Is the Media Honest (with Examples)?

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A nonpartisan look at a few stories peddled by the mainstream media.

The following news stories were chosen based on the premise that most major news outlets have failed to cover them outside the context of their immediate importance. These are selectively chosen to provide a factual, nonpartisan initial interpretation. 

Fox News Politics: Trump expected to announce end to Obama-era DACA, official says

President Trump is expected to announce an end to President Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program, or DACA. This program gave deportation amnesty to hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants. President Trump is expected to allow “dreamers” to remain in the United States until their permits expire. In 2012, President Obama formulated this program through executive order to protect undocumented minors for a period of two years, subject to renewal. Many conservatives would like President Trump to allow the program to expire. However, President Trump says, “They shouldn’t be very worried…I do have a big heart.” This will be a major decision by the Executive branch, as it will have immediate pushback by the Democrats and some within the Republican party.

Opponents of DACA have called it “unconstitutional” and many claim that it is “blanket amnesty.” Their argument has some merit, however, the program’s method of introduction via executive order is more telling than the program’s intent. Congress has failed numerous times to pass immigration reform legislation, and both parties seem adamant that they will not compromise on these issues. What Congress fails to address is the reality that many young undocumented immigrants live with. These individuals many times did not willingly violate immigration law. These young individuals live with uncertainty as to their status, so it is important that Congress realizes there are lives at stake, so it is time to break the gridlock and address this issue directly.

Time.com: Meet the Man Who Turned His Furniture Stores Into Shelters for Harvey Victims

The biggest news over the past week is undoubtedly the destruction of Hurricane Harvey and Texans’ unity during this difficult time. Lost in the coverage of destruction of property, some fatalities, and the accumulation of charitable donations from well-known figures is the story of “Mattress Mack.”  Jim McIngvale, a popular furniture store owner, arrived at his store and decided he wanted to make a difference. He opened some of his furniture stores and converted them to temporary shelters. Since Sunday, roughly 400 people have used his stores as shelters, allowing them to sleep on the furniture sets. McIngvale’s stores are “flood-proof on elevated concrete, and also have bathrooms, showers and an in-store restaurant.” These troubling times are stressful for Houstonians, but McIngvale said, “We’re all positive we’re going to come together.” Those utilizing stores as shelters have been helpful in partaking in “administrative tasks to manage the shelter, like helping make food.” There is a Change.org petition asking Houston to honor McIngvale as an icon.

In these supposedly divisive times, it is a reminder as to the power of the human spirit to assist others and to unite. “Mattress Mack’s” action is only one such example of the compassion and inclusiveness of the American spirit.  It is important for news media to highlight the sense of unity among Texans, and among the American people as charitable donations continue to provide for those affected by the hurricane.

Bloomberg Politics: Harry Reid Sought White House Help for Menendez Donor, DOJ Says

Political turmoil seems to be the guiding feature of politics in 2017. One such overlooked example is Democratic Senator Robert Menendez’ corruption trial. Menendez along with a Florida eye doctor, Salomon Melgen, are involved in this trial alleging Melgen bribed Menendez with “hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and lavish trips in exchange for his help on government disputes.” Menendez supposedly “enlisted” former Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid in November 2011. Reid contacted the White House Deputy Chief of Staff, informing them that Menendez was troubled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’, CMS, treatment of Melgen. Reid requested the White House Deputy Chief of Staff call CMS. Additionally, there is a history between Melgen and Reid, as Melgen has donated large sums to Democratic political action committees.

The indictment against both Menendez and Melgen further lays out the coordination between Menendez and Reid meeting with “then-secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to discuss policies that affected Melgen.” Also important to this case is an overview of Menendez and Melgen’s long-lasting friendship. Disturbingly, Melgen has been convicted of other crimes including health-care fraud. Melgen has also encouraged Menendez to assist in getting visas for three of his girlfriends and sought influence over Dominican Republic security contracts. This case will prove pivotal as Republicans seek to add to their majority in the Senate in hopes of passing landmark legislation.

CBS San Francisco: Berkeley Mayor: We Should Classify Antifa ‘As A Gang’

Berkeley Mayor, Jesse Arreguin, finally agrees that the anarchist-communist group, “Antifa,” should be challenged. “I think we should classify them as a gang,” says Arreguin.  “They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons, almost like a militia and I think we need to think about that in terms of our law enforcement approach.” It is troubling that it has taken numerous violent incidents in Berkeley to bring forth this change in approach. “Antifa” has been legitimized in many cases, with some mainstream news figures comparing them to American World War II veterans. No doubt, white supremacy, often the target of “Antifa” violence, is an intolerable and racist view, but violence toward anyone has no place in a civil society. Violence and hatred cannot be allowed and it especially cannot be justified. “Antifa” is a product of identity politics and the unwillingness of many to have simple, peaceful dialogue. The restoration of our free, prosperous, and a united country will return when Americans decide that dialogue and open-minded thought are the appropriate means of discourse in a civil society.   

SportsDay: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott ‘not at all’ tempted to protest national anthem: Can’t take freedom for granted

Ever since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the National Anthem at NFL games, there has been a trend to follow suit in order to bring awareness to racial injustice. Many view this as the appropriate means of beginning the necessary discussion of police brutality and racial injustices. Critics believe this action disrespects our military veterans and our nation. It would be fair to argue that kneeling during the National Anthem is disrespectful to the millions of American veterans who have given their life fighting for the flag symbolic of America. It would be more appropriate to address these issues off the field since sports has been one of the few societal refugees from politics. The Dallas Cowboys’ star second-year quarterback Dak Prescott said, “I mean, it’s bigger than I think so many of us think…It’s just important for me to go out there, hand over my heart, represent our country and just be thankful and not take anything I’ve been given and my freedom for granted.” Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones  adds, “I just feel so strongly that the act of recognizing the flag is a salute to our country and all of the people that have sacrificed so that we can have the liberties we have.” These comments are starkly different than the vast majority of the comments ESPN and most sports outlets feature. Typically, ESPN discusses NFL players’ comments regarding Kaerpernick’s unemployment status as it relates to his protest and the protests of other political activist NFL players.

NFL ratings suffered tremendously this past season. Ratings were down between five and twelve percent, now some of this takes into account poor competition and the absence of major stars, due to injury or suspension. However, some believe the dip in ratings is caused by the protest of many veterans and conservatives over NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem, yet there is insufficient data to prove this is a large factor. One takeaway from this past NFL season is that sports have always been seen as a place of refuge from politics and a unifying occasion for Americans. This is not to say NFL players should have no role in political discourse. NFL players should utilize their influence to pursue a better society. However, most Americans understand that kneeling during the National Anthem is not the proper means to do so.

The Washington Times: Comey drafted announcement closing Hillary Clinton probe before key witnesses interviewed: Senators

Recently, Senators Charles Grassley and Lindsey Graham announced that they have reviewed partially redacted interview transcripts indicating that former FBI Director James Comey had begun drafting a statement regarding the closure of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. This is problematic given that he did so months prior to interviewing key witnesses. Comey had announced that no criminal charges would be sought against the former Democratic Presidential candidate because investigators failed to prove her intentions, although Comey did characterize her handling of national security information as “extremely careless.” The two Republican senators wrote to FBI Director Wray, “Conclusion first, fact-gathering second -that’s no way to run an investigation…The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that.” Comey testified before Congress that he took unusual steps in Clinton’s case because he believed “a June 2016 airport tarmac meeting between Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Mrs. Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, had undermined the Justice Department’s credibility to independently investigate the case.” The politicization of independent investigative agencies is a growing issue in modern American government and it requires the right people in charge.

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