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Press Sez to Democracy: Drop Dead!

Those who've been to a class in journalism will tell you that there is alot of discussion about the role of ethics in the world of journalism. Should a journalist have an opinion, they are admonished to do their level best to keep it to themselves.

There are lots of reasons for this, but the one I want to talk about is this:

The press and the world of journalism has a role to play in liberal democracy, a role every bit as important as the constitution, and the branches of representative government.

Sounds obvious? Sure, but stay with me here. The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to ensure that a legal framework exists to protect the expression of ideas. It also exists to ensure that an independant non-government "agency" exists to provide a check against tyranny.

In other words, the press exists to help put a check on unrestrained institutional power. Free people, with free access to information are in the best postion to vote, which is the deadman brake on the will of the tyrant in a free society.


What if the power of the press itself has become corrupt?

Imagine living in a small town along a major highway, where the law is administered by a sheriff and two deputies who are all related to each other. Imagine that the county judge is also related to the sheriff. It's a small town, everyone knows everyone else, everyone likes everyone just fine. No ones is too rich or too poor, the government and leading citizens are largely made up of the familes who orginally settled in the area.

One day, people from out of town rent a home on the edge of town. They keep to themselves. Occasionally the neigbors complain of a noxious unexplainable odor of chemicals comes wafting from the home. Eventually, the local sherrif decides to stop by and investigate.

Surprisingly, nothing happens. The sheriff gives a plausible explanation that the new folks are just amature photographers who were having a problem with their developing room.

Time goes by, The sherrif and his deputies are seen with new cars and buying new homes that their salaries can't possibly support. The strangers move in town with increasing ease. More strangers arrive, more homes begin to emit the odor.

Eventually, someone crosses the strangers and ends up dead. The sherrif says " suicide", but you dont know how you can commit suicide, but shooting yourself 12 times. With a shotgun. One that only carries two rounds.

It becomes clear to all, that the town is being used as a place to create and move methamphetamines. Whats worse, the towns governmental power now is owned wholly by the gang.

The sherrif has taken sides. He's decided what the law should be. You dont have any more say in the matter. The result is that even though all of the institutions of liberal democracy are in place, but they no longer work. They have all been paid to look the other way.

We've always worked with the assumption that the press, being a part of the open marketplace was incorruptible. I'm here to argure that the press of today has become as corrupted as the small town sheriff in the previous example. The press is no longer just biased, it has actually taken sides. The side they have taken is not the liberal side, the press has taken its own side. That side is opposed to everything liberal democracy stands for. The press, in its desire to "make the world a better place" is willing to do whatever it takes to stop their greatest enemy from achieving power. Their enemy is not George W. Bush, The enemy is you and I. George W. Bush is just the totem around which they all rally. When they laugh at George Bush, they are really laughing at you and I.

The press is no longer simply favoring the Democratic candidate but is actively campaigning for "their man". While thousands of man hours were spent looking for George Bushs National Guard pay stubs, they cant be bothered to even open a book that says that Kerry might not be the hero he claims to be. Agencies that report the "Christmas in Cambodia" story are threatened with lawsuits if any unfavorable information is released. Someone said something about a "chill wind" blowing but its not coming from Washington D.C. ,its coming from Hollywood, and New York.

When the Administration issues a terror alert, the press questions the timing of the alert, more concerned with how the alert affects "their man" rather than help inform the populace of the gathering threat against the country.

When the Administration says to citizenry "Be aware of suspicious behavior" the press says " racism! Bigotry". The effect is to allow our enemies uneffered access to the country, and further weaken our defenses.

While economic news is decidedly better than it was during the end of the first term from the previous Clinton adminsitration, the press has decided that we are in conditions equivalent to 1933, where soup lines are the only source of food for most Americans. While no country on earth can match the American ecomony who while saddled with the cost of war still outperforms every other country on earth, The press tells Americans that the "situation is grave" and that we should all fear for our jobs.

While 60 countries as varied as Poland and Japan fight side by side with Americans to bring liberty to an abused and neglected populace in the middle east, the press will only discuss the Franco-Prussian non-participation.

While Hugo Chavez has flow in Cuban troops to restore order and supress the vote in venezuela, the press talks about the Ashcroft Patirot act, while neglecting to remind that the Senate and House voted for it. The impression is given that the Patriot act was done by imperial edict.

When a corrupt govenor annouces that he will resign from office (someday)because he as had an extramarital affair, with a man, the press applauds his expression of sexuality. When a good man runs for office who has had a divorce, the press insists that the divorce records are public record, despite both parties in the divorce insisting that they stay closed. The result is that two kids learn something about their parents that no kids needs to learn and the skids are greased for "their man" to win. A good man is shamed for a private act, while a bad man is applauded for his.

Ladies and gentleman, the press of today is no longer about journalism and providing information to perform its duties within a liberal democracy.

This is thuggery.


August 13, 2004 at 06:48 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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» Journalism As Thuggery from Interested-Participant
I was pointed to a new blog called Varifrank by Frank Martin who has written an excellent post on the current state of the journalism profession. Frankly (no pun intended), I wish I had written it. [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 15, 2004 4:33:06 AM

» All the "News" that prints, has fits... from Who Tends the Fires
The Word for the Day is: "Imploding" Varifrank asks "Didja ever wonder when it was that Democrats became the conservatives and Republicans became the liberals?". It happened around 1968, Vari, around 1968... PLUS: "The sherrif has taken sides". Today's... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 24, 2004 11:21:39 PM


Actually, it's not thuggery.

It's diabolical disorientation.

Posted by: Lizzie | Aug 13, 2004 7:08:15 PM

If my local law enforcement were ignoring crank cookers, I'd call the EPA in. There is far less corruption in Federal law enforcement than the lower echelons, but I'd hate to run up against it by calling in the DEA on killers.

There was a community where the sheriff who had been in cahoots with the moonshiners during prohibition was still in power after WWII. The veterans' reform slate had to take up arms to get the ballots counted. This is probably the best example in U.S. history of the 2nd Amendment's intended function. Athens Tennessee, 1946; there are multiple references online.

Posted by: triticale | Aug 13, 2004 8:40:38 PM

Whom does one call when the press is corrupt? Fox news doesn't have enforcement powers. Information consumers can only turn to substitutes as more of their numbers learn of the obvious press bias'.

Welcome Frank, it's my first visit. You've furnished the place rather nicely.

Posted by: Gary B | Aug 21, 2004 5:25:54 PM

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