Stanford Erickson: Holding Journalists Accountable.


     I worked with some 250 or so journalists as a Bureau Chief in Washington, DC,  Editor in Chief in New York City and a Publisher in New York City and Philadelphia. Most of these journalists would disagree with what I am presenting here. I do not do it lightly because these are news people I respect and are my friends.

Most major newspapers and television news operations are so intent on spewing  their loathing of President Donald J. Trump, as justified as they think that may be, that they are missing out on the major story that can shake to its very roots our Democratic Republic.

Journalists in the later half of the 20th century did themselves proud. We exposed Senator Joseph McCarthy’s demagogic crusade against Communists in the U.S. We challenged the morality of our war with Vietnam by publishing the Pentagon Papers. We doggedly revealed the Watergate cover up by the Nixon Administration.

But as journalists became awash of the adulation by others, we gradually succumbed to a siren-like hubris of thinking we are on the star level as those we report on. Rather than ask questions of Presidents and other high public officials, many journalists and especially television news people began making statements and then asking for a response. “Don’t you think waterboarding is torture?” “Didn’t President Trump lie about not knowing of the hush payment to porn star Stormy Daniels prior to the election?”

Mike Wallace began his career as an actor and television game show host before becoming an in-your-face reporter on 60 Minutes. Wallace soon became a role model for journalists seeking similar attention and success.

For a year now, journalists and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller have been attempting to expose alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s election and the influence the Russians had on the presidential election of 2016. To a great extent journalists have relied on anonymous leaks.


         It is now apparent that a factual case can be made that there was collusion among Hillary Clinton’s campaign committee and the heads of the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Intelligence Agency (DNA) to subvert the election of Donald Trump and then to discredit it.

The facts seem to be: Director James Comey’s FBI helped finance a former British spy who developed a phony dossier on Trump’s collusion with the Russians prior to his election; the FBI  had an informant within the Trump campaign; the Justice Department and the FBI used the phony dossier to obtain permission by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to wiretap phones of the Trump campaign; and former DNA Director James Clapper reportedly leaked the dossier to CNN.

It gets worse. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe apparently ran a rogue operation of FBI officials to discredit the Trump campaign and then made unauthorized leaks to the media and was fired based on the Justice Department’s Inspector General determining that McCabe was “less than candid” in admitting  he made those leaks. Former FBI James Comey also leaked confidential information to the New York Times through a third party who he employed at the FBI.

As upset as these high ranking officials of our intelligence agencies were with the prospect of Donald Trump becoming U.S. president, their  possibly illegal efforts against Trump undermines the very foundation of our Democratic Republic.

But that so many journalists are not reporting this story and even discounting it because of President Trump’s abusive repeated attacks on the media is even worse for me as a journalist.  Dislike for Trump does not justify lack of coverage of the major news story of our time—a Deep State attack on the transition of power from one Presidential Administration to another.

The Fourth Estate needs to hold itself above biases even if the U.S. President does not.

Fourth State

Stanford Erickson lives in Vero Beach, FL and was a formerly a reporter for Hearst, bureau chief for McGraw- Hill in Washington, DC and editor in chief or Knight-Ridder in NYC. He is a regular contributor to Vero Communiqué.  Mr. Erickson is a 40-year member of the National Press Club.

[Mr. Erickson’s comments are his own and do not reflect the position(s) of Vero Communiqué.]

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3 thoughts on “Stanford Erickson: Holding Journalists Accountable.

  1. As a society, we have become increasingly intolerant of dissonant points of view. Channel proliferation supplies us with a multitude of “safe spaces” –intellectual hiding places where we can nurture our philosophical biases and be sheltered from competing ideas. Exploration and finding of Truth is the casualty, as it depends on the willingness of people with differing points of view to step forward, and requires one to entertain and struggle with dissonant ideas.

    We seem to have lost our love of the pursuit of Truth somewhere in our recent journey as a country.

    It is abundantly clear that the former administration brazenly abused the power of the administrative state–the weaponization of foreign intelligence, domestic security agencies and the IRS–against its domestic political enemies. They did this with the confident expectation of their party remaining in power, hence abuses of power could be perpetuated while cloaked in secrecy.

    Even more brazen, frankly frightening, the “mainstream media” have formed a cartel effectively to suppress publication of the crimes while the Administrative State has largely succeeded in thwarting Congressional and Executive (Presidential) oversight and directives in these matters.

    There is a fork in the road for the American public. The mainstream media “brands,” whose value resides entirely in public trust, should be thoroughly discredited and self-destruct to the point of business failure. If, on the other hand, the Public continue to be complicit in their own self-deception, they will be giving the green light to the worst power-seeking, corrupt and authoritarian elements.

  2. CS Taylor. I so appreciate your well written comments. Everyone to a degree wants to be liked. It so disturbs me that almost all my fellow journalists and many of the Treasure Coasts Newspapers think I am somewhat deranged. But as a Fourth Estate our job is to seek truth wherever it leads. Truth ultimately sets us free.

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