THE CLOSING ARGUMENT
by Sharon Rondeau
(Sep. 5, 2019) — In the previous five sections of this series, The Post & Email illustrated how a narrative promoted without due diligence on the part of the “investigative journalists” who reported it omitted crucial background which would undoubtedly have made a difference to listeners’ and readers’ understanding of the story.
The narrative was propagated multiple times by at least two radio/YouTube broadcast hosts who made no effort to verify the claims made, even after hearing directly from a firsthand witness attempting to set the record straight.
Making false or unsubstantiated claims against anyone in a public forum is a serious matter, as all Americans witnessed during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings last fall.
The Post & Email felt compelled to research, write and develop the five-section report in order to disprove defamatory statements made against us by “investigative journalists” Mary Fanning and Alan Jones primarily aimed at Mike Zullo, who we sought out for firsthand information on the subject matter.
Termed “pathetic liars,” and accused of “slander and libel,” Fanning also claimed that Zullo recorded former NSA/CIA contractor Dennis Montgomery “illicitly,” which is provably inaccurate.
A true “investigative journalist” has no need to make spurious claims against his critics, as he can and does support every statement he makes with documentary evidence. Recently John Solomon of The Hill did just that to defend his own reporting.
The circulation of “fake news,” to which President Trump and countless others often refer, is anathema to a free society. In their intellectual brilliance, the Framers placed the First Amendment — the right to freely converse, publish, criticize government, and petition that government for redress of grievances — as the first in what would be ten delineated rights which some feared the Constitution did not fully enshrine or define.
The hallmark of any dictatorship is its well-oiled propaganda machine which churns out only the information it wishes the citizenry to believe. With all counter-arguments completely extinguished, the people have no tools with which to make decisions about their lives, their livelihoods, or their government. Thousands of people have lost their lives attempting to escape from such gulags.
We are dangerously close to the point where the only “news” Americans are provided is carefully crafted to shape public opinion to achieve a certain result. What we call the “mainstream media” has reduced itself to nothing more than a conduit for propaganda masquerading as news and funded by large corporate interests. The predetermined outcome sought by the talking heads of CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC and NBC who pose as “journalists” exposes them for the charlatans they are.
How is that different from a dictatorship with interminable one-party rule?
As World War II veteran Col. Thomas E. Davis, Jr. (Ret) has invoked on numerous occasions at this publication, the journalistic standard was, at one time, “that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.”
How close or far away from that standard is the major media today? The Washington Post and The New York Times, once reliable “papers of record,” now routinely incorporate opinion into their “news” coverage, whether subtly or blatantly, an example of the breakdown of their once-high journalistic standards.
The Times has gone as far as to admit that it pursued the Trump-Russia “collusion” narrative with a purpose, now replaced, according to its executive editor, with “a different story.”
How is that different from the old Pravda?
As discussed previously, with the explosion of new media, people from all walks of life, and not necessarily “journalism,” have launched endeavors to discuss the issues of the day in a way that the “mainstream” media does not. However, when promoting an agenda becomes the goal, all neutrality evaporates, and a “journalist” becomes just another commentator.
Some of the new startups shamelessly copy material from other websites, with or without attribution or permission, including this one.
An “investigative journalist” will conduct deep background research on a subject before reporting it. The process can take weeks, months, or years and certainly requires more than one source. Obtaining statements from current government officials, transcripts and other verifiable records is essential to finding and exposing the truth.
While virtually everyone likes to read hard-hitting opinion columns from time to time, opinions are no substitute for facts. Even good editorial writers base their expressed opinions on unassailable facts to build their credibility.
Some YouTube and other startups have become wildly popular, with tens of thousands of reported subscribers, and explore a variety of topics, including rumor and raw theories. As Americans we have the freedom to support, financially or otherwise, any programming we wish and decide for ourselves if the host and his sources are reliable.
Anyone can say he is an “investigative journalist,” but what is the person’s track record? Where did he or she come from, and what “investigative” methods do they use? Do they rely on only one source for their information, as in the case of Lawrence O’Donnell last week and CNN two years ago?
How many “journalists” have destroyed their own careers in recent years because their agenda was more important than investigating and fact-checking? How many more “retracted” articles are we going to see from the legacy media?
Donning the title “investigative journalist” and then propagating a narrative, omitting significant facts and falsely labeling others “liars,” is indefensible.
If the United States of America is to survive as a republic, we have to be able to hear, read and see the truth for ourselves. But first we need someone to tell it.
Updated, 12:07 PM EDT.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.