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Shaw: 'Our liberty depends on freedom of the press'

The new book by Katy Tur of NBC News reveals the harassment and taunting she received from Donald Trump and his supporters, when covering Trump's presidential campaign. Her story reminds us...--President Trump's treatment of the news media is des...

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The new book by Katy Tur of NBC News reveals the harassment and taunting she received from Donald Trump and his supporters, when covering Trump's presidential campaign. Her story reminds us...

  • President Trump's treatment of the news media is despicable and uncalled for. Trump, who is a pathological liar, has the nerve to say the media "don't like our country," and "are the enemy of the American people."

I dare Trump to say that to the families of the dozens of journalists who were killed covering the Vietnam War. I dare Trump to say it to the family of Daniel Pearl, who had his throat slit and head severed by Al-Qaeda terrorists. I dare Trump to say that to the family of Fargo's Roxana Saberi, who was unjustly imprisoned in Iran. I dare Trump to say that to the family of James Foley, who was beheaded by ISIS.
Trump's tactics are the oldest in the book. When you don't like what's being reported, blame the messenger. The job of the news media is to honestly report what our government leaders are doing. So, when Trump lies, praises "very fine" neo-Nazis, flip flops (Afghanistan, abortion, protecting Medicaid, advocating for the LGBT community, etc.) or attempts to block the Russia investigation, American citizens should know about it. Our job is to challenge and hold accountable our elected leaders. After all, they represent us.

When I was a student at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, we were told the most important thing was to be accurate. If we made one mistake in a story we received a "Medill F." I got one when writing an obituary story. I wrote the word "interned" instead of "interred." I learned my lesson the hard way, and never received another "Medill F."

I have always loved covering politicians. I've found almost all of them understand our role in covering them, and their role in dealing with us. As a reporter, I learned my opinions (assuming I had them) should be kept out of straight news stories. I've always looked for politicians who are accessible, and give strong opinions.

I got my start reporting on politicians as a graduate student in Washington D.C. covering the Congressional delegations from Texas and Illinois for radio stations in Houston and Chicago. My favorite politician was conservative Republican Texas Sen. John Tower. He was accessible and always gave great quotes. He was a leader of those against the controversial Panama Canal treaty. I was impressed with how Tower made himself available to me with a profound comment right after he lost the Panama Canal fight and was deeply disappointed.

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President Trump could do well to learn from people like John Tower or President Thomas Jefferson, who said, "Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press."

  • Got to run now. I need to catch a plane to Nambia.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV new director. He can be heard Fridays, 11 a.m. to noon, on WDAY AM radio. Email jimshawtv@gmail.com

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