Democracy Dies In Conspiracy

Conservatives, especially conservatives who are “out” critics of the mainstream media, get routinely accused of “hating” journalism. The late Nick Coleman was particularly, er, “acerbic” in his criticism of those who had the gall to criticize the news/industrial complex, claiming in one bout of hysteria that bloggers “wanted to kill the Strib”.

While we correctly savaged the Strib, and especially Coleman, on issue after issue, it was still baked wind. Self-government, small-“D” democracy, needs a functional, and above all trustworthy, media (among many other institutions) to survive.

And by “”trustworthy”, we mean “can be trusted to report the news, truthfully, regardless of its own institutional and individual political opinions.

In Europe, the media are pretty honest about their political points of view, on an editorial level; the Times of London and the Frankfurter Allgemeine are center-right; Guardian and Die Zeit and Le Monde are all various degrees of left. You know the slant before you pick up the paper. You can account for it.

American media has built a myth of objectivity, or at least of being a so-called “neutral voice”, around itself; Minnesota Public Radio news even made “No Rant, No Slant” their motto for a while, and it’s not much different than the mythology American media built for itself over the past hundred years or so. In my freshman year journalism class,

And it’s never really been true. Some journos do in fact do their best to separate their personal views, of course – I’ve got nothing but respect for the best of them.

Many journalists also do their best, but inevitably reflect the fact that their entire frame of reference is left-of-center. Their education, their workplace, their social circle, are an ecosystem where some variety of The Left is the old, current and future Normal. When they confront a different point of view, they can seem a little like Jane Goodall venturing out among the gorillas.

And when things are chugging along like normal, who cares, right?

The New Abnormal . But then something pops up that threatens the order, and not in a good way. What then?

The media has been rightly seen as slanted to the left for close to fifty years. With the rise of talk radio and alternative news 30 years ago, you could sense that the “elite” media were starting to give up on the pretense of balance and detachment. The notion of the “neutral voice” has been

But with the election of President Trump, the floodgates got dynamited.

The “neutral voice”, isn’t.

“Oh, Mitch – you and your hyperbole”.

No. Not at all.

The Gatekeepers Speak: “On the Media” is a production of WNYC Radio in New York. It’s a public station, one of the flagship station in the National Public Radio chain. Like a lot of NPR productions, sometimes it’s excellent. Sometimes the smug rolls off it like fog off a loch.

And sometimes, it accomplishes its mission – which in the case of “On the Media”, is to serve as the exposed id of the “elite” media in this country.

With that in mind: this show was broadcast on December 1, 2016 – probably as fast as could be put together on NPR timelines. It had four segments:

  1. The first gazed navel-ly about “how the media should cover President Trump“. Because conveying the facts and letting the audience make up their own mind was presumably not good enough anymore.
  2. How talking about Trump “Normalizes” him – unless the media changes the rules when discussing him. This featured reprentatives, not from The Nation and Slate.com or Buzzfeed or Samantha Bee. No, they were from the NYTimes and Washington Post. That led to another segment…
  3. How the language itself needs to be understood, and harnessed.
  4. And, lest the foregoing was too oblique for the casual listener, a segment linking the (as yet unstarted) Trump administration to Putin’s variety of autocracy, and laying out the imperative for the media to use it’s power to prevent “Normalizing” the president-elect.

And the media’s behavior in the three and a half years since has mapped to that template, as the media has grasped at every possible straw to try to “take down” the President.

We didn’t even need to get this leaked to us, like ‘Journo-list’ – although I suspect I may have been the only conservative listening to that groaningly pompous program, and I suspect that’s WNYC’s assumption as well.

TL:dr – At least some of the people at the apex of the “layers and layers of gatekeepers” have abolished the old rules of journalism, publicly but yet internally, as re Donald Trump.

The “elite” media’s entire coverage of Trump over the past four years, on every issue, has followed the template that’s suggested, sub rosa, in the four On the Media pieces above.

Will the rules change back when Trump leaves office? Of course not – the media had the same general attitude toward Republicans, conservatives and the issues of the right for a generation before 2016.

But the institutional imperative to use the media’s power toward political and social ends? That’s not going to end.

Distrust, but verify. And then, almost inevitably, if some smidgeon of partisan politics is involved, distrust some more.

15 thoughts on “Democracy Dies In Conspiracy

  1. It’s not the savaging of right leaning American politicians that bothers me about the msm, it’s the deliberate gaslighting of degenerate, leftist reprobates.

    It’s the NPR formula. They’re not lying outright, they practice the lie of omission, and that’s worse. I can FACTCHECK what they report but I’m left in the dark about what they cover up.

