Category Archives: Blog

Turning Tragedy Into A Political Advantage

While strolling by the Sheriff’s Office the other day, I spotted Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler, doing an interview with WJZ-TV. Undoubtedly an update on the arrest of a suspect in the murder of Rachel Morin. His office had already posted big signs near the murder scene proclaiming “ARREST MADE.” Nothing on the signs about work done by the FBI following a DNA trail that led to the suspect’s arrest in Tulsa or that the suspect had been hiding out right here in Maryland during most of the investigation.

Perhaps Gahler put up the signs simply to reassure a nervous public. Or maybe it was more promotional in nature? “Wanted” signs are common. “We got the bad guy” signs, not so common.

With ties to Los Angeles, Tulsa, El Salvador, and possible gang connections and immigration issues, the case has the potential for giving the Sheriff access to a national stage. In an obvious play to political advantage, Donald Trump, has reportedly called the victim’s mother, expressing his sympathy. Gahler, may be eager for some of the same free publicity.

For a “rural” sheriff, he appears to be a very media savvy guy. I’ve seen him on camera regularly since moving back to the area in 2015. If he weren’t interested in the exposure, he could simply appoint a PIO (public information officer) to handle the media for him. Makes me wonder where he sees himself in ten or fifteen years?

With an advanced degree in “leadership and management” perhaps he sees himself as the County Executive, or maybe taking a run at some state office? Or maybe he feels self-promotion is critical to staying right where he is. My hunch is that he’s been bitten by the politics bug and will eventually want to “move on up.” For now, he’s the closest thing Harford County, Maryland, has to a political celebrity.

In that limelight, he might want to refrain from making too much out of the fact that the suspect, Victor Antonio Martinez Hernandez, was in the country illegally. Turns out Hernandez had tried crossing the border three times before getting in, only to be arrested by Border Patrol agents and sent packing.

(Orignally published on 6/21 on Workingreporter/Facebook)

Nuclear Buildup – The Campaign’s Dirty Little Secret?

Hadn’t heard anything about nukes for a while, not since Putin, threatened to unleash them in his war against Ukraine, so I took a look around. What I found, is more than a little disquieting. Turns out there’s one helluva big nuclear buildup taking place, with the U.S. and Russia, leading the pack.

According to a report dated June 17, from the AP, “…the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, ICAN, said the nine nuclear-armed states spent a combined total of $91.4 billion on their arsenals in 2023 – equivalent to $2,898 per second.”

Seems like a lot, doesn’t it? Moreover, presuming advances have been made in nuclear science making contemporary nukes exponentially more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, shouldn’t this development be at or near the center of the runup to the November election? Standby, it gets even better. Or worse, maybe.

Again, from the Associated Press, “The group said that figures show a $10.7 billion increase in global spending on nuclear weapons in 2023 compared to 2022, with the United States accounting for 80% of that increase. The U.S. share of total spending, $51.5 billion, is more than all the other nuclear-armed countries put together.”

What are Russia and the United States getting ready for? An unsurvivable conflict, leaving both countries in ashes? Will we never get past the theory of mutual annihilation preventing us from annihilating one another? Shouldn’t somebody be talking about this?

At the very least, supporters of Donald Trump, should know how precarious the world situation truly is, before they decide to vote for a man who actually thought nuking a hurricane or injecting bleach into the human body to fight Covid, might be viable ideas. Nothing should be taken for granted. Not when dealing with human behavior.

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ News, We’ve Got Golf

Read not long ago that the ratings for golf are plummeting. This was shortly after the Arabs bought the PGA. Thank God. Nothing more boring to watch than a golf tourney on tv. Except, maybe, a curling championship. And still they keep running long on golf coverage and bumping out part of local news coverage to carry it.

I guess golf is still making them some money? Or perhaps, the numbers for weekend news are just so dismal that it’s not worth putting it on the air? On some weekends, the Baltimore markets is a local early tv news desert.

