Category: Opinion

Opinion

No, Journalists Are Not Soldiers or War Heroes

Michael Ottavio | United States

Superbowl 53, while not the most exciting of games, had many great commercials. The most absurd of these was the Tom-Hanks-narrated commercial the Washington Post put out. This 10-million-dollar commercial was essentially the Washington Post putting journalists on a diamond pedestal and making them out to be war heroes.

The Journalists Commercial

The commercial opens with a picture of troops making landfall on Normandy beach during WWII. It then tries to instill the idea in your mind that journalists are equal to war heroes and soldiers who risk their lives for our country. It continues as Tom Hanks states various vague situations while scenes of destruction flash.

This is a perfect example of fear-based reporting and advertising. Essentially, the Washington Post was saying, “Look at all the bad things you won’t see coming without us”.  Admittedly, without the media, you wouldn’t see everything happening in the world. However, this is just a reflection of what the mainstream media in our country has become. They prey on people’s anxieties for ratings in a race to see who can bring the most death and destruction to your TV screen.  They will do and say whatever they can to get ratings. Often, facts are not the prime focus of the ones doing the reporting.

People in the United States are obviously tired of the extremely biased and often not completely factual reporting that has become status quo in our country. While Trump has seemingly coined the term “fake news,” the outrage didn’t start with him. One Gallup poll has shown that trust in the media has been on the decline for over two decades now. This is mostly because of the polarizing effect that the media is having on our country.

A Media Split

As Accuracy in Media reports, over 300,000 Democrats and Republicans believe CNN is the most polarizing news outlet to date. This is likely because they don’t claim to have a bias, and one wouldn’t assume one from their name. While MSNBC holds the spot of the most liberal, and Fox News the most conservative, every media outlet in between now chooses a side. A quick look on any fact check site will show you that almost every single media outlet now has left or right-leaning bias. There are almost no outlets left that report facts without spin. For this reason, the American people on both sides of the aisle are increasingly distrusting the media.

Trust in Mass Media, by Party
Trust in Mass Media, by Party

 

The media is and always has been an industry, and companies within it exist to turn a profit. The reporters and journalists within these companies are generally there for a paycheck. This is not to say journalists and reporters do not enjoy their job, of course. However, just about all in the mainstream media would probably resign if they were no longer going to get paid.

Journalism is a fantastic field of work, and journalists often go to great lengths to get their stories and repot directly from certain locations. However, it is worth stating that a journalist is just working a job and receiving compensation accordingly. There is no mainstream journalist in the United States that voluntarily goes overseas to war-torn countries without compensation. These people live for the thrill and make living off of it. While I have the utmost appreciation and respect for those who go to dangerous places to do their reporting, they are far from the honorable war heroes the Washington Post claims.


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An Appeal to Centrism

At its core, public policy appeases the masses. The roots of democracy dig into public input. For that reason, I propose rooting for the candidates that rarely get much attention: Centrists. Not everyone belongs to the far-left or right. However, the candidates on the ballots are.

Moving further to the end

“Both sides can be seen as equally insane.” To many people, this statement rings true. For others, it shows how polarizing our politics can be. Now more than ever, people are voting the idea of centrism out. In fact, many moderate Republicans were replaced with further right Republicans in last years midterms. Unfortunately, media outlets constantly give the louder and more radical voices a microphone. As a result, voter turnout is on the rise, while Republican enthusiasm is down.

Victory for Centrists

The victory of Abigail Spanberger against Republican Incumbent Dave Brat, a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, is a prime example of a centrist candidate rising over a more extreme candidate. Spanberger, an ex-CIA agent, ran on a Centrist agenda in the rural 7th District of Virginia; a Republican stronghold. Her platform held many signature Democrat principles, but she opposed single-payer healthcare and vowed to vote against Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House. She was victorious by a margin of 2%. If she had been more progressive, she likely would not have won.

These results are not across the board. However, if fully embraced, more voters would be happy with the actual legislative policy being produced in Congress. Congressional approval is at a low point, and it has been there for a while now. If the middle ground was more represented and given more attention, there would be less extreme candidates winning elections. There would also fewer stalemates in the legislative process. Centrists would, not only enact more common sense measures but also bring more logical ideas to the floor.

How do we define Centrism?

However, it is without a doubt that Centrism is a subjective term. Your middle ground may be different than mine. Another argument from the New York Times quotes that Centrists are hostile and wish for the destruction of democracy. 

The future of politics with Centrism

The citizens of the United States want Congress to work together and do their jobs. In the House of Representatives almost every viewpoint in recognized-whether you are pro-life, pro-amnesty, or pro-single-payer. However, we need more reasonable and logical candidates to run on issues that everyone can agree on, while putting their personal issues aside. With direction, time, and accountability, Centrism would prosper and radical agendas would die in the primary ballot box.


