Question 1: Sounds good but isn’t

On its surface, referendum question #1 sounds terrific.  Require minimum number of registered nurses per patient in Massachusetts hospitals. Why wouldn’t that be better for patients?  Well, not so fast.  Here are some things to think about.

Rigid ratios do not take into consideration the ongoing assessment of a patient’s needs, which may change not only from shift to shift but from hour to hour. Hospitals –  the  doctors, nurses, and others responsible for patient care – need the flexibility to assign staff to the areas where they are most needed when they are most needed.

Rigid ratios are bad for patient care, arbitrary, and financially irresponsible. A recent Mass. Health Policy Commission study of projected costs if this referendum passes is $900 million, which gets passed on to all of us in higher premiums. (Another study puts the cost at $1.3 billion, while the Mass. Nurses Association claims it is a fraction of that.)  But increased costs may be less important than the sense that mandating a ratio is a Draconian substitute for good hospital management, bolstered by ongoing input from nurses and other staff.  Rigidly imposed staffing ratios could force hospitals to close wards and move patients in order to meet an arbitrary standard, actually reducing patient care.

Imagine it’s three a.m.  Patients on a hospital floor are generally asleep.  Several miles away, there’s a train crash, and ambulances are roaring toward this hospital’s emergency room with survivors. Physicians and administrators would need to pull nurses from all over the hospital to respond to the crisis or have to turn ambulances away. If this referendum passes, the hospital could face a civil penalty of up to $25,000 per violation of the staffing pattern formula mandated by Question 1.  There would be an additional $25,000 per day if the hospital continues the practice after being notified of an infraction by the Attorney General. This is nuts!

Mere numbers don’t ensure the best care for patients.  What also counts are nurses’ and doctors’ education, experience, skills and empathy, availability of necessary resources and the effectiveness of communications among different practitioners.  Strict ratios have been tried in California and haven’t fulfilled their promise of improved care. 

The bottom line is that complex medical care should not be decided at the ballot box.  A No vote is the way to go on Question One.

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Kavanaugh nomination taps primordial feelings

The U.S. Supreme Court cafeteria on Friday was surprisingly quiet, as if noontime eaters were subdued by the Brett Kavanaugh nomination drama playing out at the Senate Judiciary Committee. Outside on the steps of the august building, hundreds of protesters listened to speeches by women senators urging Kavanaugh be rejected. The peaceful but passionate demonstrators waved signs proclaiming  “Stop Kavanaugh,” “Believe in Women,” and “Kava (insert picture) nope.”  In the warm autumn sun they chanted “Whose court? Our court!” and “wait till November.”

We’re in the grip of a momentous decision that, for the next half century, will affect the lives of all Americans, especially of women.  Not surprisingly then, a majority of Jet Blue passengers going from Boston to D.C.  on Thursday morning were glued to the televised Christine Blasey Ford testimony on the seat-back monitors in front of them.  As I listened to her riveting testimony on CBS,  the man next to me was watching on Fox.  We didn’t share reactions. My eyes were misting as she described her remembered experience.

Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony struck a particularly responsive chord when she said, “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two . . . I was underneath one of them while the two laughed.”  This comment reached deep into the heart of any woman who has ever suffered humiliation from two misogynous men having a sneering and callous laugh at her expense, with or without sexual assault.  Not surprisingly, calls to rape crisis centers have doubled in the wake of Blasey Ford’s testimony.

This situation is so much more than “he said, she said,” and reams have been written about Blasey Ford’s unsophisticated authenticity and Kavanaugh’s duplicitous inconsistencies.  Kavanaugh denies ever attending gatherings like that described by Blasey Ford or others described by Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez, who also claims grossly inappropriate sexual behavior by the nominee.  Numerous writers have cited instances of his apparent lying about his heavy drinking in high school and college, his receipt in 2003 of stolen Democrats’ emails, the meaning of language used in his high school year book. The issue goes beyond whether Kavanaugh drank too much or illegally in his youth and committed sexual assaults to whether he lied under oath and covered up.

