There Is a Time for Everything

The best time to fix a problem is before is happens.
by Jim Fair | Source:
We call it preventive maintenance when it comes to cars, houses, factories, airplanes, boats and other things that can break if not cared for.

A political process can break too, particularly if the free and uncensored press fails to do its job.

This came to mind a few days ago when I was listening to a local talk radio program. The host was interviewing a journalist who is covering the national political campaigns. The subject was a major candidate who many believe may have received contributions from some pretty shady characters. (What a shock!) The treatment of these rumors has, to date, been a little like the treatment of the weather – everyone talks about it but nobody does anything.

The suggestion that a politician might have received illicit contributions didn’t shock me. But what came after did; the journalist suggested that if this particular politician were to receive his party’s nomination, then the press would really look into the financial concerns.

Maybe I missed something in my college journalism classes and my years as a reporter, but it seems to me that it might be a greater public service for the press to sort this out BEFORE the politician gets the nomination. Waiting until after is a little like checking the combination on the bank vault after the thieves have made off with a fortune?

I suppose there is a certain cynicism that suggests that all the candidates are corrupt to some degree. So…why worry about this particular case?

Well, call me naïve, but I refuse to believe that. At the minimum, some are more corrupt than others. So if there is someone who reporters suspect of foul play, the time to reveal the truth is before they are nominated. Put another way, the press could serve the public good by doing its job sooner rather than later.

In the heat of political campaigns, many charges and counter-charges are thrown about. But as long as that is the case, journalists have a responsibility to get to the truth so citizens can make an informed decision.


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