What are you worried about, Gregg Jamback?

Hard to believe it’s been 30+ years since Gregg Jamback and I were in grad school together. We were part of an internship program at Brooklyn College, splitting our time like superheros: working for the TV department in various capacities by day and taking classes towards a masters degree by night.

jambackOut of the 13 people in our group, as far as I know I’m the only one who did not actually go into the field. (That’s all right, I hate fields; you never know what’s lying out there in the weeds.) Gregg, for example, is an award-winning documentary film producer living in Winston-Salem, NC. You can read about his current project, In Pursuit of Justice, at inpursuitofjusticefilm.com.

My reaction to the election has been to stop listening to the news, stop reading any opinion pieces, and to try, whenever I am tempted to mention his name, to call him the lying, misogynist, bigot who we elected president.

I was in this same spot after the Bush/Kerry election. I had spent election morning driving around Kernersville (a Republican stronghold) checking the votes in polling places and listening to what was then Sirius/XM’s “left” radio station. In that election they confidently reported that Kerry was way ahead. That, of course, was not the case. Shame on me that I was lured in again.

I never believed the lying misogynist bigot we elected president would win the republican nomination, let alone the presidency. I supported Hillary because I believed that if we nominated Bernie the Repubs would spend every waking moment calling him a socialist. Of course, back then I thought there would be two normal presidential candidates.

Watching the election was like watching a train wreck. I couldn’t stop looking. Every morning I turned on Morning Joe. What had the lLMBWEP done now? I thoroughly enjoyed the bashing Joe and the crew delivered to the LMBWEP and cringed when they delivered yet another tirade on Hillary’s emails – even though they knew that there was nothing there.

I read The New York Times, smiling smugly at their endorsement of Hillary; and shaking my head at every article damning her. But I was confident she would win. And she didn’t – the electoral college, anyway.

Two nights ago my wife was working late. I flipped through the channels and as usual nothing was on our 200 channels. Finally I checked out On Demand. There I found All the President’s Men, the story of two hungry reporters and an editorial staff who put the constitution ahead of profits and who, ultimately, brought down a sitting president.

For quite a while I’ve been thinking about the news and how it is reported. We all, for sure, listen to our own echo chamber. I favor news from the left. But, more and more, there is no news, or, as it seems to be called now, “reporting.” It is far less expensive for networks to fill their 24-hour “news” channels with opinion and analysis. It’s too expensive to report stories much less stick with them as the Washington Post did with the Watergate story that brought Nixon down.

Democracy relies on an educated populous and vigorous freedom of the press. But where is that education going to come from? What good is freedom of the press if our news agencies only report the easy stories and then endlessly talk about it?

Is our population educated if it denies science, reads the web with no critical thinking, or believes outlandish conspiracy theories?

We have so devalued education in this country that it is hard to find an educated populous. Surely, if the LMBWEP can win an election by telling people “Believe me” we do not have one.

To survive Trump’s turn at the helm we are going to need an independent, non-profit driven press. And, I’m afraid, none exists anymore.

‘Kay? Now that you see how it’s done, isn’t it easy? So send your thoughts and concerns to rkaplannj(at)gmail(dot)com. And spread the word!


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