An evolving conversation…on essential values

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My mom grew up in an immigrant enclave in Brooklyn. When her father died a few short months before the Depression began in October 1929, he left a widow with limited English and three children.

To help support the family, my mom – a woman who loved to read and learn – had to drop out of high school in her sophomore year.

Growing up, I learned a lot from this natural born teacher. Perhaps the greatest lesson was this:

“Always judge people as individuals.”

As a child, I incorporated that as a part of our human and our American values.

I find myself thinking about that often these days, as I hear our president-elect group people into boxes and tweet and speak about them as a single entity.  A particularly disturbing example has been ”the crooked media”. Continue reading “An evolving conversation…on essential values”

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Freedom of the Press: An essential value

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“Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”                                                                      A.J. Liebling

Today’s headline – “Viral Fake Election News Outperformed Real News on Facebook in Final Months of the U.S. Election” – got me thinking about how we got to this dangerous place.

Many years ago, while in college, I remember a Sociology professor discussing then new statistics that showed, for the first time, more people were getting their news from TV than from newspapers. He made the point that TV news pieces were by definition brief and that the deeper analysis offered by newspapers would fade. He described this as a danger to democracy.

In those days, TV news departments were seen as a public service. As time went by, that value was decayed by networks and stations whose values shifted to profit as their business became more competitive.

Almost two decades ago, in 1999, Marc Gunther authored a report for the Nieman Foundation.  Titled, The Transformation of Network News: How Profitability Has Moved Networks Out of Hard News, Gunther opened the document with these words: Continue reading “Freedom of the Press: An essential value”

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