Friday, March 18, 2016

Politics, Persuasion, and Journalism

Listening to The Diane Rehm Show this morning, I realized that my vacation from the real world must end.  Jorge Ramos, the Univision news anchor who was unceremoniously booted from a Trump press conference, was making a clear and compelling case for shouting from the rooftops.  He's right. There is no time left for complacency.

Or, as Mr. Ramos wondered this morning, where were the outraged journalists nine months ago? Trump's remarks were reported ad nauseum, but without any condemnation from the talking heads. The time for outrage was then, and most of the media was silent.  Where are Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite when we need them?

When security not-so-gently escorted Mr. Ramos from Trump's Press Conference, no other journalists walked out with him.  The why's are an interesting melange of self-service and opportunism and reluctance to make a scene.  One less reporter means one less person looking for the story.  Trump has denied access to writers from The Beast, among other outlets, because he didn't like their coverage.

Am I the only one who remembers John Peter Zenger? Freedom of the press is what gave us Tom Paine and the American Revolution.  Standing by and doing nothing just emboldens th:e tyrant.

Mr. Ramos knows about taking on tyrants.  After his difficult interview with Fidel Castro, no visa for a return trip has been forthcoming.  That's the price you pay for taking the job seriously.  But, he also knows how to have fun.  Responding to a heckler's Get Out of Our America, he laughed and said It's OUR America, too...just with an accent.

His book, Take a Stand: Lessons From Rebels, begins with this question:  Are you an activist or a journalist?  His answer is fascinating, and I'm only a little way into it.


  1. The problem I see with going after Trump is ignoring that every single one of the Republicans running for President have the same set of goals for our country. That's the scary part. So Cruz campaigns in Arizona with Perry supporting him and they both would do what Trump talks about but more brashly. They are just sneakier about it.

    Too bad primaries don't let people vote for none of the above. Since I am a Democrat, I'll be voting for Bernie but expect Hillary to get it and she'll be my choice in the fall. Given social issues as well as economic, I have no choice.

    I just wish Republicans ran a real conservative someday. I know they exist but you wouldn't believe it from the slate of candidates that has come to the top this year and been skimmed off. I read that the Republican establishment hopes to block Trump and put in someone like Bush. Just never for a second think he's more moderate and if someone forgot about Terri Shiavo, they need to get reminded. Religious ideologues scare me worse than Trump-- not that I want any of them.

    1. Ramos went after everyone, and that courage is what impressed me most about the interview, Rain. I agree that the Republican field is scary, but Trump's tone is terrifying. And, as the media coverage feeds his narcissism, he gets worse and worse. If he ever saw a therapist, this situation is that person's worst nightmare. Adulation is like heroin for his soul; his craziness is expanding exponentially and there will be no way to reel him in to something approaching normalcy if it continues.
      I fear for our nation.

    2. Well try the fact that Cruz is regarded as the Christian savior. Glenn Beck has him in the priesthood risen which is a Mormon mythology for taking over-- and likely why he will win Utah by such large numbers on Tuesday. Read up on religious thinking for where this could go. A good start is Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. To me any religious ideologue is scarier and Cruz times that with his rhetoric and those who believe in this end times and their right to control the country. To me they are all bad, but Cruz is the worst because of what religion has done before. I'll take a Trump any day over a religious fanatic and that is clearly Cruz. Both men are narcissists without a doubt but Cruz believes in himself. Trump just wants to win. In the end it will probably be Hillary and that doesn't make my day either but it's better than anybody on the other side. Kasich is also an extremist if you follow his policy positions. He just says it with a Gary Shandling smile...

  2. I wish the media would stop giving Drumpf airtime. I was reading a story on HuffPo about how the media time he has been given is in the billions of dollars. Disturbing on so many levels. He scares me and the media attention he's gotten is unprecedented.

    As much as I loathe the GOP, it would be nice for them to run a somewhat normal person--none of which any of them are.

    I truly am scared. :(

    Megan xxx

    1. They saw him as entertainment and left out the judgmental piece of their responsibilities. That was Ramos's point and one with which I know you and I agree.

      Terrifying, indeed, Megan.


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