics, someone would usually be upset at the truth of your story, because it was something they didn’t want told. Given there is usually two sides to every story, I also discovered if you had both sides upset with your coverage, you were doing your job.
About two years ago, we started hearing he phrase ‘fake news’ thrown around. You might be interested to know, that two word label is nothing new. For example, let’s go back to 1971, Richard Nixon was President. A guy name Daniel Ellsberg leaked some classified documents that came to be known as the Pentagon Papers, to the media. Those papers revealed how the folks in power believed the United States couldn’t win the war in Vietnam. The New York Times and the Washington Post started printing those papers which the upset the administration and they filed suit to stop both papers from further publishing. Washington claimed the First
Amendment did not protect the right of the two papers to publish the material. The case ended up on the fast track to the Supreme Court. The high court ruled the Nixon administration was in the wrong and supported the Newspapers right to publish and the public’s right to know. Justice Hugh Black wrote in his opinion, “The Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our Democracy. The press was to serve the governed not the governors. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people.”
That ruling came down June 30th, 1971.
Shortly after that a group of men broke into the Watergate to steal information from the Democratic National Committee that it could use in the upcoming election. They got caught and the end result was The President was forced to resign or face impeachment that he couldn’t win.
History was made because the press did its job, bringing the news and information to the people. Never forget that trusted phrase, “Give the people light and they will find their own way. So the next time you hear the words ‘fake news’ just remember, a wise man once said ‘The news is the first rough draft of history’. That holds true now more than ever. And you, my friend, have a right, under our Constitution, to the truth, even if it hurts.
I’m Sam Jones and that’s my perspective.