Don Rogers: Journalists’ stock rises
It’s not a gift exactly, though I greeted the news Christmas Day that way.
Public esteem for journalists has grown to the highest level in more than four decades, according to a new Gallup poll. There’s a small wow!
This despite the president’s constant backhands and your old Uncle Bob grumping after another marathon session with Fox.
OK, that’s not quite on par with the green grass and sunshine the big morning after the latest storm passed, delivering snow and holiday skiing up high. Call that a gift of the highest order. We were warned, after all, by the governor no less, not to expect this change of the seasons anymore. To keep the go-bags and cat cages by the door year-round in fire country, where we live.
And this is nowhere near that greatest of gifts: the light in everyone’s eyes, especially the little ones’.
Still, to butcher Sally Field’s oft-butchered speech at the Oscars in 1984: You like us. … You really like us! I feel her bubbling over in joy all over again.
OK, I know. Let’s not get all crazy now, Rogers. It’s just a poll. Just Gallup, which the Russians have trained Uncle Bob to snort at as one a them libtardy snowflakey outfits ruining America. Like colleges with their professors and that educated ilk.
But the world has gone strange for him. What with Aunt Grace turning her gray hair purple and pink, and telling him he’s the No. 1 problem with America, nay, all of Western civilization, being old and white and male.
Some things have held, though. My wife’s profession dominated again. The poll has ranked the nurses No. 1 for honesty and high ethical standards for the past 17 years in a row. And members of Congress of course held fast to their lower-then-pond-scum position at the very bottom.
Ah, but practitioners of my hallowed profession — and I’m not being ironic here, fully believing it sacred — can start the new year with a little pep in our step. We haven’t scored so high in the “very high/high” ranking since 1976, when this poll began.
Of course, at 33 percent in this category, we’re about a third as well regarded as people like my wife, who by the way fully deserves her repute, on duty or not.
Journalists, well, we’re almost as highly thought of as funeral directors and clergy, and right above building contractors and bankers, up there in the top half of the rankings.
Lawyers and stock brokers and sales people inhabit the bottom with the politicians and business executives. Wait, is that what I am now that I’m out of the newsroom proper, with my weird old world title for business executive? This breed enjoys the same love Democrats feel for President Trump. Only 8 percent of the people polled consider business executives highly honest and ethical.
Near the pinnacle are the doctors, teachers and police officers. Seems we recognize despite news otherwise that bad apples don’t spoil the barrel after all.
And don’t forget at No. 3 for honesty and ethics, the pharmacists. Pharmacists? Yes, think about the standards and the consequences for prescriptions gone bad. They’ve come a long ways from the apothecaries and snake oil purveyors of yore.
I’d say society at least broadly is OK if people in medicine, education and law enforcement are trusted.
There’s good reason to keep a skeptical mind, let’s say, about advocates for businesses. I mean, they’ll always say they are working for you, sure. The best ones do, in fact, and they have to be among the most precious gems in the universe, or at least our still-capitalist civilization.
It’s also reasonable to trust journalism only so far, given the difficulties in discerning well-vetted news and views from political propaganda and outright enemy action. Especially when even the president appears to have been duped. I think we can pardon Uncle Bob’s confusion under the circumstances.
I’d like to believe Americans are coming to their senses, learning to better tell the truly fake from the error endemic to all things human, including honest journalism, whether with a red or blue hue.
But that’s not quite so, either. As the president shades all things, he shades our regard for journalists all too simplistically.
Republicans have never approved more of a president nor less of the press. Trump tops even Reagan with today’s faithful. The Democrats? Just flip it.
So this rise in regard for the journalists might only be an early sign of the president’s amazingly stable but low approval ratings cracking first among the unaffiliated. There’s only so much the guy can pass off as bad press before people start to get a clue, some quietly ditching the party.
In other words, Uncle Bob may be as resolute as ever, but Aunt Grace is starting to dance with her “Resist!” signs and her … um, special hat.
Me, I’m just glad to see tidings of hope for truth-seekers, whatever their politics. This is good news.
Don Rogers is the publisher of the Sierra Sun and The Union, based in Grass Valley. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4299.