Every Monday, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: Does America Still Have A Free, Independent Media?
Stately McDaniel Manor: Our society has, without a doubt, a free, independent press. What it lacks is a responsible, ethical, professional press. The role of the press is no less potentially important than it was in the time of the Founders, but much has changed.
Some suggest that the digital age has fundamentally transformed the role of the media. Internet news sources, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, all mold opinion. The Legacy Media no longer have a monopoly on the news, or on opinion writing, for that matter. This has wrought changes, perhaps even opportunities: Donald Trump rode Twitter to the Republican nomination.
One thing, however, remains unchanged: we get precisely the press we deserve, just as we get the politicians we deserve. Think Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are a coincidence? A completely unexpected bolt from the blue? They are the logical, foreseeable consequence of a people who, for the most part, no longer understand or embrace the Constitution, the very principles and the rule of law that make America, America.
The Legacy Media have always had a leftist slant, but in the past, they angrily denied it, and if one of their own stepped too far over the line, they were roughly brought back into the fold, and in rare instances, fired. But the temptation to advocate rather than report–after all, the Legacy Media are elite, educated, smarter and more in the know than those they supposedly inform–became ever stronger, and before long–mere decades–the line became all but invisible, the consequences for crossing it, weaker and weaker until they have all but vanished.
Much of the Lamestream Media abandoned all pretense at objectivity with the first election of Barack Obama. They were no longer content with reporting history, they wanted to make it, and nearly everyone in their ranks became–if they were not already–a Democrat operative with a byline. Oh, they still argued their objectivity upon occasion, but ever more weakly.
Circa 2016, there is virtually no protestation of even-handedness. An Associated Press reporter, one Lisa Lerer, was present for an incident where Hillary Clinton potentially had a seizure of some kind. There have been numerous concerns about Clinton’s health, and several public instances of seizure-like behavior, but the media has responded primarily by declining to cover them. That has all changed, and surely represents the Media’s realization that Clinton does have serious health problems and needs their help to cover them. Ms. Lerer to the rescue!
Lerer, obviously with the blessing of the Associated Press, wrote a full-throated defense of Clinton, including a medical diagnosis of her unique fitness to be President that would have done a hired Clinton press flack proud.
Who needs people like neurologists or other medical professionals to testify to Clinton’s physical fitness to rule when we have the Associated Press!
Keep in mind that the AP is a wire service. Their content is sold to new organizations around the world, so if the AP is in the tank for Clinton, every newspaper, blog, or other media source that uses their material is also in the tank for Clinton, whether they realize it or not.
Surveys routinely reveal that 90% and more of reporters self-identify as Progressives/Democrats. They are independent and free to make that choice. What they are not is honest, objective, and trustworthy. We are, in part, responsible for that.
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason: While we still have a free independent media, what we are lacking is integrity in our journalists. Actually, it’s worse than that because they don’t even realize how biased they are.
The major media outlets employ journalists and reporters who graduate from progressive universities and colleges where they have been indoctrinated with a bias against traditional American values. Being immersed in the hatred and animosity against America and its perceived evils it becomes impossible for them to report on stories objectively. Returning to college to finish my bachelor’s degree I sought a notoriously liberal school and took an American Studies major with a focus on communication and media. I tell people I received a bachelor’s degree in Bitterness Studies. The focus in nearly every class was anti-American and pro-globalism and multiculturalism. Marxism is alive and well and producing good little communists on our college campuses. It is no wonder we have a generation of young adults who seem unable to cope with even the basic challenges of adulthood. The guilt and hopelessness of this generation is striking and I find it difficult to imagine them becoming well adjusted, happy, and competent contributors to our society.
Progressives need people who are dependent on government. Our progressive education system has destroyed their sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Today’s journalists regurgitate the party line because this is where they are made to feel safe and protected. To step outside this circle would mean suffering public humiliation, a useful tool of the left to keep people in line.
On a positive note, with the advent of the internet and the rise of independent news reporters and bloggers we are able to counter some of the leftist media. We do this because we are the truth tellers in a world we find full of corruption and media bias. We are not beholden to politicians and the progressive agenda which pervades the major media outlets. We are the pre-Revolutionary War pamphleteers of the twenty-first century. There are a lot of people who are still able to think critically and see what is happening in our country and as things become progressively more intolerable there will be more searching for the truth. We have taken on this task willingly and out of love for our country and our way of life. We are truly happy warriors.
We do have a free independent media for now, but I fear very soon we will not as the internet is being turned over to a global governing oversight entity. It may become very difficult to write as we do today in the near future. I hope I am wrong about this, but I don’t think I am.
Bookworm Room: If we define “freedom” to mean that the government cannot use coercion to force people into speech against their will, America still has a free media. America’s tragedy is that our media didn’t need force and coercion to abandon its commitment to truth. It did so voluntarily. So free? Yes. Honest? No.
JoshuaPundit: I’ve been a news junkie for a longtime…even dating back to the old pre-internet short wave days. It was an is fascinating to me to see how different news agencies in different countries would handle the same stories, and weight them in importance. Even in those days, there were news agencies that were obviously biased, and others whom prided themselves on their objectivity like the BBC. That, of course,is no longer true of the Beeb and a number of other institutions.
The change could be traced back as far as the 1940’s, when groups like the New York Teacher’s Union were heavily infiltrated by the communist party. It revved up during the ’60’s, when a number of red diaper babies and similar radicals infiltrated the university systems and many college administrators caved in to their demands to try and preserve civil order.But to me, the real tipping point was in 1972, when President Nixon ended the draft. The supposedly moral anti-war movement melted away, but the leaders and cadres went back to the university systems and became tenured radical professors.
There’s a reason people like Bill Ayers got so involved in education.
Because that’s the key to what’s going on with news media now. The Left controls education and has for some time.
American media has always had its partisan elements. In most sizeable towns, there was always a democrat and Republican paper. But the bias was up front and honest, and the competition was on a relatively level playing field. That’s not the case today.
Back when the nation’s press was a monopoly of three alphabet networks and a handful of influential big city newspapers, the bias towards the Left and the Democrats was there and always increasing, but the Old Guard who still maintained a modicum of journalistic standards kept it somewhat in check. As they retired and the new breed took over, the change became more and more apparent.
The introduction of talk radio and later, the internet exploded this monopoly for a time.
But thanks to social media. It’s reasserting itself again since these sites are pretty much controlled by the Left and they now control how news is weighted and what gets highlighted. Facebook, Twitter, and Google are actually suppressing conservative media and doing what the Leftist media has always done…not covering or hiding news stories and information that goes against their progressive agenda. Conservative activists have found themselves banned by Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or even worse, ‘shadow banned’ where the poster believes his or her content is being posted because he or she can see it on his page. They’re unaware no one else can.
Google is even more insidious. If you have an exact URL, you’ll get what you were looking for but they have altered the search algorithms so that if you merely do a general search on a topic that debunks the Leftist mythology what you’ll frequently see instead is a lot of articles taking the other side, with what you’re looking for frequently being buries several pages away if you’re lucky. You have to be extremely specific to find what you want, and many times that doesn’t even matter. This also applies to google images.
Want to fix the media and preserve the First Amendment? Fix education. It would take some intestinal fortitude, but it is by no means impossible.
If Mrs. Clinton is elected, look for a pervasive effort to neuter talk radio via the FCC and the internet using use taxes, ‘hate speech’ codes and high fees for the privilege of blogging. I hope I’m wrong about that.
Well, there you have it.
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And stay tuned for news on an exciting new development from the Watcher’s Council!
Trust me, you won’t want to miss it.