By William A. Babcock
The New York Times is to be commended for its in-depth, ongoing reporting of sex abuse. Beginning with its reporting of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assaults on women and following up with stories of a string of similar activities by men in high places, the Times has done a great service to all women and men as well.
The Washington Post, too, is to be commended for its non-stop, reporting and analysis of the lies and destructive, moronic behavior of Donald Trump. The Post’s relentless reporting of what the president says and does is reminiscent of its world-changing reporting of Watergate and Richard Nixon’s misdeeds.
Perhaps it’s too much to ask in a time of journalistic retrenchment, declining ad rates and subscription downturns to wish for more such reporting. But hey, we’re in the Christmas season, where wishes abound. So in this holiday spirit, here is a wish of other stories one can only hope the media might pursue in the coming year in the same manner sex misdeeds and Trump have been covered.
First, we have gun control. With greater gun-death overall and per-capita numbers, the United States is the deadliest nation on the planet. Contrary to what Trump maintains, the time to examine the guns issue is precisely after mass killings, which means the media should constantly report on guns on a very systematic, regular basis given the proliferation of shootings in the U.S. and overseas.
Ronald Reagan’s most unfortunate legacy was his remaining silent after he was shot while in office. Had he left his hospital bed and announced he had come to the belief that hand-guns should be banned, the GOP would have had no alternative but to support him and such guns could have been outlawed. Alas, the Great Communicator remained silent.
A violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? Hardly. The militia in the modern era — police, sheriffs, National Guard — should have access to guns. But any thought that today’s semi-automatic and military arms are at all similar to the single-shot rifles and pistols the founding fathers envisioned when they penned the Second Amendment is illogical at best, and patently ludicrous. And journalists should interview the many legal scholars who agree with the majority of Americans that at the very least, stricter gun laws need to be enacted.
The Electoral College
Second, there is the Electoral College. Every four years when we vote for president we are reminded ours is not a nation of one man/woman one vote, but that where we reside is more important than are our individual votes. While the Electoral College may — repeat MAY — have been a good idea a couple hundred years ago, it’s an idea whose time has passed. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue, but rather one of fairness. Thus, the media should consider as of Jan. 1 to report on how best our elected officials might come to their senses for the sake of the American democracy.
Third, we have healthcare. Bernie Sanders was not a crackpot when encouraging Americans to consider “socialized” medicine. Both Britain and Canada — neither considered Communist nations — have such a system providing a genuine safety-net for citizens. While no one health-care system is perfect, such a system is the fairest, most cost-effective approach, and if the media truly examined such a system for the U.S., it would soon become apparent that both Republicans and Democrats would benefit.
It should be added that decades of U.S. presidents have tried to come up with a better, more inclusive health-care system. In this spirit, a major media analysis of this issue not only would be useful, but also way overdue.
So there you have it — my media wish for the coming year. Public safety, voting rights and health are not partisan issues. They affect everyone from Libertarians and Tea Partiers to tree huggers and liberals. We all, in the land of the First Amendment, deserve to have as much media light shone on these issues as has been shown by the Times and Post on sex abuse and Trump.
At least that’s this editor’s wish.