Wasn’t there a time when news was sacrosanct? Or am I just remembering it the way I want to? Maybe a little of both? Here in Baltimore, there are some weekends with no early local tv news at all on what used to be the “big three” network affiliates. Nada. If nobody’s watching, I suppose it really doesn’t matter. Or does it?

I have this dystopian vision of the future, as we continue spiraling towards an idiocracy, whereby all the newspapers will be dead and gone due to a lack of readers, network tv news will have been torpedoed by streaming video and nothing remains for us common folk, other than your trusty local tv news stations which are doing the best they can for their greedy corporate owners when they aren’t getting bumped by Arab-owned sporting events.

Could be worse, I guess. Putin, and the Russians, could have used dark money to buy their way into major league sports. I mean, it’s not like they’re already doing their best to buy out our political process, is it? Can pro sports be far behind?

Naw, that’s just crazy. Bizarre, even.

Willie Mays – May 6, 1931 – June 18, 2024

Willie Mays has died at 93. And so, those of us who played baseball as kids in the 50’s have lost another hero.

Those of us who collected baseball cards and prayed we’d see the name of Mays or Campanella or Mantle, each time we bought a new pack of five at the drugstore. Those of us who got on the bus for an away game at another small town on a hot, dusty summer’s day in Minnesota, Nebraska or Missouri. Those of us who played in a big-city youth league in New York, Chicago or San Francisco.

The face of major league baseball, the face of America, was changing when they let Willie into the bigs in 1951, hitting 20 home runs and being named Rookie of the Year for the New York Giants. I would have been three at the time. Not even big enough to play with the local “Pee Wees.” Eventually, I’d get there. We’d all get there, to our dusty diamond behind the school house, with giant moguls they could never seem to level out that made a grounder hop around like a nervous cannonball, making it almost impossible to catch. But Willie, would have caught it. He could catch anything. And he could hit. He could do it all.

Sportswriters are saying he may have been the greatest of all time. With a career total of 660 home runs and fielding skills that were nothing short of phenomenal, maybe. Maybe not. It really doesn’t matter. He was Willie Mays. For those of us who played on humble sandlots or in grassy fields from coast to coast all those years ago, his death is a mark in the timeline of our lives.

Hush Money, Hannibal Lecter And Designer Coffee

What a pleasure it was to turn on “Morning Joe” today to hear Joe and Mika, talking about something other than Donald and Stormy Daniels. It was jaw-dropping, really, hearing them talk with a senior editor from the New York Times, about “How McHaters Lost The Culture War.” I don’t really care all that much, as I gave up on McDonald’s years ago, back when the square burgers at Wendy’s seemed like health food, but it was at least interesting and it was something other than Donald J. Trump.

It was then equally refreshing (caffeine loaded pun intended) to hear Mika, express her opinion that Starbucks has lost its way. She held off for a full year in offering an opinion she said, but now feels that their coffee has changed and that it tastes terrible. It tastes “burned” she said. They also got into Starbucks new drinks, which sound more like a caffeinated ice cream parlor than a haute cuisine coffee bar.

I don’t frequent Starbucks anymore, as I switched to decaf some years ago and Starbucks never seemed to have any decaf brewed. I always had to wait to get a “half-caff,” and I got tired of waiting. Anyway, weren’t they offering those fluffy coffee drinks with lots of whipped cream and syrup decades ago? Is this really something new? Or was the article they were discussing written and then edited by someone without the advantage of being in possession of having any perspective? If you don’t know the history of a topic, you should probably seek out someone who does before going to press?

Granted, the menus at McDonald’s and Starbucks aren’t likely to kick off World War III or change the outcome of the upcoming election, but that’s precisely why I needed to hear it. Hearing something , anything, other than the Donald and Stormy hush money show was exactly what I needed. I wouldn’t be surprised if others feel the same. It’s like we’ve done this before and enough is enough. I’m just tired of it.