What’s equally disturbing about Kavanaugh’s suitability for lifetime tenure on the Supreme Court is the lack of judicial temperament he displayed during his Friday return to the Judiciary Committee. While I understand the stress these accusations have put on  his family and him, he came across as a well coached snorting cauldron of partisan rage.  He railed against the Democrats and called the gathering accusations an expression of Hillary Clinton’s revenge.  Really? Whatever his acuity as a legal scholar, we can rightly question his ability to sit on the nation’s highest court as an independent and fair-minded justice.

I’m not saying that every woman who alleges sexual assault is automatically right, but her allegations should be treated seriously.  The Republican majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee gave lip service to this while making clear that virtually nothing would deter them from approving Kavanaugh. Even Arizona Senator Jeff Flake admits his temporary profile in courage – making his upcoming floor vote contingent upon an FBI investigation – would never have happened if he were facing reelection.  The eventual fate of the nomination probably now rests with a much beleaguered FBI doing a responsible investigation. Still, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said today there will be a vote by the end of this week. As former FBI director James Comey said, “If truth were the only goal, there would be no clock.”

Kavanaugh was right about one thing, that the confirmation process has been “a national disgrace.”  But not for the reasons he suggests.  The advice and counsel role of the Senate has been hijacked for raw partisan reasons, with no openness to new information bearing on the nominee’s suitability.  Those who had refused even to meet with Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland have been hell-bent to rush through Kavanaugh irrespective of the warning lights.

At stake are decades of decisions on wide-ranging issues, and no promise of the fair application of longstanding judicial principles. It’s sobering to consider that, even if Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins rise to the occasion, and Democrats from red states hold firm – and even if the Democrats take the Senate in November – the current Senate could ram through a new Supreme Court nominee like right-to-life zealot Amy Barrett in a lame duck session. To all those who stayed home in 2016, or refused to support Hillary Clinton because she was a deeply flawed candidate, this is a reminder that elections have consequences.

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Nancy Pelosi is not the problem

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is a lightning rod for antipathy to the Democratic Party. And she’s a great fundraising opportunity for Republicans, who are using her possible restoration as Speaker to rally the GOP to keep the House, just as they used Ted Kennedy as a fundraising bogeyman years ago.  But Republicans aren’t the only ones critical of Pelosi.

Many younger Democrats, chafing at the bit in pursuit of leadership opportunities, are waging war against the 78-year-old legislator from San Francisco. Ten Democrats are trying to increase the number of votes needed to elect a Speaker from a simple majority of the Democratic caucus to a majority of the whole House. This is a dangerous gambit. A bitter party battle over the Speakership, before the Democrats even regain control of the House, could diminish enthusiasm for tipping the House prior to the November election. And it’s so unnecessary.

What’s really needed is opening up House procedures, a return to regular order, the normal way of doing things.  And that’s where Worcester Congressman Jim McGovern and other good guys with seniority come in. “When the process stinks, so does the legislation,” he recently told the New England Council.  If the Democrats do retake the House, McGovern is in line to chair the House Committee on Rules.

Reflecting lessons learned from his mentor Joe Moakley, a masterful Rules Chairman, McGovern says all members need access to the process, whichever side of the aisle and wherever on the political spectrum.  That means holding actual hearings in committees with jurisdiction over proposed legislation, debating different sides of an issue and allowing amendments from the floor.  Giving everyone a say in the process is the way compromise used to be achieved and legislation would get passed on a bipartisan basis.

None of that happens today. Republican Speaker Paul Ryan has jettisoned these procedures so his members don’t have to be recorded on votes.  That’s how they’ve avoided accountability on matters like the tax cut, health care repeal and other important issues.  As McGovern aptly put it, if they don’t want to vote, maybe they should be doing something else with their lives.  “If you could sue politicians for malpractice, they’d be sued.”

Just for the record, McGovern thinks Pelosi has been “one of the greatest Speakers,” perhaps one of the best ever.  She certainly was the decisive voice in producing a more significant Affordable Care Act and may be the party’s most prolific fundraiser, helping Democrats to take back the House. Even if some Democratic backbenchers challenge Pelosi’s right to the gavel, her Congressional opponents don’t have a credible alternative.

Clearly, the public rightfully perceives Congress as dysfunctional. Restoring regular order and opening procedures could undercut that perception, give younger members an opportunity to make an impact and improve the quality of governance.

