The News Isn't Broken, We Just Already Know What We Want

The News Isn't Broken, We Just Already Know What We Want

The news has been critiqued a lot over the last few years, and rightly so, but the New York Times tax story is not an example of poor reporting.

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I am going to take a brief break looking at the Heritage Foundation and Welfare and look at a story which broke earlier this October. Donald Trump's Taxes. Earlier this October The New York Times released an article detailing their "special investigation" into Trump's taxes, and perhaps the biggest piece of news about it is how little it's been talked about.

In an article titled "The New York Times, Bombshell That Bombed" Politico talks about how and why the article "bombed". And honestly, given how much talk there was about Trump not releasing his tax returns, it is surprising how little this has been talked about. This is a big deal. Trump has lied about a great number of things, both to the people of the US and to the IRS.

The article, titled, "Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father" is well worth a read. It goes into detail about Donald Trump's father Fred Trump, and how he amassed his fortune, with the help of government loans, and suspect tax calculations (to say the least) and then used other dubious methods to filter money to Donald and his siblings. This happened so much, Donald Trump became a millionaire at age 8.

But I didn't want to write an article just summarizing the Times, instead, I think this article, and its contents, show us what journalism is, and what it should be.

There are two journalistic ideas here. One is put forth in the Politico article when they say "A story—no matter how long—about tax evasion is too dry to arouse the public into acts of viral chatter." And the other idea comes from the Times' article, summed up when they say that the myth of Donald Trump, and his wealth, has been "aided and abetted by less-than-aggressive journalism".

The Times' makes the argument that it has been a failure of journalism which has allowed Trump to build his persona of a billionaire, citing profiles of Trump which allowed him to portray his father's wealth as his own. But then the Politico article says that it doesn't even matter since a news story about taxes is too boring for anyone to read anyways.

These arguments reminded me of a discussion that is as long as journalism itself and was identified in the book The Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach, and Tom Rosenstiel, to be best exemplified by the journalist Walter Lippmann, and the philosopher John Dewey. They say that Lippman lamented that citizens were too ill-informed by an imperfect press, and were further undermined by their own biases, preventing them from engaging properly with our democracy. Dewey, on the other hand, felt that this idea misplaced the role of democracy. The authors say that Dewey argued that having a democracy meant people were free to live their lives as they choose and that people only acted as "'umpires of last resort' over the government".

In this context, less than a month away from the midterm elections with Trump's approval ratings at 41.8%, the Times'lack of a splash isn't truly surprising. The question you need to ask yourself is, who is still on the fence about Trump. Although we could lament along with the Politico article that more isn't being done, the fact of the matter is that most people have made up their minds, and the one thing that we can do about it, vote, is right around the corner.

The New York Times article is a great read, and I am very glad it was written. And as the Politico article mentioned there have been results, such as "both New York City and state regulators to commence investigations of their own that could ensnare the Trump family in years of consuming legal battles and force them to choke up hundreds of millions in fines and penalties." But anyone who thought that this would make a huge change to our political arena isn't acknowledging the fact that most people picked a side a long time ago. Anyone who would have read and acted on this piece has already decided they don't like Trump, and anyone who is supporting Trump has been doing so knowing he's refused to release his taxes. Now all that's left to do, is vote.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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