Media essays

The conspiracy theory card The other day, Politico ran a typically sneering article about the Bilderberg Group. As usual, anyone who shows the slightest interest in the hyper secret meeting of some of the most powerful people in the world is a "conspiracy theorist." This is smug, childish, mindless establishment journalism at its worst. By … Continue reading Media essays

The neighborhoods of Fred Rogers and Donald Trump

Sam Smith - An exceptional new documentary on Fred Rogers hit a theme for me about two thirds through: I realized that Mr Roger's neighborhood was the exact opposite - in decency, integrity, friendliness and happiness - of that being created by Donald Trump. Fred Rogers wasn't a perfect individual. He was, in that fine … Continue reading The neighborhoods of Fred Rogers and Donald Trump

When television took over politics

Sam Smith - It's been my long held thesis that few things have altered American politics more than the arrival of television's popularity as a source of news and opinion.  As noted here before, for example, it had a profound effect on political corruption. Prior to television, corruption was a feudal arrangement i.e. politicians were … Continue reading When television took over politics

There’s no business like show business. . .and certainly not politics

Sam Smith – The other day I came across a poem I wrote about a week after the first Kennedy-Nixon debate (probably for Roll Call newspaper where I was working at the time): I’ll Take My Candidate Without Cream or Sugar, Thank You Pollster, spare that candidate Give him a chance to run Free from … Continue reading There’s no business like show business. . .and certainly not politics

When symbols compete with reality

  Sam Smith One of the hard things about journalism these days is how much time is spent by reporters, sources and the public on symbols, words and their meaning and how little on what is really is, or could be, happening. The roots of this include the rise of advertising and public relations as … Continue reading When symbols compete with reality

What too many journalists no longer understand about corruption

Sam Smith - At some point in recent decades, Washington - from the White House to Capitol Hill to the lobbyists and to the media - adopted a novel notion: that if what you do fails to result in indictment or impeachment, it is okay. These are the rules our capital city currently observes. As … Continue reading What too many journalists no longer understand about corruption