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About the Fourth Estate

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Mr. Rick Brennan in the June 8 edition (Mailbox) claims that "The press is the enemy of the people..." This view is directly opposed to the founders' views about a free society, which is why freedom of speech and the press was guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution. A few decades ago, I was taught that Thomas Jefferson was challenged by a visiting foreign friend for allowing the local newspaper to savage him. Allegedly, Jefferson told his guest to take the paper home to prove that freedom of the press was a reality in America. Forced to choose between the two, Jefferson would take a free press over government.

Mr. Brennan claims to hate all the press, but the only examples we get involve Trump's 95 percent negative reportage, the Democratic Party, and the book "Shattered." I have a copy of that book, maybe Mr. Brennan could quote chapter and verse to back up his claim.

Mr. Brennan is a fine one to talk about the Democrats being the "party of radical fascist hate" since the first thing radical fascists and dictators do is eliminate or dominate free speech and the press, just like Rick and the Trump administration. Just like autocrats everywhere like Fidel Castro in Cuba, Mao in China and Putin's Russia. Remember the dissident Russian journalist in London? The one who somehow absorbed all the radioactive polonium in the Northern Hemisphere. That's the way!

Trump is president due to real and illusory issues with Hillary and an antiquated quirk in the Electoral College that weighted the votes of a minority against the majority. His "press" is 95 percent derogatory because he is incompetent and has a vile personality.

Timothy Crlenjak, Eureka


After reading some letters here in defense of journalism, I thought I'd weigh in with a different perspective. As a former reporter with centrist views, a while ago I began an informal research project aimed at verifying major news stories, confining myself to the subject of politics. Having collected over 40 stories that carry major errors, I think journalism can stand room for improvement.

We need some form of journalism if we're going to have an open society, but let's not pretend it's science, or that the end result doesn't have something to do with interpretation. As far as fake news goes, we've seen it on all sides of the political spectrum, but let's be honest, the left is working overtime on generating its share of it.

Last week, The New York Times implicated Sarah Palin in the 2011 attempted assassination of Rep. Gabby Giffords. In this instance of journalistic excellence, a conspiracy theory disguised as fact made its way into an editorial. While the Times published a retraction, Palin may sue for libel. I'm neutral on Palin, but am concerned that some reporters are more interested in dishing out dirt than presenting the truth, especially where perceived enemies are central to the story.

Every paper has a particular voice or quirkiness that's supported by advertisers who in turn, support the attitude. With the Internet, every flavor of news is available in designer styles matching a multitude of demographics, preaching more to a chosen, circumspect choir. The unfortunate thing is, news gatherers have become more insulated and myopic, and the chasm between liberal and conservative reporting has widened in concert with market demands. I'm referring mostly to major news outlets. Regional news has an immediate relationship to original sources and is therefor less prone to distortion.

Franklin Stover, Eureka


There's a certain bitter irony to Rick Brennan crying "fascist" on the Democratic Party in defense of a politician who openly courted the support of neo-fascists. Unless, that is, his accusation of "radical fascist hate" was intended to imply that hating fascists is a "radical" and unacceptable stance?

K.A. Green-Wall, Eureka


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