What’s Wrong with the News Industry?

(Part Two of Seven)

by S. Talmond Brown, copyright © September 3, 2018

Enemy of the People?

Now, in the wake of being dubbed, “The enemy of the people” an opportunity presents itself as a teachable moment for that part of the news industry that has lost the trust of a large block of the population. The problem is a very serious one. Many people will not go so far as to say something so broad as “The Media is the enemy of the people” and yet they may be quick to say that at least a large part of the media is no friend of the truth. In the information age, there is no hiding the truth for those who actively search for it, but lies for the intellectually lazy are available everywhere for public consumption. We are at a “critical mass” of news consumers who no longer just believe everything they are told by some authoritative looking news source. As a source of candor and perspective, mainstream news sources have become a dry well. For often-repeated lies, they have become merely redundant.

Conservatives often find it ironic when leftists complain about alternative news sources being biased in favor of conservatives. Such complaints remind me of a rude house guest that eats up all the pancakes made for morning breakfast before the children come to the table, then complains when the host makes more pancakes and only serves the children. Liberals have had a monopoly of influence over the minds of citizens for a long time! Why should conservatives divide their scant portion with those who have already had far more than their fair share? Fox News and other conservative news sources only exist to be the counter-balance to the preexisting leftism of major news outlets that have had a monopoly for so long. Rush Limbaugh has famously said, “I don’t need to give equal time—I AM equal time!” Similarly, Fox News has dropped the slogan “fair and balanced.”

Fox News does not need to be “balanced.” because it IS the balance to the preexisting monolithic left. It is that pancake made to replace what greedy demagogues have eaten—that voice of conservatism that has long been censored from the leftist media. If you find that unseemly, look in the mirror and notice your own warts and wrinkles! And how does anyone judge “balance” when speaking to extremists? Do extremists even know that they are extremists? If the Flat Earth Society had a convention in your town, and a reporter made a fool out of one of them on camera, should the news look for a flat-earther that can win a debate on that issue? Our worldviews are based largely on the contagion of what we see and hear and who gets most of our attention. Just provide a platform for accountability and let ideas stand or fall on their own merits. Responsible thinkers will embrace accountability. Charleton’s will run from it.

The Hate-narrative is the Enemy

Liberals and Conservatives, Republicans and Democrats have coexisted for a long time. There was a time when people of different political views did not view each other as “the enemy.” You may remember the days when we would sit around and argue about politics and values and say to each other “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” But it’s not that way anymore and the conflict is no longer just about words and ideas. The Hate-narrative against conservatives is getting so shrill it is inspiring violence. Now conservative Republicans and Policemen are getting shot. Average people can’t wear a “Trump” hat without fear of getting assaulted. Many people will not admit to voting for Trump because they fear retaliation, losing a job, losing friends, or even physical assault.

Free speech is now under attack, with college students rioting, conservative speaking engagements canceled, and conservatives being shouted down because of the hate-narrative against conservatives has risen to such a fever pitch. The disastrous eight years of Obama woke this country up, so that voters actually feel threatened—not just with losing an election, but with losing the country. Trump’s greatest asset was his apparent willingness to fight the hate-narrative of the left, and go after Hillary and the criminals that surround her. Much of the population sees this hapless, artless, non-politician as just what is needed to help deliver us from the nightmare scenarios that “Crooked Hillary” and her administration would surely portend, not just by defeating her, but by rooting out that dangerous hornet’s nest of corruption that the deep state has become.

Trump got elected simply because people have become terrified of the hate-narrative and the “deep state” that seems to control it. The deep state is that low profile body of government officials with the power to hurt people in various ways, control the news, and unfairly influence elections. The power of the deep state is the power to rig a primary election in favor of Hillary Clinton, shutting Bernie Sanders out. It is the power of the IRS to deny tax-exempt status to conservative organizations.  It is the power of a liberal politician to have political enemies targeted for a tax audit.

The deep state’s power is also the power of low profile officials to shield a favored candidate from prosecution for crimes that everyone now knows were definitely committed. The power of the deep state is the power to get away with numerous illegalities and violations of due process, to enable one party to reverse the results of a free election. I could go on and on. These people that subvert constitutional rights and due process should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But the journalists that we once trusted to expose this vast corruption have gone to sleep because the offenders don’t belong to the right party. They just pitch in and enable them.

There are ways to remove corrupt politicians from office, prosecute them, and put them in jail. It is much harder to punish a corrupt Journalists because journalists enjoy a high level of immunity from legal intimidation. It is virtually impossible to sue a journalist over a libelous story, even if that story provokes a violent reaction that ends up killing someone. That is as it should be because if it were not that way, the press would be controlled by those who wield the most power to intimidate journalists with lawsuits or potential jail time.

But journalists that carry the water for partisan lies well deserve to be criticized and to be discredited by other journalists, or by the public in general, or by politicians. A truly free press is its own check and balance. A government controlled press is not a free press, even if the press self-censors and succumbs to one-party influence voluntarily. Criticism is a free society’s only defense against the Hate-narrative of a partisan and unethical press.

The news networks might have better luck convincing people that they are not the enemy of the people if they acknowledge that those who call them “fake news” might actually have a point. The news industry should recognize and celebrate the people’s right to express an opinion. Criticism is all the people have to keep the industry honest.

Don’t you wish someone had criticized “Der Sturmer” a little earlier in the Weimar Republic of Germany? Maybe Hitler would have never risen to power if Hindenburg stood up to those unethical journalists and said: “you’re fake news!” Like Hindenburg, Trump has as much right to criticise partisan journalists as journalists have to criticise him. Hindenburg was a dignified old statesman who would not stoop to engage the press on this level.

Trump, on the other hand, being the bull in a china closet that he is, has decided to engage the purveyors of half-truth and hatred and call them out. That is a good thing for conservatives who see the mainstream media evolving into a more subtle version of Der Sturmer, with some of the same talking points and only a slightly less acerbic hate-narrative than that which was first foisted on Jews in Germany. I think it is high time to start voicing a few objections. That does not make conservatives the enemy of the free press, any more than it made critics of “Der Sturmer” the enemy of the free press. The real threat to a free press is the press itself and today’s Democrat party leaders.


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