  2. Good comments all. Interesting.

    In Europe, the media are pretty honest about their political points of view,

    As for newspapers, this is because they were associated with specific parties. The ones on the right and middle strongly favored one certain party, while ones on the left were actually just party megaphones. You self-identified your politics by the newspaper you purchased/read.

    The radio as a media outlet pretended to be and perhaps was completely neutral. The old BBC King’s English 10 o’clock news image. The very early days of TV were the same.

    This was true up through the 70s and 80s, but nowadays it is all done and gone. The very same Gramscian “march through institutions” that occurred here in the journalism schools has also occurred in Europe. It is probably possible to hire young graduates with a more middle-of-the-road viewpoint (at least as far as they will admit in an interview), but the bulk of the j-school product is the very same ignorant, poorly educated but well indoctrinated changers of the world that we have here. There is no one else to hire.

    Perhaps the Times of London and the Frankfurter Allgemeine gravitate to the center-right, but I doubt it very much. Over the 20 years, I’ve watched the transition of the Danish Jutland Post (the one that published the cartoons of Mohammed) from a center-right publication to a Danish Strib. I doubt it was a unique phenomenon.

  3. Can you imagine Edward R. Morrow penning a story suggesting Roosevelt’s fireside chats were propaganda, and that he should be silenced?

    These reprobates are surely aware that they are loathed by 1/3 of the country; they don’t care. But when will they realize another 1/3 may not loath them, but take them for abject liars, and that the encouragement they receive comes from the most deranged, fetid pool of degenerates in the swamp?

  4. In Europe, the media is more upfront about its bias, and that’s helpful. I just keep trying to decide if CNN is more like Pravda, or Izvestia.

  5. Sometimes the poor little darlins just can’t help themselves and some truth slips out. I think its called a Kinsley gaffe, the latest being the plea for the lamestream mediots to not air President Trumps briefings. I mean, how are they going to spin/lie if the truth is available. Like Nazi Pelosi cramming the stimulus bill (the bill that might just prevent a depression if done right) with union collective bargaining crap, globull climate bs, and corporate board affirmative action laws. 1,440 pages worth. And the New York Slimes headline is that it is Mitch McConnell’s fault the bill is stalled.

    These things cannot stand, we cannot go forward as one nation with these lying pieces of crap in the positions they now hold.

  6. In Europe, the media is more upfront about its bias

    I’d like to understand this better. I don’t find the media in Europe to be at all upfront about their bias. They used to be, insofar as they admitted being representative of their parties, but I don’t find them to be upfront at all anymore.

  7. The twitter feeds of many of these “journalists” shows that they are ignorant and incurious.
    And these days it seems that every “news” story has to have at least two (and often three or four) bylines. You are literally getting a corporate narrative.
    A half century ago, a journalist was likely to be male and to have learned his craft in the military or by getting a degree in English from a state college. Social background was highly varied.
    These days a journalist is more likely to be female than male, to have done nothing other than attend a j-school, and to have come from a middle class or higher family. Their opinions are openly expressed in what are supposed to be “news” articles (who, what, why, where, when), and their opinions are all the same.

  8. Why are media exempted from stay-at-home orders? All they do is talk and write.

  9. These leftist slobs are really domestic terrorists.

    Trump and his team are on Fox right now for a “town hall”. While he’s been on air, the DJIA jumped +1600. The market is full of smart people that react to what they think dumb people will do at any given time. Every time a leftist domestic terrorist gets national airtime, they spread lies and panic, so the market tanks.

    I think it’s time for Trump to start rounding up leftist domestic terrorists, and send them to Guantanamo for the duration. Perhaps even apply a touch of water therapy to get their sick minds right.

  10. One on one between Bill Hemmer and Drumpf. Drumpf dragged Cuomo by his ear..DJIA now up +1900 10% boost in one day.

  11. Here’s a sample of what you’ll see on domestic terrorist sites…in this case, VOX.

    “WHO says a third of the newest coronavirus cases worldwide are in the US”

    “Bill Gates says we can’t restart the economy soon and simply “ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner”

    “How we know ending social distancing will lead to more deaths, in one chart”

    “Trump’s tweet about Asian Americans and coronavirus failed to acknowledge his own xenophobia”

    “6 reasons to be skeptical of Trump’s calls to reopen the economy ”

    Any word of the epic surge in the market today? Hell no. These degenerates are actively and energetically working to destroy the American economy.

  12. The highest ranks of elite media, announce before Trump is sworn in that they will not cover the Trump presidency fairly. They follow through with this. And then they wonder people think that they are not treating Trump fairly.
    Dumbest. Elites. In history.

  13. BTW, market closed ^2112 points +11.4%

    Domestic terrorists sad.

  14. Today’s market rally was the biggest since 1933.

    DRINK!

  15. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 03.25.20 (Morning Edition) : The Other McCain

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