Observations on the President’s Press Conference in Turkey

I don’t have to start off telling you that I’m a writer. You know that if you follow me on twitter.com or WordPress.com or have befriended me on Facebook. My first dream being a writer was to be a journalist, more specifically, a photo journalist but a journalist all the same. As a person with that mind set, I tend to pay attention to journalists and how they comport themselves and how they pose their questions and even the content of those questions. I did so while watching the video of the President’s press conference in Turkey and have a few observations I want to express.

First of all, many of the questions obviously had a political bias. The Constitution of the United States ensures the freedom of the press in the first Amendment. It states in its entirety, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” In studying the history of the establishment of the United States and its government, we learn that freedom of the press was intended to establish one of many checks and balances to keep our government honest. (If you didn’t learn this, you need a civics and history refresher course) Journalists are meant to question, it’s their job. However, in my own observation, I see a couple of trends that I find disturbing. First, the political bias of the questions asked in this particular press conference and in many others I’ve watched during President Obama’s presidency are, in my opinion, decidedly one sided. Second, the reporters asking the questions in this press conference don’t appear to be paying attention to what is being said.

Every human being has bias in one way or another. That’s understandable because its human nature to react to what happens around them and it’s only natural that these experiences affect how they interact and view the world around them. However, I know by my own experiences and views that this country is not represented by these journalists equally. Because the questions all had a conservative media bias, this means no checks and balances are present. They appear to be there only to OFF balance the President and critique how he answers their one-sided questions. I see this because I’m of the opposite view and would not, as a journalist, have asked some of the ridiculously immature questions asked because I already knew how he would answer them. He answered them the same way I would have had I been asked.

The questions this predominantly conservative viewed group of journalists asked seemed not well thought through. By this I mean it seems as though these journalist assumed the president was making all these decisions on how to approach the situation at hand without the benefit of the many advisers and counselors he has on hand at any given time. They fail to grasp that as president, President Obama has access not only to intel that the general public does not, he also has access to the top personnel in the field to advise him on military strategy and the benefit of their experience. If they truly don’t know this, they have no business being political journalists. If they do know this, they are using its exclusion to either drive their own agenda or to try and catch the President off guard to make him look bad, feeding their conservative base what they want to see. The president’s answers to these types of questions included informing them of their missing piece.

Another observation, beyond the not fully fleshed out questions and their conservative bias, is that it appears none of the journalists who asked the subsequent questions appeared to have paid attention to the previous questions nor the answers to said questions. It’s as though they prepared their questions to be posed as though they expected theirs would be the first question and they didn’t bother to adjust it to ask for new information not given in previous answers. A good journalist should be paying attention to previous questions and their answers and adjusting their questions accordingly, otherwise, we get no new information and time is wasted with the President having to repeat himself.

I have asked myself how a journalist keeps a job approaching it the way these journalists have. But, the answer is simple. They have guidelines set by the corporations who pay them and those guidelines include only the agenda of said corporation. If that agenda is to provide credible news and they approach it in the way they did, they wouldn’t retain their job. However, if the agenda is to try and trip up the President by rewording the same questions and never getting new information with them, they’re not required to think of new questions by using previous questions as a springboard. And if this is the case, they’ve done the job they were meant to do even if they don’t succeed in tripping up the president. The success is in the frustration they caused the president by making him repeat himself over and over again with the same old, worn out questions, reworded.

These observations are disturbing because if the media is meant to provide checks and balances to keep the government honest, it’s not doing its job. Therefore, they’re not giving us the honest truth. They’re giving us their skewed version with their agenda in mind. This can be, and in my opinion IS a dangerous thing for the well-being of the country as a whole. It has a huge impact on the country because if those with the most money control what we know of the world, they can get us to support any agenda they want to regardless of who it hurts. We cannot afford a one sided media. We must demand that the fairness doctrine be reinstated!

My final observation is this. If the journalists at this press conference are pushing the agenda of the corporation with the knowledge of the things they asked that they should know as citizens, their sole purpose is to push that corporate agenda. However, if they don’t know these things, the failure is in their education. And if we don’t address the missing aspects of our educational system to include how our political system and government work and what the role of its citizens and its media in it, it will only decline more. Either way, we’re in trouble as a nation.


The Hidden Message in the Events of 9/11/2001

I woke up on 9/11/2015 knowing what day it was. I didn’t watch a single tribute. I couldn’t. I can’t. I need to focus on positive things. But I did read something that really made me think and reflect, and remember. The article was on Tickld(sic), entitled How 9/11 Was Displayed In Non-American Countries. This Is Eye-Opening.

It has always been my nature to try and see the good in people. It’s been my downfall more than a few times as well. I still choose to believe human nature in general is the same. We all want the same things, a roof over our heads, food on our tables, education and a better life for our children, peace, freedom, and love.

I know many of you might be thinking yeah, this peace freak, tree hugging, uber liberal is just naïve and doesn’t see the evil in people. Oh, but I do, much more than I get credit for. But I don’t see evil in people until they show it to me. And I am very observant in looking for their true colors. I’ve learned to trust my instincts. I’m cautious but I’m also open and slow to trust.

When I saw the coverage on that horrible day, I was working in Triage Registration at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Jacksonville, Florida. We could see the lobby television from the triage station and watched as the second plane hit the tower. I avoided it as much as I could until I got home that day. I’m very empathetic and I know how I am. I waited until I got home to watch, and sobbed as I did. I couldn’t allow myself to do that on the job.

The article was short statements from people in multiple countries who spoke of their experience when they learned of the attack. While I have no way of verifying their stories, these stories struck a chord in me. They reaffirmed my belief that those who naturally react with sympathy and empathy in the face of such events still far outnumber those who act and react with violence. It even had a statement from an Iraqi citizen who states they had candlelight vigils for those lost in the attacks. Some of the very people many Americans consider the enemy held candlelight vigils to honor our dead. They were horrified by the attacks, as anyone with a conscience should be. They were not celebrating in the streets and expressing their joy at the loss of thousands of innocent people any more than we celebrate the deaths of innocents anywhere else in the world. And those who do should be ashamed. Human life is precious, no matter where that human lives.

What I fail to understand about my country is that there are a lot of people who don’t want to hear that their “enemy” is human too. They don’t want to think that those people want safety and peace for their families. They also don’t want to hear that they are not all the same. They don’t want to know that the extremists of any “enemy” culture are not the norm. But then I also have a problem understanding how people can see any innocent human life as expendable in what they consider a ‘war for the common good’. I don’t how killing the innocent people of your enemy’s country is for common good. If anything, covert operations are preferable over air strikes because you can narrow the targets to the real enemy and not the innocents around them. Not that I’m pro-war, very much the opposite but I am realistic and sometimes the extremists must be stopped or more innocents die. The problems come in when we have very pro-war people controlling what we know about the military action we take and manipulate what we know to support their agenda, something I know my country is guilty of. And it infuriates me that they do so and act in my name and the name of others who believe as I do then lie to us about it. But the bottom line is war is not always the answer. It’s almost never the answer. And realizing that people in ‘the enemy’ country are much like us. Things are being done by their countrymen that they don’t agree with and they are often lied to about it as well. More of us oppose war than support it and those who close their eyes and ears to that fact and support it anyway are acting against their own best interests. I’ve come to see that my country is often the aggressor because of those in my government who believe that war is the first and only answer and who make huge profits on every war. They’re so focused on their profits that they put money over human life, something I am VERY MUCH opposed to. It hurts me deep to see people shrug off the lives of other human beings in support of these people.