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.


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