My friends who love President Donald Trump can’t figure out why all those reporters keep asking him impertinent questions. They think they’re trying to make him look bad, and that they’re wrong.

Their problem is that they don’t understand journalism or the Fourth Estate. And, like Mr. Trump, they also don’t seem to understand the workings of the government. Especially the three branches of government.

Are they still teaching civics in high school? I sure hope so. Many folks seem either to have not had civics, or not studied it.

Along with a degree in journalism, I left the University of North Texas with a teaching certificate. So, a brief lesson for those folks.

The branches are the executive, legislative and the judicial. The president heads up the executive branch. His branch isn’t more important than the others, in spite of current popular thinking.

The legislative branch, senators and representatives, are responsible for making the laws. They’re also not more important.

The judicial branch is composed of judges, with the Supremes at the top. They can’t rule the roost either.

The three branches were created to have checks and balances on each other. Right now, that doesn’t seem to happen.

The duties of all three at this time seem to rest solely on their ability to have the members of their particular party be in the majority. Their job is to get elected.

Now we move to the second lesson, which is journalism.

I think many of the TV reporters have never studied journalism because they keep mixing facts with opinions. That’s a no-no among true students of journalism.

Remember when Sgt. Friday just wanted the facts? Well, that’s what good reporters, both audio and print, are supposed to get.

And their tradition goes back to the early divisions of branches of the population, first in the European states. People were divided into these groups: the church, the government and the proletariat, the last composed of all the folks who worked for a living.

Into the mix came the Fourth Estate, composed of the press, and its job is to keep all the others honest by exposing corruption wherever it happens.

Hence the tacky probing questions.

So, when a reporter asks a question that you may think is rude, he is simply doing his job.

And that’s how we all find out who has been spending our hard-earned tax dollars on projects with which we may not approve.

So all the news we get — floods, fires, hurricanes, corruption, scams and even some really good and happy items — all come from all those people out asking questions.

When you hear the accusation of “fake news” take a good look at the whole story, please.

It can be called fake, but it can also be true.

Cathy Gillentine is a Daily News columnist. She may be reached at


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(56) comments

David Hardee

I wish there was some 4th Estate that was straight forward in search of the truth and reporting the unadulterated facts. But when the 4th Estate ranks are filled with agenda oriented personalities that will never happen.

Once upon a time, there was news reporting which was facts and then there was an editorial which was an opinion and recommendation related to the events as result of facts. Today every presentation contains editorializing.

When the once trustworthy 60 Minutes, Meet the Press, etc, fell into the clutches of political activist the public confidence eroded. It is impossible to believe we get un-slanted presentations from a Stephanopoulos, Hannity, Rev. Sharpton, Brian Williams, Cooper, or any whose personal life is skewed or whose professional life included a stint as a political advocate or a reporter proven to have lied about their credentials.

The corruption existing throughout the “news networks” has flowed all through the 4th Estate and now the local newspapers are even suspicious.

Considering the slanting, twisting, and vehement coming from the 4th Estate it is impossible for a citizen to trust he has made a conclusion based on trustworthy information.

Find us just one like a Morrow or Zindler in the 4th Estate, please.

Society is unfortunately mirroring the FAKE 4th ESTATE.

Carlos Ponce

Grandstanding is not journalism.

Carlos Ponce

"So all the news we get — floods, fires, hurricanes, corruption, scams and even some really good and happy items — all come from all those people out asking questions."

I forget the local news station but during a tropical storm a "reporter" was reporting the depth of water in the area. I recognized the area and his description verified he was in La Marque, west of I-45 on FM 1765. To show the depth of the water he stood in a ditch...... [rolleyes]

David Hardee

Good point, Carlos. Weather reporting, obituaries, classifieds, puzzles, etc are not issues that can be easily editorialized, yet. Some comics do have slants. Your scrutiny is appreciated.

Gary Miller

Or Dan Rather, after Carla, driving east, in military duck, on TC loop 197 reporting water up to power lines. Farmer in same area said water never got above 2 ft. Only the bottom layer of hay bales, on ground, in barn were wet. Rather got rewards for his Carla lying.

Robert Braeking

Cathy, You lost all credibility in your second paragraph. The statement, "And, like Mr. Trump, they also don’t seem to understand the workings of the government.", shows on which side of your bread the butter is. I would certainly like you to back up your accusation with facts. The fact is that this President is not a cronyism advocate. He is doing the job of the executive in a way that irks those embedded leaches on America who call themselves servants of the people. He is exposing them as self-serving frauds living large on the taxpayer dime. He is exposing the status quo as destructive to America. He cannot be corrupted by the people's money because he has earned his own largess. That cannot be said for the politicians who become rich doing the work 'of the people' while lining their own pockets with the 'money of the people'. No, Cathy, President Trump knows full well what his role is and it rankles the embeds that he is executing his duties with paramount importance given to the interest of the people and not the politicians.

jimmy winston

Quit telling on yourself. Is anyone allowed to criticize your supreme ruler without being labeled fake news? I would love to hear the things that you said privately when President Obama was elected, but I guarantee it would get you banned from the comment section.

