A lifetime in Journalism made me a believer in transparency, which, of course, makes disclosure an important issue even though I currently do what are commonly called “opinion pieces.” That is to say, I no longer do straight-ahead Journalism, giving readers both sides of the story and then letting them decided for themselves how they might feel about one issue or another. I stopped doing that kind of Journalism when I left KTLA-TV in 2009 and began writing this blog. Whether my objectivity and fairness continue now that I am issuing forth with opinion is a question for my readers to answer.
Being able to tell people how I feel about major issues is a real relief following forty years of leaving my opinions and personal bias on the doorstep at home when I left for work each day. It isn’t easy, but it can be done. There are any number of outstanding journalists who are doing exactly that, even though many are shown little or no appreciation for their efforts at ethical professional behavior due to the financial pressures pushing down on both print and broadcast news.
But back to transparency. Today, I made a contribution to the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. Some months ago, I made more than one contribution to the Senate campaign of Elizabeth Warren. I openly support both Sanders and Warren in my writing, so I don’t feel ethically challenged in sending them money. Prior to those donations, while I was doing straight-ahead journalism, not only did I never contribute to anyone’s campaign, I refrained from voting out of fear that having a horse in the race would compromise my ethical position as a journalist. How could I possibly support a candidate and still expect my viewers to believe I was being objective in my work? In fact, prior to Sanders and Warren, the only other campaign contribution I had ever made was a small check I made out to George McGovern in the 70’s, before I got into journalism.
My opinion is that voting for Hillary because she is a woman, is not a valid reason to vote for Hillary. She’s taken way too much money from Wall Street. She’s far too tied into the big American banking machine. In the end, she will favor those who have paid her. She has to, if only because it’s human nature to favor those who favor you, and she has been favored in a big way.
As for Bernie, yes he leans toward social reform. Toward re-blancing the nation’s progressive tax structure. So what? Who do you think pays for the fire department, the police department, our roads and highways, our food inspectors (such as they still are), maintaining our clean air and water, disaster relief and our military? Aren’t you burned out on paying twice what the Canadians pay for prescription meds? If anything, Bernie will bring America back to being a more balanced or “mixed” economy, providing both the incentives offered by Capitalism and the security provided by Democratic Socialism, without taking us off the rails and into some extremist ideology, which is where this current batch of extremist Republicans want us to go. The privatization the Republicans are after is no better than Communism. Both ultimately result in a form of feudalism, absent of adequate self-determination and shared power.
As Bill Moyers recently called to our attention, “…Sanders’s positions are quite mainstream from the point of view of the stances of the American public in general. Of course, the 1 percent, for whom and by whom most mainstream media report, are appalled and would like to depict him as an outlier.” Moyers points to a recent Gallup poll showing that 63% of Americans support Sanders contention, “that the current distribution of wealth is unfair.”
By my way of thinking, if Sanders has a fault, it’s the same problem Jimmy Carter and George McGovern had. He’s just too damn honest for American politics. This isn’t my original thought. If memory serves, it came from the shark-toothed brain of Hunter S. Thompson. I’m not suggesting it’s always a bad problem to have, if only the American people could recognize that honesty is better for us than the lie-fueled, festering, entertainment driven, mud-slinging frenzy that has come to dominate our political landscape. It’s so much easier to draw someone’s attention with slime and innuendo than with a discussion of the facts, a game that plays against politicians who try and deal with the truth to the exclusion of personal attacks.
I think Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are trying to do the right thing against terrifying odds. In this current environment, that, at the very least, makes them statesmen (and woman), and possibly even patriots. Real patriots, not one of those flag waving empty bags of rhetorical racket who grow fat on the blood and tears of others while proportionately putting back so much less than they take from the system.
There it is. All in the interest of transparency. Were I still on the air, working for a news organization that represents itself as being objective, I wouldn’t be donating to anybody. But, as I now write opinion pieces, my opinion is that it’s okay to donate to Bernie Sanders. Considering the bankers and their billions that are stacked against him, I urge you to send what you can by going to his campaign website, berniesanders.com.
Some are saying he can’t beat Hillary. Probably some of the same folks who said Obama couldn’t win the primary in 08.
Send Bernie a couple of bucks. Click here – https://berniesanders.com