Personally, I think they should have just skipped Stormy Daniels II, and moved on with the other three criminal indictments against DJT. I think there are three others? I’m having a hard time keeping it all sorted out and I have to wonder if they filed the hush money case because they thought the other three would be delayed until after the election, and they wanted to get Trump’s sexcapades and creative funding issues back in the press before America goes to the polls.

Please know that I don’t like Trump. I’m not crazy about Joe Biden, either, but Joe isn’t crazy and Trump, apparently is. If you haven’t already done so, read Mary Trump’s book, “How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man.” You owe it to yourself and the country.

The fact that DJT is talking about the fictional character Hannibal Lecter, from the “Silence of the Lambs” movies as if he actually existed, should be enough to make anyone question the man’s mental acuity. When Ronald Reagan, talked about “Rambo,” we all knew that Reagan knew that he was talking about a movie character. With DJT, it’s difficult to know what he thinks when it comes to separating reality from fiction. He seems to think they’re interchangeable, like using a magic marker on a map will actually alter the path of a hurricane. And if it doesn’t, maybe we can just nuke the thing before it hits the Florida coast?

Just as I was starting to feel good about Joe and Mika again, they proved themselves to be true to the MSNBC marketing machine and went back to the trial, which caused me to pick up the remote and switch over to Reuters TV to get some actual news, offered in various lengths from 5 to 30 minutes.

I’ve been watching the Reuters TV 15-minute show lately. Feels about right. Similar to the way I used to feel after watching Cronkite at 6:30. After spending some time with Uncle Walter, I knew what I needed to know. It was a diet of actual news. A well-rounded and intellectually nutritious diet as opposed to being stuffed with iced moca lattes topped by a mountain of whipped cream at the local coffee bar.

A sugar rush can be fun, but depending upon it over the long haul could prove to be fatal.

The New “New Journalism”

Hunter S. Thompson

Not that long ago Hunter S. Thompson was heralded by some in the business for his approach to “New Journalism.” Some, thought Thompson’s exaggerated approach to presenting current events came closer to the truth than did the mainstream media.

It occurred to me just recently that John Oliver and Jon Stewart are now doing something similar, although not through the use of hyperbole. Stewart and Oliver, are simply telling the truth.

Are we at a point where “New Journalism” has been taken to the next level simply by presenting factual information with some humor thrown in? What does that say about the job being done by the mainstream? Is our current state of affairs so shot through with insanity and chaos (fear and loathing) that simply presenting who, what, when, where and why, makes it sound as though America 2024 is one big funny farm? A train wreck about to happen? Oh, I’m sorry. “Who, what, when, where and why” aren’t really being done anymore, are they?

I seem to keep reverting to the way things were. It’s the wishful thinking of an elderly journalist, I guess. Except for Jon Stewart and John Oliver, who have enough grit to “tell it like it is.” Perhaps young people are turning to them for news and information because that’s precisely what they do?

The O.J Simpson Trial – A Story With Legs We Thought Would Never Stop Running

After more than 30 years of covering news in Los Angeles, I must tell you that L.A., is an industry town, and entertainment is the industry. To expect local journos to ignore that is unrealistic. Naive, even. And I was there when one of the biggest stories of all time was breaking. The O.J. Trial, that is. Or, if you prefer, “trials.” But his celebrity was just one part of it. There was so much more and it demanded unprecedented coverage.

We knew at the time that what we were doing, wall to wall non-stop coverage with a regular panel of expert pundits, was something new. I don’t think anybody realized that what we had started would be a trend on 7/24 cable channels for decades to come.

It may be difficult to believe, but at the time, only two outlets, Court TV and KTLA-TV, were carrying the pre-trial hearing(s) and then the trial wall to wall.

