The Entrenchment of “Opinion Journalism”
Dear Editor: With the entrenchment of “opinion journalism” becoming the norm many wonder if they can get to the truth of things in what they see and read.
Indeed it does seem that the media not only has a bias and exercises it but intentionally distorts truth. It is an age-old position of the Church that man is meant to live in society and finds his fulfillment and salvation therein. Social communication that heeds the moral order of sincerity and objective truth is an integral part of that life.
Several documents from the Second Vatican Council presciently attempted to address this view. The conciliar document “On Social Communication” speaks of the need and right of men to have access to truthful information so as to form morally sound opinions with respect to their own good and the common good.
A second document “Communion et Progressio” asserts that the Church sees the media as “a gift of God” with “a providential design” so as to unite men in brotherhood. The same document asserts that “a communication must state the truth.” How far are we removed from this ideal with the proliferation of “opinion news.”
I met Sister Camille D’Arienzo, RSM, a few years back (I am a follower of her commentary on WINS). We spoke briefly and she said, “You know, a lot of people don’t agree with the things I say.” I replied, “I know, Sister Camille, but it’s not so much what you say as it is the way you say it.”
The media today needs more of her style of “saying the news” — simple, succinct, declaring in plainspeak her view. But the media today is beholden to powerful interests with agendas so the news we get is not truthful news but as some put it “fake news.”
The idea of an informed society free to exchange opinions will further continue to degenerate into a disorderly hodge-podge of tribal camps teeming with violence and animosity unless our notion of what a free press should be is rescued for the common good.
Raymond F. Roberts
This Country Remains Bitterly Divided
Dear Editor: I have been voting for 58 years of my life, yet I’ve never witnessed such vitriol. This transition of power is nothing to be proud of in any regard.
The country remains bitterly divided. Friends and families are more estranged than ever before. And the world from which we get our news is equally divided, either leaning to the left or to the right.
There is, as they say, lots of blame to go around. We are holding grudges against each other, simply because we do not agree on the merits of one policy or another. Violence has replaced debate.
I am of an age where I can remember wearing a candidate’s lapel pin with no fear of reprisals. I own a red baseball cap with the logo of a charity which I refrain from wearing for fear of attack. This is what it has come to for me. Forgive me for not being optimistic going forward. I worry for the country I love.
The Election Results Have Been Verified and Certified
Dear Editor: In his letter to the editor (“No Confidence in this Presidential Election,” Jan. 16), Jim Hopkins suggests that “there is little to no confidence in this last presidential election,” and that people should “not accept results that cannot be verified.”
But those results were verified, and certified, by every state, and the Trump campaign’s legal challenges to the election results were rejected by courts all over the country, including the Supreme Court.
In short, the claims of election fraud — which center around areas where the majority of voters are African-American — are simply a thinly-veiled attempt to disenfranchise those voters.
The repeated, baseless claims that the election was somehow stolen from Donald Trump, championed by Trump and his enablers, led to the armed insurrection on our nation’s Capitol on January 6, in which five people, including a police officer, died.
Laura T. Ross
No Evidence of Widespread Fraud of any Kind
Dear Editor: The lack of confidence in this year’s election began months before the election was held (“No Confidence in this Presidential Election,” Readers’ Forum, Jan. 16). It started with the statement, “If I don’t win this election, it will be because the election was rigged.”
Conversely, I would suppose that one could say, “If I do win, the election will be valid.” Actually, I’ve seen little to suggest that any Republican and Conservative winners of congressional seats think it was a rigged election.
The transparent attempt to cripple the US Postal Service in order to raise questions about mail-in ballots in a society grappling with the safety of voting in person during a pandemic was obviously intended to validate those doubts (by a man who votes by absentee ballot).
This election has received more oversight and validation than any in recent history. Courts (some of them manned by the appointments of President Trump), States’ Attorneys General, and dedicated election workers of both parties have been part of two months of recounting and auditing of the results. They found no evidence of widespread fraud of any kind.
I have been a voter for 53 years. I’ve cast my vote on “both sides of the aisle” over that time, and have never believed that the candidates for whom I voted were all perfect, or that I couldn’t disagree with them.
President Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 by 3,000,000 votes, and was elected by a vote of the Electoral College. (Now, that’s a place to start election reform.) Last November, he lost by 7,000,000 votes.
Losing is never enjoyable, and is often devastating. It is, however, part of any competitive activity engaged in by humans. We walk away from loss with dignity and acceptance, or we don’t.
The Future Will Be Better Than the Past
Dear Editor: The Tablet’s editorial “Where Does the Country Go From Here?” (Jan. 16) stated: “What was demonstrated was not how Americans act” referring to the riots at our nation’s Capitol.
Sadly, I disagree. Americans acted this way during the Reconstruction period following the American Civil War and as recently as during the 1960s, when many of our fellow Americans were fighting for their civil rights.
With God’s help, the future will be better than the past.
Our Newly Elected President Joseph Biden
Dear Editor: It is a new day for our nation with our newly elected President Biden who has hopes and dreams for America (“An Inauguration Unlike Any Other,” Jan. 23). The same is true for Vice President Kamala Harris who is the first Afro-American woman in that position and who believes anything is possible. This is truly a time of change for the better.
President Biden, our 46th president, is our second Catholic president. He has called for national unity and an end to racial strife and is willing to address climate change.
President Biden will have a lot on his plate in his first 100 days. There is the promise to give the COVID-19 vaccine to millions of Americans and immigrants and hopes to end this pandemic and to get millions back to work. He also wishes to end racial strife.
At 78 years old, unlike most men who are retired, he is still working and hopes to repair America and to make a difference. I am 71 years old and still working and trying to make a difference.
I am reminded of Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “We must all live together as brothers or else all perish as fools.” Maybe we now have a leader that truly understands that.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Moving Humanity Closer to the Kingdom of God
Dear Editor: In reference to Anthony M. DeVito’s letter (“Biden Is Trying to Make Abortion a Non-issue,” Readers’ Forum, Jan. 23), Catholic theology teaches that the essence of an individual precedes his existence.
From the moment of conception, probably before, God intends each human being to move all humanity to move closer to the Kingdom of God. The responsibility of every human being is to match the meaning he/she gives to his/her life with the one God intended for him/her. Sometimes it takes a lifetime. It is, in my opinion, why abortion is such an egregious sin.
But just as egregious is the fact that we, as a eucharistic community, are called upon to give every human being an opportunity to discover the meaning God intended for his/her life. That means having a life free of oppression, with a good education, health care, and a safe environment. Instead we have replaced the value of a human life with other priorities such as politics, profit margins, and a lust for power.
So before we self-righteously judge other human beings such as President Joe Biden, please, let’s remove the logs from our eyes.
Stephen J. Trani