I am at a loss as to why Wes Mader so readily avails himself of the very vehicle he derides in many of his bi-monthly op-eds — namely, the media.

But putting that aside, I would expect a firmer grasp of media literacy when he puts on his media analyst hat as he did in his last column ("American Democracy on the Brink," Jan. 23).

I shouldn't have to point out, for example, that news reports by respected media outlets (whether NPR, the Star Tribune, PBS, BBC or the New York Times) were not a conspiratorial attempt to "undermine (Donald Trump's) presidency from day one." Though he may not like what he hears or reads, Mr. Mader is not entitled to his own facts.

Unflattering coverage runs both ways, of course. Barack Obama, too, was the subject of such media reports. In fact, the U of M's Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law has highlighted several instances of heavy-handed tactics by the Obama administration in the unfortunate absence of a federal reporters' shield law. Obama took more journalists to court than even George W. Bush, whose administration spanned the first years post 9/11.

Certainly it was a shameful chapter of the Obama legacy. Yet such reporting is both valid and vital in a democracy with our robust (though not absolute) First Amendment to our Constitution. Though Mr. Mader and the like-minded may bristle at frank or unflattering coverage of Trump and his followers, it was — and it is — necessary to a free and well-informed citizenry.

Mr. Mader has suggested there is a parity between the gross missteps by Trump and his minions on Jan. 6 to that of the George Floyd riots in May. Really? During the five or so hours of unrest in D.C., at least five were killed and it appears a kidnapping was in the works. It is alarming when the seat of our federal government is so easily breached. That Mr. Mader equates Jan. 6 to the Floyd riots frankly astonishes me; that he suggests the national news media will "pick and choose the facts or rumors to amplify their often biased narrative" in covering the events deeply offends me.

Of Hillary Clinton, Mr. Mader said she had "the national media in her pocket," and her campaign funds paid for the Steele dossier, a British intelligence report on Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. Election. The conclusion was that the Russians had not "stolen" the election for Trump — though they tried to do so through cyber activity. No respected media outlet claimed otherwise.

As for the national media in her pocket? Respected media outlets just don't operate this way. As I studied for a journalism degree at the U of M, I took a lot of writing classes. Integrity in prose was expected; fair and honest reporting is the gold standard without injection of personal opinions in news stories.

Demonizing the free press is what tyrants do, local columnist John Diers wrote in a recent op-ed ("Trust is fundamental to democracy," Dec. 19, 2020). While I can't divine Mr. Mader's motives, it's clear he lacks the objectivity for media analysis. I respectfully suggest he stay in his own lane.

Lizanne Bristol is a Prior Lake resident.

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