KTLA, was on cable and satellite systems across the country. Eventually Sky TV picked us up and we were on the air in Europe. And we did it without smartphones. I think I eventually got a fax at my desk in the courthouse. No laptop though, and I’m still not sure how I did what I did without the aid of a computer. It probably helped that we were breaking news minute by minute so there was no need to go online for additional information. It was coming from us. We were the news.

By the time the second trial started, the civil case in Santa Monica, I had finally gotten my hands on a laptop with wireless capability. My wife has compared it to being in an era that was transitioning from the horse and buggy to the automobile. I think she’s right. In fact, what we went through transitioning to computers might have been a little harder. And then The National Enquirer, starting beating us all. That, was never supposed to happen.

I doubt any of us realized that including breaking news from certain tabloids in our reporting was breaking new ground for giving the tabloids credibility they had never had. Thing is, we had to make a choice. The Tabloids were doing factual, valid stories that mattered. And they were paying for the information, something we mainstream journos would not do. Nevertheless, we ignored them at our own peril, which could mean missing a huge new part of the story. So some of us went along for the ride. Remember those photos of Simpson sitting at a shoeshine stand up in Canada wearing size 12 Bruno Maglis? KTLA, was the first tv outlet to get those photos. We got them from the Enquirer, because I was buddies with their reporter covering the trial in Santa Monica. I hadn’t paid anybody for information, I was just doing what I had to, to advance the story. And I trusted the reporter for the Enquirer. I can’t say if that would be the case today.

As for Simpson’s “slow speed pursuit” starting the trend of tv stations covering meaningless pursuits for years to come. Well, that’s true. That’s exactly what happened. However, to the best of my knowledge, it was a fever that lasted for a number of years and has since petered out? I can’t be sure, as I left SoCal in 2015, but I seem to recall fewer pursuits were being covered as the years went by. Here in the Baltimore area, only one of our four local tv stations even has a helicopter. The problem in L.A., was that the stations that carried the pursuits got huge numbers while tv stations that ignored them were crushed in the ratings race.

In retrospect, after 30 years, and as someone who was among the first journos to arrive at the murder scene and was then in the slow-speed pursuit and then covered both trials to the point of mental and physical exhaustion, it’s all true. The O.J. trials, perhaps the criminal trial most of all, changed everything, and not all for the better.

That said, I feel I have nothing to apologize for. We had a tiger by the tail. It was a story that never should have happened and was never going to end. Captain America, one of the greatest NFL running backs of all time, a nationally known good-guy movie star, had been charged with taking a knife and slaughtering two people, one of them his beautiful ex-wife, in one of the toniest neighborhoods of Los Angeles. And drugs may have been involved. And the City was just recovering from the Rodney King riots And Johnnie Cochran, a real pit bull in a courtroom, had put the LAPD on trial.

There was a joke running through the press room that O.J. Simpson, was “The guiltiest man ever to be framed.” That might be close to the truth.

We were captured by an irresistible force. Use any metaphor you want. We did the best we could and it was a privilege to be there and to call those people covering “The Trial of the Century” my colleagues and friends. It was monumental. Fallout, was inevitable. I have no regrets.

O.J. Simpson, Luke Skywalker And Me

So O.J., is dead. After 30 years, talking about it is somewhat therapeutic, I think, so I want to thank Rick Dayton, and KDKA Radio, for letting me ramble on for a full 30 minutes yesterday. For those of us with undiagnosed Simpson Trial PTSD, writing about it will probably be beneficial as well. And so, here is a story. Every bit of it, true.

My station, KTLA-TV, was given one seat in the courtroom for the Simpson Civil Trial in Santa Monica. And what a seat it was. We were in the front row just behind the bar and only five or six feet behind O.J. Simpson and his attorneys. So if O.J. turned around, he would be looking directly at whomever was in our seat. Usually that was me, although I had to run outside to do an occasional live-shot, so there were others in the seat as well. There had to be. The rule was that you got the seat, but you would lose it, should it ever prove to be empty when court was in session. So quite literally, we had to put an ass in that seat.