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Amtrak Ran Slower Than an Average Marathon Runner

Ryan Lau | @agorisms

In an embarrassing loss for public transportation on Sunday evening, Amtrak’s Vermonter train ripped through a truck just north of Bellows Falls, Vermont. Immediately following the incident, the train screeched to a halt. With few updates, passengers sat in the dark for hours, figuratively and literally.

The Amtrak Vermonter Crash

Eventually, conductors were able to disseminate information to the passengers. Some of them had been en route for more than 12 hours, boarding the train in Washington, D.C.

According to local police and Amtrak officials, the truck had fallen off of the highway due to icy conditions. Then, it smashed through a guardrail and fell onto the tracks. Though police quickly arrived on the scene, they failed to notify Amtrak of the incident with enough time for them to apply the train’s brakes. As a result, the train plowed through the fallen truck, slicing it in half.

Luckily, the driver had already left the vehicle and there were no injuries. Passengers on the Vermonter reported feeling a “slight bump” and “standard train turbulence”, but none were entirely sure of the nature of the stop until much later.

After about three hours, school buses arrived and brought the disgruntled passengers to nearby Bellows Falls Station. There, they waited another two hours for a double-decker bus that would take them to their final destination.

Public Transportation Shortcomings

The events of Sunday clearly portray a number of inadequacies. The quasi-public corporation, of course, cannot control when trucks fall on the tracks. However, they could have easily communicated better with the police in order to prevent the accident in the first place. Doing so would have saved the many passengers a lot of time, and in some cases, money. As a result, several resorted to calling long-distance Ubers to combat the inefficiency of Amtrak.

This is far from the first time that this specific line has had major issues. Last November, the train halted in Massachusetts, causing a four-hour delay before buses finally arrived and departed. The train also has a track record of arriving late to several key stops.

Just one day prior, Amtrak faced another brutal delay. The Lake Shore Limited line, which runs from Chicago to Boston and New York, arrived an astonishing five hours late to Springfield, MA and later stops.

Amtrak Lake Shore Limited delays

Moreover, the amount of time between the crash and the transportation to Bellows Falls shows a lack of organization. In the end, three local school buses reported to the site of the crash. By the time they reached Bellows Falls Station, three and a half hours had passed since the crash.

Bellows Falls Station is roughly 23 miles north of nearby Brattleboro Station. The Amtrak train left there at 5:00. In the time it took to transport the passengers by train to Bellows Falls, around four hours, an average marathon runner could have made the trip. Presumably, the five-hour delays on the Lake Shore Limited line involved similar speeds, for a duration.

Mass transit exists to reduce the time between points A and B; the fact that Amtrak operated at less than a runner’s average speed is a stain on not only the company but what it claims to represent.


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Progressives Are Not for the Common Man

Jack Parkos | United States

Americans believe a lot about the political parties in America; that the right supports gun rights and the left does not, that conservatives support small government and liberals big government, for examples. We also hear that progressives stand for the working and middle class while the right is elitist. However, it’s not as easy as that to explain.

Progressives: Not for the Common Man

Do progressives really support the working class? It may appear so, as they boast with other populists about supporting the common man. Their policies, on the other hand, do not always represent this. Free healthcare and college may seem to be for the common person until he or she realizes that these policies only raise taxes and prices, which overwhelmingly hurts the middle class.

Furthermore, this break from expectation is evident in immigration policy. When figures on the right criticize illegal immigration, many progressives respond by saying how it brings cheap labor. But this directly hurts the blue collar worker. During his campaign, Trump made it a key point in his election that these policies hurt African-Americans, Hispanics, and the working class as a whole. Why don’t the so-called pro-working class left agree? It is harder for the uneducated to find work if illegal immigrants who work for less than minimum wage come into the country. It thus would appear logical for progressives to support stronger border security.

In fact, this logic used to hold true in the Democratic Party, which used to support strong borders. In a State of the Union address, Bill Clinton clearly stated the following:

“We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.”

The party position has changed drastically in recent years. During this time, the party became more focused on social equality.

Further Hypocrisy

Progressive hypocrisy also applies to the movement’s general opinions towards Apple. The massive tech company has seemingly taken over society, but Apple’s manufacturing plants in China have some of the poorest conditions in the world. The wages are terrible, but you don’t hear progressive outrage to boycott Apple. Instead, many will boycott Chik-Fil-A because its owners believe in traditional marriage.

There’s a reason more progressives aren’t boycotting Apple: the company has secured their futures. Tucker Carlson compares it to buying indulgences. Apple can commit their sins, but won’t face punishment because of their liberal CEO and board members. Nobody is mad that Facebooks spies on us and collects data because Mark Zuckerberg is not a fan of Trump and bans right-wing pages.