Robert Braeking

Jimmy Winston, If you direct a response to me I would hope that you would use my name so that I know that you did so. As far as The President's being wrong, it happens every day but not in a big way. He has been right more often than not. He is not infallible but neither is the Pope. His instincts are right on the money........If only he could be like me. I thought I was wrong once but I was mistaken.

Craig Mason

Whether you like him or not, the fact that he doesn’t understand how government works, is true.

Carlos Ponce

He understands how government works Craig.

Bailey Jones

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] Simple truths, soon to be re-labeled as "fake news".

Ray Taft

According to Gillentine: ”It can be called fake, but it can also be true.” What nonsense. Typical fake news!

If it’s fake; and most thinking people know it’s fake, then it isn’t true.

Taking a look at the whole story shows us that the fake news media is in bed with the Democrats and constantly does their bidding. They are no longer a Fourth Estate, keeping everyone honest, because they are the propaganda wing of the Democrats. Meaning the fake news media is not trying to be honest or trying to keep Democrats honest.

And the fake news media suffers mightily from Trump Derangement Syndrome, so they luv to spread fake news. They really don’t need to be paid to do it; they would do it for free.

Jim Forsythe

Simple truths, soon to be re-labeled as "fake news".

Ted Gillis

My question is, why does Donald Trump always have to make everything happening be about him?

His stunt yesterday, making that trip to the vandalized church across the street. What was that all about?

Glory stealing?

And holding up that bible. Really?

Call me a suspicious catholic, but whenever I see someone holding up a bible like that, my B.S. meter goes off.

Bailey Jones

Reporter: "President Trump - is that your Bible?"

Trump: "It is a Bible."

No prayers. No words of wisdom, No call for national healing. Just clear the streets, I need something to tweet.

Carlos Ponce

No words of wisdom? You weren't listening or your news service cut away too soon.

Trump did not carry a Bible to the church but someone shared his Bible with the President.

jimmy winston

“Words of Wisdom” from trump typically involve plagiarizing overt racists

Carlos Ponce

So you consider "This is a great country" racist?

Bailey Jones

So you consider "This is a great country" to be "words of wisdom"? I know Trump has really lowered the bar on discourse, but really?

Carlos Ponce

"This is a great country" coupled with much of what he said are words of wisdom.

Bailey Jones

Oh, well - let's just go through the whole transcript. We'll find those words of wisdom that you're so sure I missed:


It's a Bible. White House.

We have a great country. That's my thoughts. The greatest country in the world. It's going to be even greater. We will make it even greater. And it won't take long. It's not going to take long. You see what's going on. It's coming back. Its coming back strong. It'll be greater than ever before.

Come on over here, chief. (unintelligible gathering of sycophants for photo op)

OK, thank you very much. We have the greatest country in the world. Thank you very much everybody. We're going to keep it nice and safe."

Wow! If only there was Pulitzer Prize for "Words of Wisdom"! I take back everything I said, Carlos. You were right. This momentous speech was TOTALLY worth trampling on the constitutional rights of a few thousand Americans.


Carlos Ponce

"WORST PRESIDENT EVER." How's Jimmy Carter doing?

Bailey Jones

"How's Jimmy Carter doing?" I imagine he's still reading the Bible, teaching Sunday School, loving his wife of almost 75 years, and building homes for the poor, as the good Christian man that he is.

Carlos Ponce

"What was that all about?" To show the world that no vandal can destroy the Word of the Lord. It still remains.

What's wrong with holding up the Bible - the Word of the Lord? For decades as a lector I proceeded to the ambo with the lectionary held high behind the altar servers ahead of the priest in procession.

You're Catholic and yet you vote for candidates who don't see abortion as evil as defined by the Catholic church. I'm not going to judge you but ask you to think about your views next time you receive Holy Communion.

Charles Douglas

Child Pleeease! You have News people who have profected the art of lying! That's all they do! They lie without a cause or provocation! People like Don Lemon, and Wolf Blitzer are nothing but high profiled liars, who gets paid to do it! I think both of them and more are on XI JINPING'S payroll! I have never heard one word of criticism of China coming from any LEFTIST news people, because they are controlled by China! I thought Wolf Blitzer was going to be another Walter Cronkite, but to my surprise he is just another CNN hack paid to bring down Trump, and to destroy the exceptionalism of America by helping to make America to become a global puppet of China, or the European Union! That was what Obama wanted, and now it is what Biden wants to finish doing! They act like out of controlled ZOMBIES wondering around trying to destroy what others have lived for, worked for, and died for!

Ron Binkley

A lot of what comes out of Trump's mouth is not true. Thank you Twitter for adding a "fact check" label to his tweets. There is nothing wrong with backing up your statements with the facts and where you got them. That goes for everybody. I just hope Twitter doesn't cave and continues to make everybody accountable. Facebook should do the same.

Carlos Ponce

For their "Fact Checkers" they used a person, Yoel Roth, who referred to everyone in the Trump administration as NAZIs. A check of the so called fact checker proves he is very biased and a liar. A true fact check would show Trump was truthful. Even NPR revealed there is more mail-in fraud than in person voter fraud.