Since I couldn’t always be there, in the courtroom, my producer, Jacquelin Sonderling, spent considerable time occupying our seat. And there were others. Author Dominick Dunne, had just returned from finishing his latest novel “Another City, Not My Own,” and was without a place to sit in the courtroom. I knew Nick from the Criminal Trial, and knew he would be writing about the Civil Trial as well, so I offered to let him take our seat for some of the time when I couldn’t be there. This gave both Jacquelin and myself, a break. And then there was Mark Hamill.

You probably know him as Luke Skywalker, from the Star Wars movies. He was also very much interested in the Simpson Trial. I bumped into him one day out on the courthouse lawn. It turned out that we had a friend in common. As we talked, I learned of how eager he was to get into the courtroom, even if only for a little while. I told him that might be arranged. He gave me his phone number. When the seat was going to be open, I called and Mark came to the courthouse.

And so it came to pass that on any given day, O.J. Simpson, might have turned around to see either me, my producer Jacquelin, novelist Dominick Dunne, or Luke Skywalker.

The day after Mark took the seat for the first time I was back in it myself. The reporter next to me leaned over and said, “Did you know that Luke Skywalker was in your seat yesterday?” “Of course,” I said, acting as though it was all perfectly normal.

As things turned out, Dominick mentioned me in his novel, which was totally unexpected. He has, after all, been called “The world’s most famous chronicler in the age of celebrity.” Beyond that, I’ve always wondered what Simpson thought when he turned around and saw Luke Skywalker, just a few feet away in the courtroom. It’s gotten a chuckle out of me more than once.

From The Small World File

Barbara Rush

Reports are out this morning about the death of actress Barbara Rush at the age of 97. Among other things, she starred in the tv series “Peyton Place.”

Rush’s obit brought back memories of a dinner Karen and I attended years ago at Disney studios in Burbank. Our friends Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows, had invited us to attend as their guests. Steve’s agent, prominent Hollywood power broker Warren Cowan, was also at the table, as were DJ Rick Dees and his wife Julie.

At some point during dinner, Cowan asked me if there was anything I could do to assist his daughter, who was trying to break into television news. I told him I’d be happy to talk to her. I don’t recall any contact with Cowan’s daughter, Claudia, after that, but I do see that she is now a correspondent for Fox News. I was also interested to see that her mother is Barbara Rush.

Such a small world. My condolences go out to Claudia Cowan, and the entire family. It turns out she didn’t need my help after all.

Chili And The Art Of Effective Communication

It isn’t easy to find a good bowl of chili. Most of the canned stuff really sucks. Trader Joe’s had some really good canned chili, but they’ve stopped selling it. A market near us, Klein’s Shoprite, has really, really good chili. It’s part of their soup bar. I’m pretty sure they make it from scratch.

I’ve had it several times, and decided to do something I’ve never done in any supermarket. I decided to tell the people at the customer service desk just how good their store’s chili is. I was going to pay a compliment. This is where it gets a little weird.

I should have known better, right? “No good deed” and all that, but I went for it anyway. “I know you guys probably aren’t used to being complimented, but I wanted to tell you how good your chili is,” I said. The young man behind the counter just stared at me. He either couldn’t comprehend what I was saying, or he might have been in shock at being complimented. Most likely, though, he was reeling in fear at the thought of having to engage with a customer in a spoken conversation employing compound sentences. I’ve experienced this before. They can text, but they can’t talk. I think it might be problem approaching crisis proportions here in the States and maybe internationally, as well.

Since he couldn’t comprehend my first words, I repeated everything I had said in as simple a fashion as possible. “I really like the chili this store sells. It is very good chili, and I wanted to let the store know,” I said. He just stared. “You might want to pass this along to someone? That a customer was complimenting the store’s chili?” Finally, he seemed to understand. “Oh yeah,….sure. I’ll let them know,” he said, still somewhat dazed bu seemingly coming around as I headed for the door, eager to extricate myself from another failed attempt at communicating with a young person.

