anne mikolay 2012 120There is, perhaps, no greater example of the disparity in media coverage and public reception thereof than the recent Trump classified information scandal.

Earlier this week, when the Washington Post reported that President Trump shared highly classified information with the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador during their White House visit, conflicting news reports immediately hit the internet. Fox News quickly declared the revelation “fake news”. White House representatives denied President Trump disclosed sensitive information and claimed that at no time did the president reveal any military information not already publicly known. And then the president threw fuel on the fire by admitting he shared information with the Russian dignitaries and had every right to do so. Despite his admission, Trump supporters contend the president is unfairly criticized and justify their position by pointing out Hillary Clinton's past transgressions. Opponents, on the other hand, regard Trump's disclosure of classified information as a threat to national security.

Satirists may call this debacle a comedy of errors, but there's nothing humorous about the widespread incompetence that has infected our society. The media (on both sides of the fence) blames the White House for this contentious state of affairs without accepting their own culpability. Journalists and talking heads taint their news with personal opinion and stir conflict. What ever happened to straight journalism, the who, what, when, where, how of events, the undisputed facts, the fair reporting of the news of the day? Kellyanne Conway may be fond of “alternative facts”, but there's no such thing, and the media should stop pretending there is. Personally, I don't want to hear what Sean Hannity has to say, nor do I care what Stephen Colbert thinks. As an American, I want the pure facts, not the “world according to ….”  You can fill in the blank; there are enough talking heads on television to go around.

That's part of the problem. Talking heads voice their opinion and tell people what to think; people, in turn, misconstrue such opinion as news, perpetuating those “alternative facts”. Nowadays, much of the news is filtered through specific political agendas; the media slants their reporting to promote specific political ideologies and preferred candidates. Such “reporting” creates division. Opinion is not news! Facts are not open to interpretation! Journalists, tell us what the White House is doing, not what you think about it.

Fact: President Donald Trump, by his own admittance, revealed classified information to the Russians. Personal opinion doesn't matter here. As they say, it is what it is.