Time To Put Up Or Shut Up!
- jim Young
"Not only must justice be done; it must also be seen to be done." - Vincent Bugliosi, “Till Death Do Us Part: A True Murder Mystery”
A few years ago when running for the presidency, Donald Trump called Senator John McCain a “loser” and suggested McCain was a war hero only because he was captured. Trump added that he didn’t like people who were captured.
Trump can’t deny that. Well, actually he can and often does, but who’s going to believe him?
There’s an old adage that says if you tell a lie often enough, people will eventually believe you. Of course that theory was developed long before almost everything we do and say could be captured on video.
So here’s the video clip that proves Trump called McCain a loser and denied McCain’s status as a war hero.
More recently, The Atlantic has accused Trump of calling fallen American World War I veterans “losers” and “suckers”.
In 2018 after cancelling a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris, Trump was allegedly quoted as saying “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.”
The “losers” interred there are American troops that were killed in the brutal Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I.
In light of many instances that Trump has been quoted disparaging McCain’s military service as well as other war vets, and because of what we know of Trump’s character in general, it’s not a stretch to believe the story in the Atlantic Press may very well be true.
However, the difference here is there doesn’t seem to be any categorical proof that Trump actually said those things and without that, the cry of “Fake News” becomes an all too easy defense.
The Atlantic was citing “unnamed sources”, specifically, “four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion”.
So perhaps we should give Trump the benefit of the doubt on this story even though it’s a courtesy that Trump would not likely be willing to afford others if the shoe were on the other foot.
Who are these “unnamed sources”? Why can’t even one of them step forward to face his or her accused and lend some real credibility to the story?
I fully understand the importance of “source confidentiality” to the media to enable them to properly do their job.
However, this privilege should also come with the responsibility of the media to ensure that it is not abused.
“Source confidentiality” should be invoked only as a last resort to ensure any real reprisals against physical, economic or professional reprisals against the source, not simply because the source is shy or wishes to avoid the scrutiny of their own credibility.
If you’re going to make an accusation against another person, whether it’s a neighbour, a celebrity or a world leader, shouldn’t you be willing to sign your name to your statement?
Does this kind of anonymity not lend to exaggeration of the events?
I worry that sometimes it might be easier and less time consuming for a reporter to assure a source they need not be identified rather than encourage them to come forward.
Reporting the news is a very competitive business. Deadlines must be met. Sales must be made. Who has time to convince their source they should go public? A reputable media would.
In a world plagued with accusations of “Fake News” the media has a responsibility to ensure their stories not only report the truth but are also seen to report the truth.
And we as readers must hold them to that higher standard.
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