I shouldn’t have done it, but I did. Complimenting, I mean. I won’t do it again. Except via email to the store’s headquarters, which they’re set up for. So much of the current retail experience seems set up to do all they can to protect their employees from being forced to think, whether it’s simple math or communicating with the spoken word. But I will keep buying their chili.

DJT, New Media, And The Potential Death Of All We Once Held Sacred

Would Donald J. Trump have been able to do anything politically without the 7/24 cable channels and the Internet (Social Media)? There was also the death of the Fairness Doctrine, giving rise to radical talk radio.

Goodbye Paul Harvey, hello Rush Limbaugh.

I recall DJT floating a possible candidacy back in the 80’s or 90’s, and being regarded as a joke. In the 90’s I remember covering the first O.J. trial. All the NY media were there and I remember them telling us about how they had been covering Trump for years and that the guy was a total buffoon. A spoiled rich kid, who was regarded by New Yorkers as a local clown. Look at us now.

Trump, if not completely accepted has at the very least been normalized. Even after leading an attempted coup. To me, this an indicator of just how much the media landscape has changed, mostly for the worse.

Without a professional filter provided by legit journalists, the masses are lambs to the slaughter.

What can be done without walking all over the First Amendment and who out there would have the political will to get it done? With our Democracy at stake, someone should at least be asking the question.

Taylor Swift, The Grammys And The Big Game

I haven’t watched the Grammys in many years, possibly because I can no longer recognize most of the artists. I now know how my grandparents probably felt when the Beatles landed. However, knowing that Joni Mitchell, somebody I can recognize, is up for an award, I decided to peruse the nominees. In doing so, I was struck by the fact that there are 94 catagories, with a Grammy being awarded for each. Seriously? Sometimes, less is more.

Following my recent decision to become a supporter of Taylor Swift, who has more political courage in her pinkie toe than any dozen MAGA fanatics, I was somewhat concerned to hear the rumor that her NFL superhero boyfriend, may be popping the question during the Superbowl halftime show. How’s that gonna work, with Taylor continuing to outshine him for years to come? Will he be able to exist in her shadow once his football magic is gone?

By my count, Taylor Swift, is up for three Grammys. Hope she wins all three. I also hope that both she and Travis have a lifetime of happiness, whether together or apart, whatever happens at the Superbowl.

Reality – RIP

A friend posted a bit about contemporary music on his Facebook account today, prompting me to respond, “Crank up the Auto-Tune and plug in the synthesizer. Soon nothing will be what it really is, but nobody will care so long as it turns a profit.” Or words to that effect. It’s true, I think. We’re heading for an A-I future where nothing is what it appears to be. Including actor’s faces. Something the SAG/AFTRA negotiating team understands better than most, as they try and cut a deal for their member’s futures.

For me it started with Harrison Ford. I’m a huge fan of the actor and his Ark movies, but I wasn’t sure what to think when they let it out that they would be using A-I to give him a younger appearance in the “Dial Of Destiny” film. I thought it was a good movie, and Ford’s appearance didn’t bother me in the least, because it looked like Harrison Ford, only younger. So, no big whoop, right?

But then my wife turned on “The View” and my view of the whole thing changed. They had a movie director who also acts on the show promoting a new movie in which she is starring. I think that’s what they said? Thing is, the actress on the show looked nothing like the character in the movie. I mean nothing. Two different people. Isn’t that taking things a bit too far? I wasn’t sure. Could just be me, resisting the inevitable shift to the ultimate unreality of A-I. And then I had a thought. What if the woman on The View was only directing the picture and the woman starring in the movie was a different person altogether and I was just confused? Which is the way it turned out to be. I had to check out the film’s cast on IMDB to be sure. My thinking was all messed up, thinking the director was also the star. When she isn’t. But theoretically, she could be, because A-I would make that possible. Wouldn’t it?

