We must all support media that are willing to question President-elect Donald Trump. With his election, “he said, he said” journalism is no longer useful. The president-elect persistently denies reality on a level this country has never seen, and we risk losing our own grasp on reality if our media outlets simply report what he says and does.
David Folenflick of NPR wrote, “His administration will require an unusually robust, muscular form of accountability reporting – tethered to fact and fairness, independent of political pressure.”
We must support the media that has already shown a willingness to hold the president-elect accountable, such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Wall Street Journal. We must demand more responsible journalism from the members of the media who fail to do their due diligence.
And we must help reporters exercise their First Amendment rights by subscribing to newspapers. In an era dominated by clicks, we must prove that substance and accountability matter.
Confessions of a newspaper addict
I am a newspaper addict. On out-of-town travels, I pick up the local paper, whether the Chicago Tribune or a small weekly at the coast. I read them from front to back, particularly enjoying the editorials and letters to the editor to get local opinion. When I represented five counties in the legislature, I subscribed to 12 newspapers to learn about the people in the district I represented.
The first thing I want all readers and conservatives to know is: 1) most papers are not liberal – in fact are very conservative; 2) there is no war on Christianity as every paper has a religion section; 3) local papers are doing well because they serve up local news – school board and council meetings, Little League and high school sports, school lunch menus, and recognitions of achievements of those in their community.
Last month I visited Rochester, Minnesota, my hometown, to visit my family grave site. The Rochester paper covered the same local news as then and, like all local papers, still do. Local sports, government meetings, hometown heroes, a smattering of state and national news, so I felt right at home. One local candidate for city council would have fit into our Orange county scene nicely. His pitch touted his work to limit guns, fund affordable housing, and pride in starting a drug court. An article on the high rate of mental illness in incarcerated inmates reflected our similar concerns here in North Carolina. A story that could have appeared in any southern paper had a local twist: The re-dedication of a Civil War Cemetery with participants dressed in period outfits – of Northern soldiers. And the patriotic words, “These are the guys who set the precedent for answering the nation’s call,” for the Union, that is. It showed the universal need to honor those who died on any side in any conflict.
One final opinion piece summed up life in America: the Friday night football game. The description and caption was “Anywhere USA.” It truly was, and thanks to our newspapers that bring it to us every day. I just pray they hang on until after I am gone so that my newspapers will continue to greet me at my front door to enjoy every morning, before they evaporate into the electronic ether.
Help vets fight pipeline
Last week, I left the comfort of home and drove 3,600 miles round trip to join more than 5,000 other U.S. military veterans at Standing Rock, North Dakota. We went to defend the rights of indigenous Native Americans in their ongoing struggle to stop the Dakota Access oil pipeline from destroying their water source, their sacred burial grounds and their way of life.
As a Vietnam veteran, I had taken an oath to defend the Constitution against enemies both foreign and domestic, so I could not sit idly by while water cannons, concussion grenades and other military weaponry was used against these prayerful and non-violent water protectors.
We were prepared to follow the lead of the tribal elders and non-violently absorb whatever blows the police, National Guard and Tiger/Swan private security forces might inflict, but our march to the bridge on Dec. 5 – in sub-freezing blizzard conditions – was peaceful, prayerful and powerful.
The U.S. Army Corps has finally agreed to conduct a limited Environmental Impact Study, but despite its withholding of permits to continue construction, the pipeline company has vowed to continue drilling. Like the water protectors and the veterans, I urge everyone to take a stand.
Douglas H. Ryder
Trump’s conning of America
The esteemed Time Magazine has just named Donald Trump as “Man of the Year.” Sorry, Time, but it got the title wrong. It should be “Con Artist of the Year.”
Small change to reduce emissions
I’ve begun trying to commit myself to being more environmentally friendly and lowering my carbon impact. I wanted to share with readers a recent trip to Charlotte I made to visit family over Thanksgiving where I opted to do just that by trying an ethanol blend of gasoline called E15.
After doing some research, I found that the blend would work fine in cars made after 2001 and that it contained just a slightly higher concentration of blended ethanol than regular gas. The extra bit of ethanol (about 5 percent) raises the octane level so my engine runs smoother and helps the gas burn a little cleaner, reducing emissions.
Given the uncertainty over our state’s and our country’s commitment toward climate change and environmental policies, I would like to encourage readers to look for ways in which they can do their own small part in reducing emissions. I’m headed to Charlotte again for Christmas and plan on doing my part.
Leader, pastor, teacher
Regarding the news story “Chapel Hill-Carrboro spiritual, civic leader Rev. Dr. J.R. Manley dies at 91” (CHN, Dec. 12):
I served as a volunteer with the Rev. Manley on the board that build First Baptist and Manley Estates, a 40-apartment complex for low-income elderly. His leadership was unique, sometimes quixotic but always focused on the teachings of Christ. He was a humanitarian who seized the opportunity to help when it presented itself. I enjoyed my repartee` with him about race relations. He taught me a lot.
Farewell my friend. I will sorely miss you.
Reverend Manley was a preacher's preacher. He was known and respected throughout North Carolina. I got to know him 30 years ago. It was when there was an effort to get the Martin Luther King Holiday to become an official state holiday. I needed some prominent ministers to accompany me down to the General Assembly building to lobby lawmakers. It was in the dead of winter, late December 1983 that I paid Reverend Manley a visit in Chapel Hill. He invited me into his church office and I put the case to him. When I made the appointment with his secretary little did I realize that he would know who I was. I mean at least, he knew my Daddy.
He agreed that a holiday honoring Dr. King was important for North Carolina and consented to lead my lobbying team. In the halls of the General Assembly he commanded a presence that I never could. Everyone seemed to know him. We were able to get the bill passed in 1984 with strong bipartisan support, and about once a year after that I would drive over to Chapel Hill to worship at his church. The man could preach. Boy, could he preach !
Rest in peace my Brother.
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