CC-BY-SA-4.0 Photograph by Mike Peel www.mikepeel.net
Meryl Streep put out a call during her recent Golden Globes speech to the American people to help protect “principled journalists.” This has been widely met with the cheers on one side and jeers on the other that we’ve all come to expect of anything in this dysfunctionally entrenched two-party political climate in this country.
The fourth branch
But as Americans, whatever your affiliation, we are part of the collective we call the fourth branch — it is our responsibility as ‘The People” of this nation to protect those ethical journalists who hunt down the truth, sometimes at great peril to themselves, in order to help keep us informed — and it is, in turn, their job to protect us by helping to hold our politicians, legislators, and judges accountable.
When these things– people and press — work together, non-partisan truth-seekers and unbiased truth-tellers, it acts as an effective form of checks and balances on those in power — protected by our founders in our Constitution’s First Amendment. (*For me, this also includes the whistleblowers who put themselves at risk in order to get the truth out to these journalists and ultimately the people. But in recent years, we have seen these whistleblowers and the journalists who aid them in disseminating their findings, vilified by both sides of the aisle.)
Who to trust?
In an age of media conglomeration, infotainment, party affiliated “news” organizations, the proliferation of social media misinformation, and calculated astroturf, figuring out exactly who those truth-tellers or principled, ethical journalists and outlets are can feel positively exhausting.
As we all move forward, with so much disinformation inherent in the sound-bitey click bait faux news of the worldwide web, it’s more important now than ever that we make the effort to seek truth, to know how to parse the false from the true and half true, and to know how to support the work of principled investigative journalists in THIS country.
(*Streep’s CPJ, as it turns out is a worldwide organization that has, until now, been mostly focused on the work of foreign journalists in oppressed nations.)
It’s time to fight back — but how?
While fear can make us feel the need to fight back, we need to do so intelligently, peacefully, and organized. We need to do so based on facts, not based on lies, half-truths, slants, or omissions, not based on rhetoric that vilifies the real people voting on either side of the aisle.
We all need to begin to realize that as “the people” of this country, it benefits us most when we put aside our differences and party affiliations and stand together in favor of the best interests of our nation and each other, serving our country and our humanity, as opposed to blindly serving the politcal machine under the guise of ideological labels.
Take a stand
As the baton gets passed and the need to truly take a stand for those principles you hold dear and that you think our nation should hold dear, without being yanked around by the agendas of D.C. power brokers and two-party politics, you may want to look into giving your donations and subscriptions to these organizations, looking to them also for clues to a more balanced, full, and unbiased viewpoint.