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Focus on tippable districts

On a recent sultry summer evening, well over 100 people crushed into a suburban Newton garden to hear Jared Golden, candidate for Congress.  Haven’t heard of him?  That may be because he is from Maine’s second Congressional district, currently represented in Washington by Republican Bruce Poliquin.  That night’s attendees  understand the need not to be distracted by Bob Woodward’s book Fear or the New York Times op ed piece by an anonymous senior official of the Trump administration, both talking about Trump’s dangerous shortcomings and the efforts of insiders to protect the Republic against him.  What matters now is flipping enough congressional districts from Republicans to Democrats to regain control of that branch of Congress. That will take dollars, shoe leather and grunt work.

Poliquin has lots of money and the name recognition that comes with four years of incumbency, but recent polls show the candidates neck-and-neck.  This district is tippable. Poliquin is tagged with a a reputation for ducking into men’s rooms to dodge questions about where he stands on the Affordable Care Act. While the bathroom story may be apocryphal, and while Poliquin makes a big deal of making his mobile number available, his constituents find him elusive. I thought he sounded reasonable if reserved at a New England Council meeting more than a year ago, but his actions belie that seeming thoughtfulness.

Golden, 35, is a Marine Corps veteran who enlisted after 9/11 and, after serving tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned to get a degree from Bates College.  Elected to the state legislature in 2014, now assistant majority leader, he led a push for health care for vets suffering from PTSD.  His main focus today is on access to health care for all.

One in five constituents in Maine’s 2nd district, a rural, working class district,  is on Medicaid. Poliquin is running an ad supporting rural health care, but he voted for the bill to repeal Obamacare, cutting $800 billion in funding and eliminating coverage of tens of thousands of Maine residents.  As Congressman Joe Kennedy, who is campaigning for Golden,  observed, those numbers show the hypocrisy of the Poliquin ad.  The incumbent also supports higher premiums for pre-existing conditions, and he voted for the tax cut bill that added $1.5 trillion to our national debt.

Golden also talks about political reform, overturning Citizens United and being  accessible  to constituents for real,  unlike Poliquin.   He worries today about the future of democracy and is definitely of the new generation.   He has said he won’t vote for Nancy Pelosi.

No incumbent has been defeated in Maine’s second district for more than a century. But the Cook Political Report notes that Golden may be one of the Democrats’ top candidates nationwide and rates the race a toss-up.

Nationwide,  many of the most promising candidates are women, particularly women of color.  And several of those women are veterans, like Texas’ MJ Hegar, pilot of a rescue helicopter,  New Jersey’s Mikie Sherrill, a fighter pilot, and Kentucky’s Amy McGrath, a former Marine pilot.  Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton, also a veteran, is mentoring this next generation.

If the Democrats are to win back the House, it has to be done district by district, and that means county by county and street by street.  That will require turning off CNN and MSNBC, even occasionally NPR, and writing checks, signing postcards and otherwise rolling up our sleeves.  Consider the price of failure.

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“Maverick” McCain’s death leaves huge void

John McCain died on August 25th, the same day Ted Kennedy died nine years ago, from the same lethal disease. Two old warriors, who disagreed on much but fought for their principles in the national interest and became good friends in the process. But I wonder whether our celebration of him and his life would be less intense if there were someone less despicable in the White House, one whose unbridled disrespect for McCain’s service, befouling the Presidency and dishonorable evisceration of civic virtue and democratic governance, make us hunger to sanctify the Arizona Senator far more than he would have embraced.

McCain freely admitted he was a flawed tribune, and his record was complex. He was a true war hero. The story of how he dealt with his incarceration experience is the stuff of legend. On our January trip to Vietnam, we were struck by how much the Vietnamese people admired him.  It’s not the monument near the Truc Bach lake in Hanoi, where they  shot him out of the sky in 1967. Nor is it their airbrushing his experience at the Hoa Lo prison. Rather, the Vietnamese people’s reverence for McCain stems from his initiatives, with Senator John Kerry, to normalize relations with Vietnam, a turn of events that helped revive the Vietnamese economy, moving the two countries toward a collaborative future.