I’ts easy to be confused when confronted by what seems to be the unlimited potential of A-I to alter our reality. Who needs actors when you’ve got computer generated images that look and sound like the real thing?

While I was pondering these hi-tech issues I received an audio track from a friend on my iphone. He had butt-dialed me from the bathroom. The audio was him clearing his throat and then flushing the toilet. After I stopped laughing I sent it back to him with a note that in the future he might want to stop taking his phone in the bathroom. So much safer. And yet, since nothing is what it seems to be anymore, I’m not sure any of it really matters. Soon, nothing will be as it seems, and we’ll all be clueless. Sucking up all the altered audio and video the professional influencers, propagandists and marketers send us and following wherever it leads, blindly comfortable in our arrogant self-assuredness that we’ve got it all figured out.

This brave new hi-tech world we’re entering into is clearly littered with pitfalls. But then, maybe not. It’s all so confusing. If only we had something less prone to organic failure to take the reigns and tell us what to do? How to live our lives? Wouldn’t that make more sense?

The World At War

The U.S. conducts air strikes on Iranian positions inside Syria after Iranian forces strike U.S. military installations inside Iraq. The BBC reports that according to the Pentagon, 16 attacks by the Iranians based in Syria, have injured at least 20 Americans. At the UN, Iran warns the U.S. will not be spared.

Israel, continues strikes on Gaza, apparently preparatory to a full ground offensive. Not that far away, an Egyptian resort town has reportedly been hit by a missile strike.

Pundits argue that it’s possible to support Israel’s right to self-defense, while, at the same time, supporting aid to Gaza. They also talk about the links between Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran and that Lebanon, is about to get dragged into the conflict.

Russia, an ally of Syria, is reportedly sacrificing soldiers as fighting continues in Ukraine. One report puts the number at 25-hundred in six days. The report claims the Russians are shooting their own soldiers, if they refuse to fight.

The AP reports that over the South China Sea, a Chinese fighter came within ten feet of a U.S. B-52 bomber.

When does it all tip over into qualifying as a world war?

Real News – It’s Still Out There

It bothers me that there is an assumption among some that the New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times are no longer reliable sources for news and information. I think they are trying harder to stay in business, but that does not mean that they are no longer reliable.

Much or all of this presumption that the mainstream media is no longer reliable is coming from the MAGA side, which is the real source of “fake news.” Consequently, I am not inclined to throw the baby out with the bath water.

I recently subscribed to the Washington Post, and think they are doing a terrific job. Beyond our still great national papers, I rely upon the BBC, France24 and sometimes, Reuters streaming service, although they still need some help transitioning from print into broadcast. I also think NPR has one of the best websites out there. The Guardian, is also a great paper, due in no small part to the fact that it is owned by a foundation and is beyond the influence of advertisers. Also, many won’t want to hear it, but Al Jazeera does a great job covering conflicts in the Middle East, probably due to the fact that what they are reporting on is happening in their own back yard. Nevertheless, they continue to be vilified by some because they aren’t owned and controlled by traditional western media.

I also subscribe to my hometown newspaper, The Paynesville Press, in Paynesville, Minnesota. It has always been, and continues to be, a family owned and dependable source for news and information about the small town where I grew up.

My feeling is that there are still plenty of sources for legit news and information. The real problem is a public that has no idea who and where they are. As for Twitter, I canceled my account when Musk bought the company.

Social networking is a very real threat to Democracy, as is the absence of any ethical or principled behavior by some broadcasters, with a considerable amount of nonsense on streaming video. I don’t pretend to know how it can be adequately controlled without gutting the First Amendment. However, it should be obvious that the traditional filter provided by professional journalists is a necessary mechanism to protect an unsuspecting public, many of whom will believe almost anything, provided it supports their personal bias.