I first visited the White House Press room during the Reagan administration. Larry Speakes stood behind the podium during press briefings, if memory serves.
During that first visit I met a variety of D.C. reporting heavyweights. Sam Donaldson and Helen Thomas, were among the first I met and both later served as mentors.
Helen, finding out my family lineage invited me to her house where she made me Kibbeh (The Lebanese dish I grew up making with raw beef – but she made with raw lamb).
She also offered me unfiltered opinions on a variety of subjects including the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
It was another two years before I revisited the press room – this time while I worked on a television investigative report about illegal immigrants and their use on the rich thoroughbred horse farms across the country.
Three or four times during the Reagan administration and perhaps a dozen or so other times during the Bush administration I visited the White House press room as part of my duties as a reporter.
In the 90s when I moved to the D.C. area I got my congressional press pass and though I was working for America’s Most Wanted I had several occasions where I visited the press room and sat in on briefings.
I traveled with Presidents and presidential candidates during the 1984, 88, 92, 96 and 2000 elections.
I was always impressed by the mental acumen and experience of those who covered the President on a daily basis. At one time I added up the experience of those sitting in the front row of the press room during a briefing and was humbled by the thought that among the five people sitting in those seats there was more than 160 years of experience – most of it from Helen Thomas.
How can you hate me when you don’t even know me? That question, asked by local musician and civil rights activist Daryl Davis rings hard in the ears this Holiday season.
Which holiday season? Hanukkah and Christmas run concurrently this year. Ramadan was back in June and July while Mawlid is celebrated in December. Kwanzaa is also celebrated this month. And the big daddy Christmas is neigh upon us.
In an interview with The Sentinel this week incoming U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen said one of the greatest concerns facing the country is the “Fake News” currently spreading virally like a pestilence across the land – aided and abetted by a President-elect who acts like Typhoid Mary by tweeting factually inaccurate information gobbled up by the electorate as a sugar-freak gobbles twinkies.
Of all the asinine comments I’ve heard in the last few weeks, and there have been many, the topper is how the alt-right is defending Donald Trump’s endorsement by the American Nazi Party and the Klu Klux Klan.
“The Democrats are filled with Nazis and they started the Klan,” one GOP supporter told me after watching his daily dose of Faux News and reading his favorite tainted blogs.
Let me be clear – this is That type of column. It’s not that the mainstream media is ignoring “Your” facts. It is that “your facts” are merely opinions repeated ad nauseam without verification. We don’t print those because we print vetted facts.
ROCKVILLE – Rebecca Nitkin, a local defense attorney nationally known for her work on civil rights cases, died Thursday. She was 56.
According to her law partner Nancy Forrester, Nitkin suffered from internal bleeding and died during surgery at Holy Cross Hospital.
"Rebecca was passionate about everyone," said Forrester, who worked with Nitkin for more than 15 years. "I thought of her like a soul mate."
Forrester described Nitkin as a "ferocious fighter," particularly for veterans.
Nitkin spoke on national television repeatedly about civil rights issues.
When did we become so damn scared? When did fear overtake us? Was it on 9/11? Why is everyone so afraid of Donald Trump? Or, why is everyone so afraid of Hillary Clinton?
Fear is nothing I would use to describe either one of them.
It isn’t just the Presidential race which strikes fear in our hearts.
I think I’m done. Let me check. Yes. I definitely am done with people blaming the media for the ills of society.
The loud cry across the land of biased reporting and “Lame Stream” media falls on my ears like so much dust on the evening newspaper nobody buys any more.
Make no mistake there are a great many problems in journalism today. You know what? The audience is responsible for a lot of it.
Journalism is a capitalistic venture. We produce a product that we can sell. Most of the time it means honest weather reporting and cheesy sports reporting intertwined with assorted crime, fires with good flame video and a macabre conglomeration of celebrity gossip, biased political, science and entertainment news.
Bombings in New York, New Jersey and a stabbing elsewhere in the country this week sent the Chicken Little in all of us scurrying about once again - ranting the end of the world was coming, the sky was falling and terrorists would soon consume us all.
I have but one question: When do you get tired of being so scared?
If I ever was fearful terrorists would end us – and I can tell you I never have been convinced a bunch of yahoos in pickup trucks and IEDs could do anything more than instill fear – then all of us should be long over the spell of fear these sidebar characters cast.
Economics teaches us the more of a commodity we have, then usually the less valuable that commodity is to us – or as the economics professor used to say, “The demand curve slopes down.”
With that being said, if you couple that thought with the well-known maxim regarding opinions and their proliferation, then one must come to the logical and factual conclusion that opinions are worthless.
Edward Snowden didn’t get in trouble for releasing “opinions.” He got in trouble for being a whistleblower regarding hard data – real information – you know “facts.”