McCain’s eloquent defense of human rights and and embrace of liberty, to  fight against tyrannical regimes  threatening the values and safety of the Western alliance,  endeared him to many. Others found him too hawkish, especially in his embrace of the Iraq War. But his eloquent stand against torture and defense of safety for our troops are reasons why troops loved him and are usually the last to want  their country to rush into military conflict.

In his two runs for President, we got to see the different sides of  John McCain. In 2000, as a long shot candidate running against the GOP establishment, he charmed reporters on his bus, “the straight talk express.” When he ran out of policy discussions,  he talked about everything else, charming reporters with his frankness and raunchy humor. He positioned himself as a principled centrist, critical of Karl Rove tactics and the vicious rhetoric  of the religious right. After he was torched by Rove’s race-baiting attacks  in the South Carolina primary, McCain went back to the Senate where he opposed his party and George W. on drilling, bad judicial appointments and tax cuts.

His 2008 campaign was an ugly parody of 2000. He jettisoned his principles, even slow-walking back his opposition to torture, advocating more drilling and deeper plutocrat-biased  tax cuts he had earlier opposed.  Instead of making a real maverick choice of Joe Lieberman as his running mate, whom he preferred, he bowed to his advisors’ choice of a supremely  unqualified Sarah Palin, who could pander to an emerging alt-right  base.  (Could it be remorse that caused him not to invite those advisors or Palin to his funeral?) But the better side of McCain came through in his defense of Obama against a memorable racist attack and later his unifying concession speech.

He supported comprehensive immigration reform and moves away from fossil fuel dependence. After getting burned in the Keating Savings and Loan Scandal, he became a stalwart on campaign finance reform. Former Massachusetts Congressman, now UMass President Marty Meehan worked closely with McCain on campaign finance and recalls him as a “cut-against-the-grain kind of guy,” really tough, but able to work across the aisle. (The McCain-Feingold bill in the Senate was Shays-Meehan in the House.)

But McCain was definitely a conservative Republican, a worthy successor to Barry Goldwater. Even in Arizona he is remembered for having  supported saving Apache sacred lands but then having agreed to drilling for oil on them.

McCain delighted in his maverick reputation and will be forever linked to his decisive vote to save the remnants of the Affordable Care Act.  But if we look at the fine print and his eloquent  speech that followed, his principal objection was the Senate’s not handling this vote and other matters as part of the “regular  order” of deliberation and debate instead of using anti-democratic procedural trickery.

Today we remember him more for his calls for civility in the public forum and a return to bipartisanship in Congress.  McCain was a throwback to the more personal, collaborative model of previous generations. But substantively he was not in the old Ed Brooke, Jacob Javits, Clifford Case mold. Notwithstanding his maverick nickname, it’s sobering to remember that for much of his Senate career, he voted straight party line 87 percent of the time and with Donald Trump 83 percent of the time.  He supported the infamous Trump 2017 tax giveaway, which he earlier would have decried. He would likely have had no trouble voting  for Trump’s Heritage Foundation/Federalist Society-approved Supreme Court nominees.

Trump, of course, was contemptuous of McCain, viewing him as a loser “because he was captured.” Trump refused to recognize that the recent Defense Authorization Act was named for McCain, and needed to be pressured by veterans groups to fly the White House flag at half staff during this memorial week.

In his Senate floor tribute to his dear friend, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham praised his mentor for teaching him “the art of democracy, the role of compromise and the rule of law.”  It is, perhaps, McCain’s understanding of those values and his calling out of Donald Trump’s contempt for them that has so many grieving McCain’s passing. McCain has rightly been labeled sui generis, and Graham acknowledges he isn’t up to the job of replacing him. Surely, Graham can’t fill McCain’s shoes, (he seems already to be caving in his erstwhile defense of Jeff Sessions), but wouldn’t it be a fitting tribute if only he and some of his colleagues were to take some steps to serve some purpose greater than themselves?

McCain was the first to admit his flaws, and , unlike many if not most of his colleagues,  was willing to apologize and acknowledge when he was wrong. But it’s the President’s party now, and his fellow Republicans have largely drunk the Kool-aid.  No apologies; just fear of a base that is almost as zealous as it was in 2016. Sadly, even a no-brainer like changing the name of the Russell Senate Office Building to honor McCain has run into quick opposition from Trump loyalist Southern Republicans.

