Unbiased news hard to find, right or left
In Geoff Caldwell's column (Globe, Sept. 13) he comments on the American news media. I'm not sure if he was complaining about biased reporting, the use of anonymous sources, or the timing of the story. I will acknowledge that the appearance of unbiased news coverage by the major news sources has been lost. I remember the day it happened. It was the night that Walter Cronkite in 1968 said, "(It) seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate." He wasn't wrong.
The Atlantic states on its website, "... the knowledge we have about the world is partial and provisional and subject to analysis, scrutiny and revision." Wikipedia identifies The Atlantic as an American magazine and multi-platform publisher, offering literary and cultural commentary. I wouldn't label it mainstream.
Let's look at the other side of the coin. OANN, the current darling of President Donald Trump's administration, calls itself credible news and says it delivers unbiased substantive national and international news 24/7. OANN is the news organization that labeled 75-year-old Martin Gugino an antifa provocateur, suggesting he was trying to disrupt Buffalo Police communications equipment with a capture scanner. Remember Gugino? Buffalo police pushed him down and his head hit the pavement hard. We saw him lying on the ground bleeding from his ear as the police continued to walk past him. Wikipedia labels OANN a "far-right" cable channel. I wouldn't use The Atlantic or OANN as my go-to news source anymore than I would use Caldwell's column in that way.
Anonymous sources have always been an item of contention. A reporter needs to have confidential sources to get the news that doesn't want to be told. Reporters are often protected from revealing their sources. Why would that be? The first thing that comes to mind is intimidation. If you have an issue that is hard to defend then you shoot the messenger, interfere with their careers, and publicly shame them with rumor and innuendo. If you can attack the character of the source then the story takes a backseat. Would there be any reason that the administration would do anything like that? I can't think of an example of when it didn't happen. Ask the Vindman brothers, Gen. Jim Mattis, Gen. John Kelly and countless others.
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein said almost 200 of their Watergate stories used anonymous sources. Should we have just taken President Richard Nixon's word, "I am not a crook!"?
Electoral College failure worsens our divisions
The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has now set the stage for another U.S. Supreme Court nominee by President Donald J. Trump. A president who lost the vote of the people by 2.8 million voters will nominate a third lifetime appointment to the nation's highest court. A president many feel was elected illegitimately with the help of a foreign government will determine the definition of equality and justice for decades to follow. There is something gut wrenching and wrong for a president who has shown an absolute contempt for the courts and justice his entire life to be in such a position.
Unfortunately that isn't the whole story. The selection of another president who failed to win the popular vote occurred in 2000. Without the Supreme Court's intervention in that election, a second term for President George W. Bush that resulted in the appointments and confirmation of Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito would not have happened. Five of the nine Justices will be appointed by presidents rejected by the majority of U.S. voters.
Much has been said about the political divisions that we are now experiencing. The loss of confidence in our government is real and accelerating. Having the majority of Supreme Court Justices selected by minority presidents is not conducive to unity.
How could this happen? The Electoral College. An outdated and undemocratic relic of another time has twice in recent elections installed a president who has failed to receive the majority of the votes of America.
The Electoral College has failed. Pass a constitutional amendment to let voters select our presidents by majority vote. All votes should be counted equally.
Professional police deserve our support
First and foremost, the Joplin city manager and chief of police have my deep gratitude and respect for allowing me to personally observe any and all police events during the Friday police shift from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m. while riding with a patrol officer. I now have a much deeper and broader understanding of the challenges facing law enforcement officers than ever before, far better that just reading media accounts. Their willingness to allow me to gain new insights upholds the highest traditions of community policing and transparency. All residents of Joplin should be grateful for providing that opportunity.
Next, to the patrol officer: They picked the right man to engage with me. His eight-year tour as a U.S. Marine, five years in law enforcement, college degree, marriage with two children, maturity and professionalism are all hoped for characteristics of any law enforcement officer. He was also totally professional and open with me, answering any and all questions (a lot of them for sure) as honestly as he could possibly answer them. He held nothing back, did not attempt to either overstate or understate his views on any issue I raised. In short, he was totally honest with me.
No doubt in my mind, he is one of Joplin's (and Missouri's) finest in his role as a law enforcement officer. He deserves close attention and support as we all strive to navigate the perils and challenges of our chaotic society today.
KCU students make contribution to care
In 2017, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences started the first medical school in our area by opening its second campus in Joplin. As a health care provider in the Four-State Area, I believed this was a great addition to our local medical community and would attract young doctors to our area. I also knew that these medical students would benefit from working closely with the knowledgeable and dedicated professionals in Freeman Health System and Mercy Hospital Joplin, providing them with valuable experiences for their future careers.
Little did I realize at the time what a positive impact these students would have. I was recently a patient at Freeman in Joplin, and during my stay, I observed the impressive contribution these students are already making to patient care. Of course, they are still learning, but their presence provides immediate benefits for local patients. Because our hospitals have become places of learning, doctors are focused on mentoring their students while caring for their patients. In turn, the students are focused on expanding their own knowledge and providing the best individualized patient care possible as they learn.
I truly appreciate our area doctors, nurses, administrators and hospital staff for their dedication to training these medical students, as well as all of those who worked tirelessly to make this local medical school program possible. Your investment of time and energy is ensuring quality medical care now and a legacy for the future.
Race remains a problem in the country today
Race: Let's talk about it. This was the idea of a friend who, aware of his racist thoughts, decided to confront himself. His effort has evolved into a Zoom group of three Black men and three white men from Pittsburg, Kansas, and Joplin meeting now for 10 weeks.
If I were to describe their life situations, their employment and education, their marital and family status, and the quality of home lives of these men, you would not be able to tell me who is Black and who is white. However, if you were to compare life experiences — things that have happened — you would have no problem picking who is Black and who is white.
Therein lies the problem. A Black person can do all the right things and still experience the taunts, criticisms, threats and mistreatment that is racism in America today. These accomplished Black men have been needlessly detained by police when there was no infraction of the law. They have been called racist names. They have been passed over for job promotions when less-qualified persons were advanced. They have had weapons fired in their direction.
Systemic racism is real. This doesn't mean, kind reader, that you are a racist. It does mean that racism is endemic in our culture, that we haven't come as far as needed and that we have more work to do to make the United States a place where truly "all men are created equal."