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Monday, Oct. 24, 2016

Is her bark worse than her bite?

Make absolutely sure you know whom you’re voting for

Barking is a dog’s natural means of communication. Dogs bark for many different reasons, such as to get your attention, or because they think it’s a friendly way to greet people or other animals. Most other times, though, it’s when another person or animal enters into an area your dog considers his or her territory – and as the threat gets closer, the barking gets louder.

Many have considered journalism to be like a “watchdog,” of sorts, for the American people. Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are well-known for their investigative journalism of the Watergate Hotel break-in, which proved the press could still hold the government accountable – and this ultimately led to President Nixon’s resignation. Then, there are investigative reporters that rely on old-fashioned shoe-leather to uncover everything from public corruption in city hall to exonerating death row inmates.

Then, there are the Internet publications, where investigative journalists don’t need to wait and be hired by the New York Times or the Washington Post to make a difference – they can speak directly to the American people, immediately.

For example, the Drudge Report uncovered the Monica Lewisnky affair with Bill Clinton in 1998. Project Veritas exposed, just this year, Planned Parenthood’s practice of selling body parts of babies it aborts on the open market.

While these examples of investigative journalism are well-known, they are also rare. Take the failure of journalists to investigate and hold Wall Street mortgage banks, as well as the U.S. government, accountable in the many years leading up to the financial debacle of 2008.

In that example, it wasn’t that the impending housing mortgage meltdown wasn’t plain to many journalists – it was – but the only ones that wrote about it didn’t work for the mainstream press.

As a result, the public was left in the dark, and powerless against what became a very complex and costly crisis.

As journalist Dean Starkman wrote his book, “The Watchdog That Didn’t Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism,” the costs of the mortgage crisis was “10 million Americans uprooted by foreclosure with even more still threatened, 23 million unemployed or underemployed, whole communities set back a generation, shocking bailouts for the perpetrators, political polarization here and instability abroad.”

This got me thinking. If hindsight is indeed 20/20, and if the best way to predict the future is to look at our past, might we again be left in the dark by the mainstream press today, with whom we are electing to the presidency?

In other words, is the mainstream press advocating for Hillary Clinton to be president? Many would not only say, “yes,” but “hell, yes!” In fact, journalists, reporters, news editors and television news anchors have contributed almost $400,000 to both presidential campaigns of Clinton and Trump, but a whopping 96 percent of those contributions were for Hillary Clinton.

Not sure the mainstream press is leaving Americans in the dark this election?

Well, how much mainstream press reporting do you see that explains that the number of those filing for unemployment benefits is at its highest in more than a year, and the number of layoffs planned this year is surging?

Or that many Americans simply can’t afford to continue paying their Obamacare premiums, and that insurance companies are now raising premiums on everyone by as much as 60 percent next year? Or that two-thirds of the government-funded health insurance exchanges have gone bankrupt?

How much mainstream reporting was there when Hillary Clinton said that our “religious beliefs” in our country have to be changed, even though our nation was founded by those seeking religious freedom? Or when she said that the policy of confiscating guns, as Australia did in 1996, is certainly “worth looking at,” even though crimes involving a firearm in Australia have now doubled?

How much mainstream reporting do you see questioning Hillary Clinton’s support for Planned Parenthood over the past 30 years, even though they have been chopping up and selling baby body parts, like a poultry processor, and yet she still wants the federal funding for them to continue?

How much mainstream reporting do you see, in the midst of the racial tensions in our country, that exposes the fact that since President Obama took office, black poverty is way up, and black employment is way down.

The objective answer to these questions is “none.” You don’t see the mainstream press reporting on these issues, just like we didn’t see the mainstream press reporting what we needed to know, in the years leading up to the financial debacle of 2008.

And I believe, and I trust you may be wondering, too, if we’re about to let history repeat itself … and let a sleeping dog lie, again.

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman and attorney. He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in The Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at louisavallone@mac.com.


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