Mundane media bias is so yesteryear.
One benefit of the intact Soviet empire back until the early 1990s is that it provided a clear contrast between state-controlled media and what was relatively distinctive in the west. For some reason, the existing hard-state media control in places like China and North Korea don’t seem to interest Americans that much—”they’re Asians,” or something. But the USSR was a white-guy superpower, and state control of the media narrative was something our own outlets even reported on, to illuminate a rather stark contrast.
“Speaking Truth to Power” was a slogan that actually meant something and could be demonstrated, even as imperfect as it often was.
But not for a long time, now. Western media outlets have since sought to fill a void left by the “glory days” of a Pravda that was an arm of the leftist manifestation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). It’s arguable, at this point, that explicit legislative or even Constitutional control of the media in the United Socialist States Republic (USSR) would be a good thing at this point.
For, it might remind them of their traditional and cherished purpose. After all, they came up in Constitutional amendments first, before guns—perhaps under the theory that if they were strong, we would never need to resort to the guns, and revolution. It’s their 1st Amendment dereliction that makes the 2nd Amendment so crucial, now.
The Main Pravda Media collusion with the left is now so flagrant and explicit that there’s increasingly less pretense proffered toward the lie of objectivity. It’s starting to make Fox News look good, and I’ve been taking some of it in lately, sensing that what I see on their part is an opportunity to fill a professional journalist vacuum in a number of cases in various time slots.
Remember Sharyl Attkisson? She was a CBS News investigative journalist doing her job punching Bush’s administration and gained fame, fortune, and advancement for that. When Obama took office and she just continued in her profession like a journalist ought, her reportage kept getting buried.
She has an astounding, devastating post up: Newsgate 2016. You should read it, but let me do a TL;DR:
Regardless of who is your chosen – or least favorite – presidential candidate, independent minds should be concerned about the latest revelations in the news media’s unseemly relationships with government and political actors. While there are many responsible journalists working today, inside documents and leaks have exposed serious lapses constituting the most far-reaching scandal our industry has known. It’s our very own Newsgate.
Compromised reporting has always existed as a result of covert collaborations between reporters and political officials—Democrats and Republicans alike. For example, in my new book out next year, The Smear, I’ll report on instances of improper collusion that surfaced during the Bush administration. The most recent available evidence is heavy on Democrat-ties due to the nature of the available documents and leaks.
It can be argued that some individual accounts can be rationalized and are not serious breaches of ethics. But taken as a whole, it’s easy to see how we as journalists have done a poor job protecting ourselves from being co-opted by organized interests, often ones that are paid and politically-motivated. Whether we realize it or not, they’ve figured out how to exploit the media and use us to publish their propaganda. It implies a broad and growing trend that has seriously undermined the credibility of the news industry.
Opinion reporters and those who work for obviously ideological news groups are entitled to publish party propaganda. It’s one matter to provide viewpoint journalism. But it’s quite another for us to act as a tool of any interest, publishing narratives or talking points upon suggestion or demand, without disclosing we’ve done just that.
All following points are quotations from Ms. Attkisson’s linked article.
- The State Department considered AP reporters Matt Lee and Bradley Klapper “friendlies,” and planned to “place” Hillary Clinton email stories with them and dictate the timing of their release.
- Marc Ambinder from The Atlantic, asked a Hillary Clinton aide for advance text of a speech. The aide dictated “conditions,” including “1) You in your own voice describe [Hillary’s words] as ‘muscular’,” to which Ambinder agreed. Ambinder formerly worked for ABC, CBS and National Journal.
- CNBC anchor John Harwood, who moderated a presidential debate between Trump and Clinton, appears to have offered helpful thoughts and analyses to the Clinton campaign.
- The Clinton campaign emailed that CNN politics producer Dan Merica and Clinton were “basically courting each other.” In an email, Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile (then a CNN contributor) said she obtained an advance presidential debate question and passed it on to the Hillary campaign. The question was later asked in a March 13 Democratic presidential town hall including Democrat Bernie Sanders and co-hosted by CNN.
- Ken Dilanian, who covered the CIA for the LA Times, explicitly promised positive news coverage and sometimes sent the CIA press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication, according to the Intercept, which obtained internal CIA emails and called Dilanian “the CIA’s mop-up man.” Dilanian now works for AP.
- “Media Matters staff had the direct line of MSNBC president Phil Griffin, and used it,” a Media Matters source told Daily Caller. “If we published something [negative] about Fox in the morning, [MSNBC would] have it on the air that night verbatim. We were pretty much writing their prime time. But then, virtually all the mainstream media was using our stuff.”
- “Brian Stelter at the New York Times [now at CNN] was helpful,” in publishing the Media Matters narrative, a source told Daily Caller. New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich gave Hillary Clinton the opportunity to approve or veto her quotes. He later explained that was because he agreed to make the original interview on-the-record and required her approval to use selected pieces of it.
- Staffers at Media Matters say they “knew they could dump stuff to Ben Smith [formerly of Politico now editor-in-chief at Buzzfeed.com],” according to Daily Caller. “Ben Smith will take stories and write what you want him to write.” Politico chief investigative reporter Ken Vogel emailed soon-to-be-published story to Democratic National Committee official Mark Paustenbach “per agreement” and invited his “thoughts.” Paustenbach gave the draft to the DNC’s head of communications, Luis Miranda. “Vogel gave me his story ahead of time/before it goes to his editors as long as I didn’t share it,” Paustenbach told Miranda.
- Democratic National Committee officials discussed “placing” a story with the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent to put a positive spin on some bad news for Hillary Clinton. The goal was “to make sure the first story out of the gate is as helpful as possible,” according to a DNC official. “But, the specific reporter is not as important as getting it to an outlet before the news breaks so we can help control the narrative on the front end. Otherwise this may likely get spun in a not-so-helpful way. We should also get Rep. [Elijah] Cummings on the phone with that reporter.” The email continues, “…can we please consider giving Sargent the first bite to get a good first story out there? Can I have him call you? We had been working him for weeks in general on writing up something positive, we think he’d play ball.”
- A window into how political interests, including super PACs, work to influence and manipulate the news is found in an internal Clinton campaign memo published on Wikileaks this month. In it, the Hillary Clinton super PAC “Correct The Record” boasts it had placed 21 “strategic memos” with the media that “led to stories in a number of news outlets including National Journal, Politico, USA Today, MSNBC and The Hill.” Correct The Record has joined other pro-Hillary Clinton groups founded by Clinton surrogate David Brock, including Media Matters and the American Bridge super PAC, in attacking Clinton’s opponents. Correct The Record’s targets have included Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump.
None of the foregoing would or should be alarming in the context of citizens, groups, communities, co-ops, charities, churches, or even businesses looking out for their own interests and trying to persuade others; and lying, slight, innuendo, and all the other tricks are grab bag.
You can’t have word or thought police.
The general media is a different story. While they exist like any other business—you pay them—it may not be direct, but you buy products and services advertised, and their business that you support by those purchases is fraudulently touting itself. It’s not criminal, since it’s not direct fraud, but it’s fraud in a moral, ethical sense of the deal.
But this is only a poor diversion from the essential point:
They are literally the very 1st Amendment, affirming special and particular rights that were deemed essential for this little “experiment” of a nation built on Enlightenment ideas and principles rather than birthright and conquest.
They ought be ashamed at how they’re just whore-like, voluntarily in the pay of King George, now.