While I am blessed to currently serve in the Alabama House of Representatives, there are times I sense the old journalist within rising to the surface. Having spent three decades in the profession, completely abandoning the ink coursing through my veins can prove difficult.
There is currently a critical issue we are witnessing at the national level, yet no one in the media has an interest in drawing attention to the situation. There is an important presidential election upon us and we have yet to seriously discuss the major issues at hand.
Let me begin by saying this. A journalist’s job is to conduct the research and interviews involved in any given story, present the information in an impartial manner and make the data as easily digestible as possible. From this point, the viewer or reader should have the right to determine for himself how to interpret the information presented. But this is no longer what we have in America. We have competing networks in CNN and Fox News who want to present the “news’’ from a political party perspective while the major networks appear to have an agenda to lean as left as possible.
With this in mind, here is our current dilemma, as I see it. The national media has abandoned its duty to inform and report what it most important as the presidential election nears. Instead of talking about the issues which will have an impact on our daily lives and the direction our nation could take for years to come, the national media is obsessed with attacking the president at every turn.
Need we be reminded every day the president has hosted another massive public event with few in the crowd wearing a facemask? Yes, we know there are still steps we can take to lessen the chance of contracting the virus, but do we need the national media opening each newscast with this reminder?
What I would prefer to see is a news anchor or news executive with the courage to discuss the issues now before us. Press each candidate to lay out his agenda for our nation over the next four years. Whether one likes the current president’s performance or not, at least we have a track record to review to see where the next four years might take us.
When it comes to Democratic nominee Joe Biden, we still know very little regarding his stance on the issues. He has remained non-committal. He is angered the president has moved to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, yet Biden will not bury the notion he would attempt to stack the court with additional liberal justices should he be elected.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Biden has been able to hide behind his mask (literally) and avoid any of the tough questions. The presidential debate was an embarrassment. Regardless of one’s political affiliation or ideology, I believe the American voter is entitled to hear an exchange of ideas between the candidates. Is it asking too much for the candidates to present their case in a professional and respectful manner in order that those heading to the polls can cast an informed vote? Not to me.
Should Biden prove successful in his mission to win the presidency, I think it would be fair to say no other president has had an easier road to the White House. He has been able to use the pandemic to avoid most public appearances. The Democratic Party power structure has burdened him with a candidate who is even more liberal than he, so she has managed to draw attention away from the name at the top of the ticket. These circumstances, coupled with a news media who has chosen to focus more attention on the president’s failure to wear a mask and his regular poor choice of words than what voters would like to know about the candidates, might well allow Biden to slide into the Oval Office with less resistance than any who have come before.
President Trump’s administration is what it is. There are those who adore his leadership style while others find it repulsive. But at least we know who he is and what his second-term agenda might include. With Biden, we know so little. And who do we blame for this lack of information? We can point the finger at Joe Biden for his unwillingness to be forthcoming and a national news media which is hell bent on showing the current president the door.
State Representative Tracy Estes is a Republican representing House District 17, which includes Marion, Lamar and Winston Counties