From Dan Rather's Facebook page:
- As all of you who have followed me on Facebook know, I have taken a public stand in this election in the face of much of what Donald Trump has said, especially about the press. I have never done anything like this before in my life.
I am trying to understand, as a journalist, as a citizen, as a father and grandfather, what has motivated me. And I am not alone. The shockwaves of this unprecedented presidential campaign have reverberated in every newsroom in this country. The election of 2016 will not only be taught in history, sociology, and political science classes - it will be a case study in journalism schools for years to come.
I am left to wonder if my profession will ever cover politics the same way again. There was a shift like this before. Watergate ushered in a far greater skepticism of government amongst with press, to an extent that none of us at the time could fully appreciate. Now it is clear that it's happening again.
With this in mind, I want to bring your attention to a searchingly provocative and thorough article by Ezra Klein on this topic in Vox. To me he is emerging as one of the most thoughtful journalists working today - one driven by a search for deeper understandings and not afraid of wading into complexity and context. He raises many tough questions for us journalists to answer. It is well worth your read and I hope we can have a spirited conversation in the comment section on my page. If you have specific questions you want me to answer on this topic, please post them there and if you see a question you like, please like the comment so that it rises to my attention.
I would also like to add one final thought to Klein's treatment of this topic - one that perhaps is deeply personal. It is no secret that I have had a long life and can see further back into the horizons of history than most working journalists today.
I have seen that what looks like a secure national identity, steeped in the yellowing parchment of our founding documents and promulgated in Washington's marble temples to our democracy, is a lot more fragile than we would like to believe. I remember the internment of Japanese Americans. I witnessed state-sponsored segregation on the basis of race. I experienced young men dying in a war that contradicted our values and was fueled by lies. I reported on a vast criminal conspiracy (trivialized in my view by the term Watergate) run out of the Oval Office. In short I have seen the grand experiment in self-government wobble on its axis of inevitability.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." What is not self-evident is that we will have a government that honors these truths as sacrosanct.
I have peered into the abyss of dysfunction, and it is terrifying. And more than anything that is what is driving me to not be silent.
Not tagged #sillyseason because this is far more about journalism than anything else.