BY Charles Memminger – As a former humor columnist, I usually take a lighter touch to issues of the day. But something seriously wrong is happening in our country and I want to put my position on the record BEFORE the election.
No matter how the national election turns out, there has to be some soul-searching by the so-called mainstream media and its news coverage. It’s been shameful. As a for

mer journalist for more than 35 years, I’m embarrassed for my profession. I’m not talking about organizations such as MSNBC which proudly admit their biases. At least they don’t pretend to be neutral observers. And, besides, nobody is listening to them but themselves.

But the mainstream media in this country has betrayed its duty. It is supposed to be the “Fourth Estate,” but instead it has turned into a pack sycophants in little cheerleading outfits. The press is supposed to be the watchdog of government. It’s a self-appointed role, true. But, damn it, that’s its role. Instead, it takes sides, willfully trying to win readers and viewers to a particular political point of view in the guise of news and it protects certain political figures from attack. NEWS reporters are supposed to report objectively and expose corruption. And they are supposed to do it in real time. The mainstream media’s concerted efforts to ignore the 9-11 terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi is a horrifying example of how the mainstream media has violated its first duty. It shouldn’t matter that the murder of an American ambassador on American diplomatic soil comes in the waning days of a presidential election. The media has helped spread outright lies about what happened in that sad corner of the world. It’s shameful. But it is just the latest example of how far the media has fallen.

No matter how the election turns out, I predict the mainstream media, at least the few honorable reporters left, will look inward, like drunks on the morning after, and be ashamed. At least I hope they are ashamed. Because I’m ashamed for them and our profession. There’s a saying in journalism: “News” is what people don’t want you to report, all else is publicity. The mainstream media has become an army of publicists. It’s shameful. When did reporters begin letting sources review their stories before they are published and change or delete quotes? Answer that question and you’ll be on your way to figuring out when the national press became a bunch of baton twirlers and pom-pom shakers.

The grand role of the news media is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Today that role seems to have changed to comfort the comfortable, hang out with the comfortable, make excuses for the comfortable, run interference for the comfortable and protect the comfortable at all costs. Especially if the reporter shares comfortable’s political or cultural doctrine. Reporters have embarrassed their profession by becoming lap dogs instead of watch dogs. That’s shameful. And I think they know it.

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Charles Memminger is a national award-winning columnist, screenwriter and author. His first novel, "Aloha, Lady Blue" will be published nationally Jan. 22, 2013 by St. Martin's Press. Memminger is a senior writer at Communications Pacific, Hawaii's premier communications, marketing and PR firms. Memminger's commentary represents his personal views and are not affiliated with any organization. To keep up with developments regarding "Aloha, Lady Blue," like him at: http://www.facebook.com/charles.memminger. E-mail him at cmemminger@hawaii.rr.com