As a syndicated newspaper columnist, a Clinton supporter, and one who teaches journalism to high school students, I was taken aback by reaction to – and pigeonholing of – my criticism of moderator Lester Holt in the first presidential debate.
Imagine waking up in a world without newspapers. "Ha!" You say, "I haven't gotten a newspaper in years." But I'm not talking about just the paper delivered by carriers or the postal service. I'm talking about the news online, the links on social media, the email newsletter, the source cited in the television broadcast and the push notification on your phone. The word newspaper no longer reflects the media industry encompassed by the word.
The power of the press rests in the ability of journalists to hold government accountable, to mobilize public opinion on matters that are important to individuals, communities or the nation, and to provide necessary information of value.
Before taking his seat at Monday night's presidential debate, Lester Holt confided to the audience in the hall that his knees were shaking. Ninety minutes later, shaky would be an overly kind way to describe Holt's performance as moderator.
Something craven infects political candidates as the days dwindle down to a precious few, especially when prospects for victory appear slimmer than an emaciated giraffe in a fun house mirror. It may be darkest before the dawn, but for those scheduled to be executed at first light, the darkness triggers a kind of dastardly creativity that those made of lesser stuff might characterize as desperation.
Hiding behind the shiny objects fascinating so-called journalists this week, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have actually spoken of policies that could affect your life much more than which candidate started the "birther" movement.