From Jeff Cox
When I took the job as restaurant reviewer for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat in 1993, one of my first reviews was of a restaurant called La Gare [located in Railroad Square], a supposedly French restaurant with execrable food, and I gave the place a royal pan [titled “Train Wreck of a Meal”]. Turned out that it was Sonoma County’s long-standing favorite restaurant—the kind of place you went to with your parents and then your kids. The community flew into a rage. I was vilified. I was pilloried. The phones at the newspaper rang off the hook. They told me they hadn’t had so many critical letters to the editor ever. People threatened to cancel their subscriptions.
A few days later I was in the editorial offices and met Mike Parman, the editor-in-chief, now deceased. He looked at me in that hard-boiled way of editors-in-chief and said, “You only got one thing wrong, Cox. The service sucks, too.”
I was elated to know that the editor stood behind me, and that emboldened me to tell the truth as I saw it for the next 1000+ restaurants I reviewed over the next 22 years, until the paper finally fired me from the position. Hey, it was a good run.
But it makes me sad for the hack reportage that passes for journalism in re Donald Trump. If, as an editor once said, it’s the job of the journalist to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, I see an abject failure to put Mr. Trump into the proper context. This buffoon should have his feet held to the fire of truth and justice. To be objective about Donald Trump is to see his faults for what they are: deep psychological, personal, and social flaws that exhibit chicanery not leadership.
Why are our media letting us down? I could theorize, but I won’t. I’ll just say that the principles of journalism that drew me into my life’s work seem to have stopped operating.