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Thomas J Donegan
Thomas J Donegan
Born January 22, 1958 Graduated 1976 Lawrence County Vo-Tech U.S.Navy, 11/76 - 10/82 Cryptologic Technician M-branch Graduated 1989 Slippery Rock University B.S. Mathematics, minors: Philosophy, History U.S. Government 1990 -2001 Various private sector Electrical/Electronics jobs 2001- present
 

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Posted in Arts / Communication Arts / Reporting

Press Objectivity

Feb. 28, 2017 10:50 pm


At the time of the Founding of the United States of America truth was largely intuitively understood as defined by Saint Thomas Aquinas, viz: "Conformity of mind and object." Descartes doubt, and Kant's response to the Cartesian effect upon classical metaphysics, had not reach the general population; neither had those thinkers thoughts surmounted/corrupted the dominant University view which at that time was still a product derived from Classical and Medieval (scholasticism) Philosophy.

Related and coincident with the aforementioned conception of truth, was the dominant the dominant University metaphysics (metaphysical realism, or as described by Etienne Gilson existential realism a.k.a. Thomism which is a correction and completion of Aristotle's metaphysics...) which formed the core of the Perennial Philosophy which is generally pejoratively referred to as the philosophy of commonsense. This Philosophical perspective promoted a natural law ethic which found common ground with the moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian faiths; albeit the natural law ethic may agree with Christian judgment regarding what actions should be performed and which should be avoided, the path utilized to derive its moral judgments was quite commonsensical1

1 Stemming from hylomorphism (doctrine which holds all existents are composed of 2 coincident metaphysical principles, viz: form and the act-of-being) a things essence determines its final-cause i.e., purpose e.g., hands are for grasping, reproductive organs are for reproduction, discursive minds are for discerning consistent from inconsistent i.e., truth from falsehood...

So as not to stray any further into-the-woods (or into-the-weeds, if you prefer), we return to the classical understanding of truth i.e., "conformity of mind and object" and we note what effect, and affect, that conception - if accepted - coupled with a commonsense worldview has upon an observer2 of a person, place and/or event. Events - if reported from person "A" to person "B" - would, generally, be absent editorializing, and absent moralizing; if reported in a Newspaper, the reporters of the day - whether University educated, or not - possessed the same commonsense contextual understanding (worldview) as the common-Joe/Josephine as they wrote on the event. Editorializing fell to opinion writers. Thus, reporter's reported3! A reporter may have been more articulate than the commoner, but their view of reality was pretty much reality (We resist the urge to explain such assertions...).

2 And please note that that such an observer hasn't any alternative view; his/her commonsensical view is reinforced by their lives being not that far removed from caves i.e., their lives which were still pretty much survivalist...

3 Note: this is not to say that they couldn't write/report so as to mischaracterize a person, place or event, but such mischaracterizations would almost always be visceral, and not colored by a systematization to which the reporter was unconsciously canted...

Now when the Founding Fathers inked the Constitution of the United States of America, and added the Bill of Rights, they presupposed an objective worldview, and diverse Press, with each reporter seeking to report what they witnessed and/or had come to understand about people, places and events. What was not anticipated, and would have been difficult to anticipate is that the Press (and the citizenry it serves) would become rather monolithically homogenized and seduced by a worldview inimical to a Government such as the one delineated by the U.S. Constitution. In absence of such a distorting worldview reporters may have unjustly covered a topic, but such an injustice was neither endemic, nor pandemic, other agents of the Press – unencumbered by a distorted worldview, and not motivated by the same antipathies as those which may lead to unjust reporting, they would balance/correct a distorted record/report. A modern agent of the Press – as a product of this culture, and its education system – assimilates a systematic (therefore it is not something of which they are conscious4…) bias, which is shared by most of the citizens of the Nation.

4 We conjecture that those whom overcome this bias, do so because they are awakened - to something-rotten-in-Denmark – as they act to attempt to reconcile some of the many contradictory claims ubiquitously uttered by so many, as if claims were aphorisms; whereas a bit a thought reveals the claims to be sentimental senselessness (Note: sentimental senselessness may seem a redundancy, but not all sentiments are senseless; we again resist the temptation to elucidation…). We suspect that those in the alternative media sources - beginning with Limbaugh and Matt Drudge – had much to do with their innate intelligence, and each had been influenced little by the University (Drudge is a high-school graduate; Limbaugh ended his college education after a couple of semesters; according to his mother he failed everything, and attended only to try to please his father), as intelligent individuals they pushed back against the bias – albeit unconscious – to which the mainstream Press largely was disposed.

Of course an entertainment aspect always attended the Press and those stories contained within its pages, but the 1st Amendment Press Rights were carved out so as to allow the Press to inform the electorate regarding dangers to Constitutional liberties.

Thus, the Press has a Right to report unencumbered by Government coercion - so as to inform the electorate, but every Right carry's an obligation; the Press's obligation is to report to the American people - irrespective of whether they personally embrace the matters upon which they report (i.e., irrespective of whether they may have high, or low regard, for a person, or an activity/event which involves the security of the United States and the United States Constitution).

Press objectivity may be realized when a reporter is rooted in an objective reality, and is free from antipathies which attend the human soul; to be free of such antipathies is not likely, but an individual that strives to be just, may force him/herself to report what is, as it is.

Thomas J. Donegan

guildma@msn.com

 
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