Editorial: What is the basis of a free society? George Washington said, “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.” Benjamin Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” John Adams said, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.” A Tulsa World advertisement stated, “…it is by freedom of speech and of the press that we rectify what is wrong, expose the devices of mercenary men and bring the conduct of our public servants to the test of public scrutiny…”
So one can conclude that the republic’s underpinning is a moral society to the Founding Fathers and it is freedom of the press to the Tulsa World.
I’d propose that those three gentlemen would in turn propose that deliberately printing untruths, half-truths and potential truths as hard news demonstrates immorality and undermines society while the Tulsa World demonstrates its proclamation that it is, in doing so, supporting and saving civil society.
Look at a typical Tulsa World (Sunday 12/17/17) as an illustration. The Associated Press/Tulsa World “reported” that the Republicans will muscle through Congress a tax bill which lowers taxes on the richest Americans and benefits to others would be smaller but President Trump is trying to sell it as a help to the middle class. (Half-truth) Another article highlights the tax bill primarily as a tax cut for the rich (Half-truth). Another article headlines that Trump lies about Russian hacking (Untruth) and equates Russian espionage with a deliberate attempt to defeat Hillary Clinton (Untruth), also equating Trump denials that the Russians helped him get elected with an outright and unprecedented lie. (At best, unverified) The same article discusses Trump dismissing all critical coverage as fake news, ignoring the overwhelming amount of negative, inaccurate presidential press coverage to which this nation has been subjected.
Even accepting the fact that the mostly anti-Trump Opinion section is legitimate, admitted total free speech, the Tulsa World still equates editorialized reporting (and eliminating “the rest of the story”) as a fundamental bedrock of American freedom.
Is the Tulsa World saying morality be dammed or is it saying it is, by its sacred position, above reproach.
About the author: James A. Mazzei is president of the Oklahoma Opportunity Project and a former journalist. Add you comments below.