After the lying-in-state at the Capitol, Saturday’s memorial service and Sunday’s interment in Annapolis, John McCain will likely be more a fond memory to some than a call to action by many. By Labor Day, attention will shift to Arizona governor Doug Ducey’s choice for McCain’s replacement. Will he pick someone like Cindy McCain, committed to John McCain’s values?  Or will the choice be made to avoid angering Trump supporters who could jeopardize Ducey’s reelection in November?  I fear the answer.

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Seventh CD a battle between good and better

Whoever wins  the Massachusetts  7th Congressional district Democratic primary on  September 4th  will be uncontested in November and  serve in the next Congress. It will be a Democrat, but what kind and what difference will that make for us?

In the intergenerational struggle for control of the Democratic Party,  Ayanna Pressley, 44, hopes to unseat long-term incumbent Michael Capuano,66,  from the office he has held for two decades.  Although neither a millennial nor newcomer to political office, she is both black and female in the state’s only majority -minority district.   She and her supporters tout Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ defeat of 10-term rep Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th district as a model for if not  predictor of our 7th district outcome. But that’s a stretch.  Crowley’s eyes were on his potentially replacing Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. He didn’t engage back in the district, highhandedly even sending a staffer to debate his opponent . And he paid the price. Mike Capuano is no Joe Crowley.

As Tip O’Neill , who used to represent this district, advised, “All politics is local.” National messages won’t work here- especially in an off-year election, where the  distinctive characteristics of the candidates  and their respective GOTV operations count more. Primaries are  usually  low turnout contests,  even more so this year, with a primary scheduled the day after Labor Day.  For Pressley to win and buck the traditional inertia toward keeping a good incumbent, she will need to bring out not only new voters but also  disproportionately animate  communities of color that tend not to vote in off-year elections. When they’ve voted,  they have justifiably supported her opponent.  It’s a tough but not impossible task.

Pressley embodies a new wave in what Democrats hope will be part of a nationwide blue wave. A victim of abuse, she has a compelling life story. She is bright, attractive, accomplished and reasonably articulate, the first woman of color to be elected to the Boston City Council, the city’s top vote-getter in three successive elections. Her motto, “change cannot wait,” speaks to the energy driving the Me Too movement, and, at a minimum, she’ll give usually unopposed Capuano a run for his money. But these are no ordinary times.

The seventh is the most diverse of the state’s congressional districts, comprising 70 percent of  Boston, parts of Somerville and Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Milton and Randolph.   The older white guy can’t change his age, sex or race to appeal to voters. If you’re a voter who puts  identity politics first, he’s not your guy. But Capuano has served the district well. Witness his 100 percent ratings from Planned Parenthood, the ACLU,  the NAACP, League of Conservation Voters and other organizations. He has been an energetic and effective advocate for progressive causes, and he has brought money home to the district, including the Green Line extension, the Fairmount Line, Ruggles Station, harbor dredging, housing projects and community health centers.  And this isn’t just a question of what he has already done, but what he will be positioned to do if the Democrats regain control off the House.

If that happens, Springfield Congressman Richie Neal will chair the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Worcester’s Jim McGovern will chair the critically important Rules Committee, and Michael Capuano will chair the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Capuano could also chair a financial services subcommittee dear to the Massachusetts economy. When you have one of the good guys, seniority matters.

Transportation is always at the top of the list of challenges facing our otherwise robust economy, along with the high cost of housing. Capuano can be depended upon to drive dollars to Massachusetts to address its woefully underfunded public transit and highway systems. This is directly relevant to urban and minority constituents desperately needing access to existing and future jobs, helping to attract companies seeking to relocate here. Massachusetts has not seen that kind of congressional power since the days of House Speaker Tip O’Neill, Joe Moakley and Ted Kennedy.

Capuano and Pressley differ little on the issues. It’s a question of emphasis. As she seeks to differentiate herself, she talks about the authenticity of her connections with the community, rife with systemic inequalities. She says that “those close to the pain should be close to the power.” But, unlike New York’s incumbent Crowley, Capuano has always been a presence in the district. He calls himself a “street fighter,” and he is. He’s scrappy, intelligent, experienced and strategic. In their debates, Pressley has her well polished thematic talking points, making for sound bites but weak on details, especially on foreign policy. Capuano can go big picture and get into the policy weeds. I’ve done both with him, and he’s the real deal. Not only a visible advocate for important legislation, he knows how to play the cloakroom amendments  game  and how to quietly work a budget appropriation to benefit his constituents.