Many progressives often criticize libertarians for being only for “the rich.” Given this was true, why do the 1% vote Democratic or Republican? Libertarians don’t want to tax the middle class out of oblivion. Libertarians don’t want to harm small businesses with regulations they do not have the ability to follow. Furthermore, they never advocate for taxing the people who pay salaries for workers. The major parties, particularly not the progressive left, simply do not profess these beneficial policies.

The left cares little about the middle class, working class, or even the upper-middle class. Rather, they often are advocating for a utopia of government overreach that will hurt the common man.


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Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory

Jack Shields | United States

Donald Trump did not win the 2016 election. This isn’t some article telling you about how Russia rigged the election. I recognize that Trump became President fair and square, winning 304 electoral votes. But Trump did not win the election so much as Hillary Clinton lost the election. Trump got lucky and won the Republican primary because he was the most unique candidate in the field of 17. While campaigning, Trump would say or do things that would completely destroy any other candidate’s chance of victory. From making fun of John McCain for being captured in Vietnam to a tape being leaked of him bragging about sexually assaulting women, it seemed impossible for him to become the 45th President of the United States. Yet Hillary Clinton was so unappealing, so corrupt, and so strangely unable to visit the mysterious lands of Wisconsin, that Trump was able to win the election in spite of himself.

With Trump’s approval ratings at historic lows, no wall built, and the Blue Wave in the 2018 midterms, you would think that the Democrats would have learned their lessons from the 2016 election and would be preparing for their easy path to the White House in 2020. But the Democrats have learned all the wrong lessons from both their defeat in 2016 and their victory in 2018. And it is because of this that they are set to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and ensure the reelection of President Trump.

Learning the Wrong Lessons

Coming away from the last two elections, the Democrats believed that they needed to become more radical. To them, Hillary didn’t lose because she was unlikable and corrupt. She lost because she was moderate. This mindset has caused the party to go sprinting as far left as they can. Presidential candidate Kamala Harris has been quoted as saying she wants to do away with private health insurance. Another candidate, Elizabeth Warren, has proposed a wealth tax. New York recently legalized late term abortions, and the Democratic Virginia Governor is supporting infanticide as a bill is proposed legalizing late term abortions in his state. And many are supporting Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez’s Green New Deal, which is Marxism with a hint of environmentalism. This is the exact opposite lesson than the one Democrats should learn. Americans may hate Trump, but this does not mean they love socialism. Most people do not like socialism. Polls show that most Americans do not support late term abortions. And the results of the 2018 Blue Wave consisted of suburban voters leaving the Republicans for moderate Democrats, not radicals. The American people want a moderate, not a Harris, not a Warren, and certainly not a Sanders. If they have the choice of Socialism or Trump, they will do just as they did with Clinton in 2016 and re-elect him. As Ben Shapiro said on his show, “All [the Democrats] had to do was not be crazy, and they can’t do it.”

This radicalism has resulted in former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz seriously considering running as an independent. An independent has a serious chance of performing at the level Ross Perot did in 1992, costing President George H. W. Bush his reelection with the unpopularity of both parties. But as seen in the 2000 election with the defeat of Vice President Gore, a third party candidate would only need about 3% of the vote to derail a candidate. If the Democrats picked a candidate perceived as a moderate such as Beto O’Rourke or Joe Biden and pitched the candidate as a return to normalcy, they’d be set to cruise to the White House. But instead, they seem hell bent on alienating moderates and giving Trump a second term.

The next mistake the Democrats have made is their embrace of intersectionality. The idea that what victim groups you fall into determines how important your opinion is has consumed the Democratic base. Just recently, a Women’s March in San Francisco was canceled due to the fact that too many of the participants are white. Your skin color or gender is now one of the most important qualities in determining if you will be the Democratic nominee. The best example of this is Beto O’Rourke. I’m not big on giving the Democrats advice; I want them to lose. But if I was a Democrat, I’d want Beto to be the candidate. He ran a close campaign as a Democrat in Texas, and now the GOP is worried about losing the state in 2020. He would easily defeat Trump with suburban voters turning on the Republican party. But they won’t do that. The Democrats are already criticizing Beto for being a white male. The base will not let a non-intersectional candidate win. While that might work in a primary, it will not win you the general. As long as the media push Kamala Harris because she is the intersectional candidate, Trump’s chances get better every day. With Democrats caring about skin color and gender so much that they will throw away their best chance at flipping Texas for a Senator who has accomplished nothing in the Senate and jump-started her career by sleeping with a 60-year-old married man simply because she is black and female, get prepared for four more years of Trump.

2020 should be a blowout for the Democrats. Come January 20, 2021, we should be talking about the brutal beating Trump suffered and how the parties have realigned in favor of the Democrats with Texas and Georgia now officially going blue. All that needs to happen is for Democrats to pick a moderate and focus on Trump’s behavior. But they just can’t help themselves. Democrats are allowing their party to be consumed by socialism and the religion of Intersectionality. It is looking more and more like when 2021 comes, we will be talking about how once more the Democrats managed to find a way to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.


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