Op/Ed: Guardians of The Fourth Estate and Exposing The Bad Actor

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Bad actors, a term that is evolving into mainstream vernacular, the bad actor, those who wear the "good mask" while performing illegal, undermining and shady deals that act to undermine their industry or more widespread the system, itself.

Some would say Trump is a bad actor. He undermines the judicial process with constant interference. He does and is even called out by his own Attorney General, William Barr, for his addictive and excessive use of social media to further his own maniacal and insatiable need to control the mind of the people.

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A.G. Sulzburger, the publisher of the New York Times, received the New England First Amendment Coalition's 2020 Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award, recently. His remarks which can be read here detail the demise of the free press and the evolution of "Fake news. Enemies of the people. Traitors."

In its simplest form The First Amendment protects several basic freedoms in the United States including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government. It was part of the Bill of Rights that was added to the Constitution on December 15, 1791.

Attempts at destroying First Amendment freedoms are not new. Freedom of Religion resulted in the Witch Hunts in early American history and the innocent were burned at the stake as heretics. Freedom of Speech time and time again in history has been challenged especially during times of great distress in America. Freedom of the press, from the beginning of the printing press has been the target of destruction as no dictator, tyrant or bad actor wants the truth exposed.

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Rights to Assemble – how many times have people of colored been beaten when attempting to peaceably gather or conversely how many times are hate groups allowed to actively and vocally gather and evangelize or radicalize the disenfranchised? Petition the government? Clearly the First Amendment in allowing citizens to petition the government for change didn't realize the layers that government would produce in order to keep change limited.

And still, for those who live in America, we live in a free society, where scathing criticisms of leadership have yet to result in jailed publishers unlike other nations who expression of free speech resulted in a bloodbath by fundamentalist.

We live in America and the only vein that can be squeezed to stop the flow of the truth to the people is the freedom of the press.

Journalists Face Death Every Day

Journalists covering the drug cartels, just five miles from the United States southern border from California to Texas face death each day for their efforts to expose the vast drug trade that is creating a civil war and fueling widespread lawlessness, anarchy, corruption, using war tactics and weaponry in their fight for dominance and control.

As we gear up for an election season, the personal attacks as political campaigns have become more than mud slinging attempts at disparaging the opponent's reputation and position, the political process has become a full-scale mud wrestling match.

A hostile takeover of the office of the presidency occurred in 2016, and in retrospect after years of examination, investigation and prosecutions, it is clear the President's team participated in actions which resulted in impeachment and his bad actor associates have been prosecuted and the majority are imprisoned.

Newsrooms across the nation are facing critical moments and challenges to fight the uprising of nefarious actors who have surfed the web and are suddenly "journalists." Digital popularity does not a journalist make. A Youtube sensation is not a journalist, an influencer is not a journalist.

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Journalism in its rawest form is more than reporting the news we are the guardians of the Fourth estate. The responsibility of the "Fourth Estate or fourth power refers to the press and news media both in explicit capacity of advocacy and implicit ability to frame political issues. Though it is not formally recognized as a part of a political system, it wields significant indirect social influence."

Bad actors are alive and well, hiding behind acceptable and contributing members of society, behind solid professions, holding normalized opinions, law abiding lifestyles and all the while lurking, hoping the destruction, the war they've waged and the day they've won will hold against the truth and those Guardians of the Fourth Estate that are ready to expose even those who deem themselves above the law and the most powerful.

In our modern, digitally controlled world, the members of the press, the guardians of the Fourth estate still have the responsibility to report factual news, to frame political issues, without the pull of vicious, vile attempts at advocacy through denigration and distorted, unrecognizable, dogma.

Op/Ed: The REAL Fake News

Guarding the Fourth Estate begins at home, locally, regionally, and nationally. Regaining the public's trust in news reporting translates to exposing your dinner guests instead of celebrating them. Following the story, the truth, no matter where it leads, to your house or another's, not letting it die or fade or allow friendships or professions to dictate decisions.


Janet Walker is the publisher of Haute-Lifestyle.com and author of the, Beltway Insider, a weekly review of the nations top stories. Her bio can be found here.

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