Media Truth Squads For Each Debate— Resolving GOP Candidates’ Complaints

Media Truth Squads For Each Debate— Resolving GOP Candidates’ Complaints

The GOP presidential candidates’ efforts to “fix” the media’s alleged shortcomings can be accommodated easily by one already-used (but not formalized) process—verifying as soon as possible after the event whether or not the candidates’ assertion of fact was true, or untrue, or unsubstantiated, or otherwise misleading.

MSNBC’s reporting on the late October debate did some of that by getting representatives of opposing candidates to address what was said. But this is NOT useful UNLESS the public (1) knows that this will be done for all candidates’ statements, (2) will be objective and impartial, (3) will be presented immediately after the debate, and (4) a record of the “mis-statements” kept for each candidate and made public at specified times, perhaps before the next debate and on request, by an objective source, etc.

The candidates have had almost “carte blanche” on saying things like ,”Oh, I mis-spoke—even after repeating and publishing, and even using the mis-information in TV ads. Or, their campaigns will “disavow” what some “former staffer” has said, “We did not authorize this, etc.” Or, they will use their “PACs” to disseminate mis-information, and then act slowly to disavow it. There are other ways, as well, for example, using surrogates to give “opinions” that media pick up from statements by Senators and Congressmen.

In other words, hold the candidates responsible for what they say and do, in pursuit of elected office. Isn’t that the role that media have always claimed to play in our democracy? Let’s hold the media, too, responsible for this often-unfulfilled promise!

John H. Langer, JD, Ed.D. Retired Federal agency manger, former professor of education, public school administrator, and writer of a number of articles and publications on education, public affairs, substance abuse and social issues. In writing a book on attention and memory as it relates to education, this blog is helping to focus attention n current issues, and hopefully, add something useful as well.

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