Joe Mancuso

And, once again, Carlos leaves out the sentence from the NPR article about in-person vs mail-in voting that states, "But they caution that both can be done safely and securely, and that election fraud is extremely rare in all instances.".

Carlos Ponce

It's on the link provided earlier, Joe. While it can be "done safely and securely" it isn't be done that way according to their findings.

Mike Zeller

Joe, thanks for "Fact Checking" Carlos Ponce.

Carlos Ponce

And someone should check Mike. I VOLUNTEER![beam]

Mike Zeller

"It's on the link provided earlier" and which link would that be? Time stamp?

Joe Mancuso

Mike, here's the link:

I called him out on this same article the other day when he cherry picked sentences from it in an attempt to provide support for his anti mail-in voting argument. And he's doing the exact same thing again. But, now he admits that the article says that mail-in and in-person voting "can be done safely and securely" (which is the sentence he left out before) but then he adds that "it isn't be done that way according to their findings.". I think he meant to say it isn't "being" done.

Read the article. I don't see where it says anything of the kind. In fact, the tone of the article is totally supportive of mail-in voting.

Here's the article from the other day when I called him out for cherry picking:

Carlos Ponce

The NPR link.

Carlos Ponce

If I provided the link to the entire article it's not "cherry picking".

Joe Mancuso

You obviously don't understand what cherry picking means. Thank goodness you were a math teacher.

Carlos Ponce

I fully understand the concept of "cherry picking."

Joe Mancuso

No, you obviously don't. Stick to math.

Carlos Ponce

Leftist Joe, I know exactly what "cherry picking" means.

Joe Mancuso

And there it is! Been waiting all day for you to admit that you're wrong by giving up and resorting to your juvenile name calling. Took longer this time. I'll have to do better next time.

Carlos Ponce

No, just gave you what you wanted. You love being called Liberal or Lefty Joe. It's so obvious![beam]

Joe Mancuso

I do like it when you resort to your standard deflections (name calling, playing the abortion card...) because when it happens it just shows that you realize that you have no further arguments to try and support your position. Carlos is one cherry picking son of a gun! Ooh, I like that, Cherry Pickin' Carlos!

Carlos Ponce


Diane Turski

Thank you for the simple, true Civics lesson refresher! It is clearly most needed at this especially partisan time in our history!!

Gary Miller

TC 1950. Total civics course. One page in leason book. "There are three equal divisions of US government. Two are elected, one is appointed." No explaining which is which or what each does. Leason was less than 5 minutes. Teacher took no questions.

Jim Forsythe

Again using OANN.

Ron Binkley

I believe Jimmy Carter is doing fine. His presidency was an up hill battle from the beginning. He has turned out to be one of the best diplomats that this country has seen. A MUCH better diplomat than a president.

Carlos Ponce

But he's still considered THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER.

Ron Binkley

Mark my words.......if Trump loses the election he will say it was because of mail-in ballot fraud. I guarantee it!

Carlos Ponce

Trump will win in November!

Bailey Jones

No doubt - after all, even when he won he lied about voter fraud.

Charles Douglas

I see another civil war coming! It will be another neighbor against neighbor, cousin against cousin, friend against friend! Joe Biden is already threatening to mess with the police if he wins! He says the police needs to start shooting at suspects' legs instead of center mass! Joe is camping out in Black churches, begging for the Black vote and will give nothing in return. He and Obama ignored the Historical Black Universities need for funding and that need was not addressed until Trump came to power! Joe Biden said Obama was the only clean cut African-American he knew, well spoken, and educated! Lolo. Now he thinks Blacks are obligated to vote for him when he has done absolutely nothing to deserve their vote! Mr. FLOYD'S brother said something in his speech to the rioters and looters yesterday that I concur with fully. He said to do your home work, and don't let anybody TELL you how to vote! I agree! Joe Biden has been a career politician for over forty years and I cannot think of one thing he has done to help Black people or minorities in general. If I am wrong, then I stand corrected!

Carlos Ponce

Trump did not lie.

Bailey Jones

No, Carlos, Trump didn't LIE. He just said something ("I won the popular vote if you deduct the MILLIONS of people who voted illegally") for which there was no supporting evidence at the time, or after a presidential commission spent months and $millions investigating it. But certainly not a LIE.

Such a fool. Such a tool. Worst President Ever.

Charlotte O'rourke

“So, when a reporter asks a question that you may think is rude, he is simply doing his job.

And that’s how we all find out who has been spending our hard-earned tax dollars on projects with which we may not approve.”

When government tries to shut up questions, it means you are onto something. There is nothing wrong with anyone asking questions.

Bailey Jones

"A coalition of sentiments is not for the interest of printers. They, like the clergy, live by the zeal they can kindle and the schisms they can create. It is contest of opinion in politics as well as religion which makes us take great interest in them and bestow our money liberally on those who furnish aliment to our appetite. So the printers can never leave us in a state of perfect rest and union of opinion. They would be no longer useful and would have to go to the plow." --Thomas Jefferson, 1801.

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