Pressley has a bright future in politics, and I’m not saying to her “wait your turn.” We need more women and people of color in Congress. She has every right to run, and it’s probably a propitious time for her to do so. There is an anti-establishment mood among many Democrats, a desire to open opportunities for the next generation.  All that’s good, but it’s also important not to throw out the old baby with the bath water. If elected, she’d have a steep learning curve.

This isn’t a contest between good and evil. It’s between good and better.   In making a choice, MA 7th district voters would do well not to succumb to ageism but to see experience and clout in the context of these times, when Massachusetts has been marginalized and needs federal dollars more than ever. The ability to bring those home, combined with highly progressive values and track record, should be validated when primary voters go to the polls September 4th.  I like Mike.

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News media are not “enemies of the people”

I ask you: do I look like an enemy of the people?  Given my 30+ years in journalism (including Boston Phoenix, WGBH-TV, WCVB-TV) and nearly a decade more as a blogger, Donald Trump would probably say yes. Journalism is certainly in my DNA. Which is why I’m so proud of what my local newspaper is doing. The Boston Globe is urging a national response to the President’s war against the free press, calling for editorials Thursday from press outlets across the political spectrum to decry the attacks. Right or left, those editorial boards know the importance of press freedom to a flourishing democracy.

More than a few of Thursday’s editorials will probably mention Thomas Jefferson, famous for saying, “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”   Yes, even though I cringe when the press is sloppy and sharply criticize when it is occasionally malign. Without the free flow of information and a vigorous marketplace of ideas, we cannot have an informed electorate and a sustainable democracy.

Sadly, our Bully-In-Chief keeps dismissing the media as “fake, fake disgusting news,” referring, of course, to anything that challenges his alternate reality or the 4,229 lies that Trump has told from the beginning of his administration to August 1, as documented by the Washington Post.  What’s even more disturbing than the name calling is how the President is increasingly inciting his rally audiences to violence against the press.

Thankfully, we haven’t yet reached the point where journalists are being imprisoned or sentenced to death as they are in Iran, Mexico, Russia and Turkey (the leading jailer of journalists).  But, as with most Trump obsessions, with this increase of attacks on the news media, can the slippery slope be far off?

The journalists I know are hard-working and mission-driven. They certainly aren’t in it for the money or, for that matter, job security. They’re willing to do the tedious work of chasing down facts, scouring documents, making uncomfortable phone calls and sometimes coming up empty-handed, double and triple checking, all to get the story the public has a right to know.  Whether it’s a community paper identifying political payoffs to local officials awarding street paving contracts or a national outlet exposing wrong-doing at the highest levels of government, it is the print and electronic media who are our representatives holding powerful institutions and individuals accountable.

Do they make mistakes? Too often.  Do they overreach? Sometimes. Do they occasionally mix news and opinion?  The firewall isn’t as clear as it used to be or should be. But, as an editorial in The Guardian pointed out after the killing of five journalists in the Annapolis, MD Capital Gazette, the “real enmity lies not between the press and the people, but the free press (and people) and the powerful.”

Our job, as consumers of news, has become more complicated at a time when social media (sadly, the main source of news for most people) have been expropriated by non-journalists who traffic in made-up stories and falsehoods. Think Pizzagate, the made-up story of Hillary Clinton running a pedophile ring in the basement of a pizza parlor.  Probably started by a Russian disinformation operative, advanced by self-serving far-right conspiracy promoters like Breitbart and Alex Jones, retweeted by gullible Hillary haters and eventually picked up by mainstream media, this totally fake story shows how important it is that we all work to sort the wheat from the chaff. But we can’t do it without the serious work of the mainstream news media.

We need to read multiple sources, and we need to be vigilant. And, whether you support or despise the President, please know that on this issue he is dead wrong. The media are not the enemy. They are one of our best friends and must continue to be free to do their job so we can have the information to do ours.

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