Friday, June 23, 2017

Megaphones

     The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. – H. L. Mencken

     In A Time For Action and A Time For Reflection, former Secretary of the Treasury William E. Simon’s followups to his extraordinary bestseller A Time For Truth, he devotes considerable attention to “the media megaphone:” the media’s special position in our national discourse, which it has used for decades to nudge the Overton Window ever further to the left. When President Gerald Ford mentioned Simon’s name as a possible vice-presidential running mate in 1976, Simon’s well known conservatism sent the press into a frenzy:

     It was fascinating and revealing to note how the mention of my name as a possible vice presidential candidate raised the volume of the media megaphone and lowered journalistic standards. Truth was less relevant than ever. With my conservative beliefs widely known, there was a deliberate effort to smear me as some kind of far right weirdo. The media seemed to go out of its way to print the most uncomplimentary photo they could find. In my case, it was a shot of me with slicked back hair and thick glasses, looking like some kind of space alien.
     Once Carol and I were accompanied by a reporter on the way to Andrews Air Force Base. A week later, Carol, who had heard every word of the interview, read his article in the paper.
     “This is terrible,” she said. “Number one, you never said any of those things. Number two, he never asked you about these things. It’s all a lie.”
     “Toots,” I said, “welcome to Washington. If you don’t speak to reporters, they will kill you. If you do, they will lie about you. It’s just the way it goes.”...
     One occasion in particular caused me to blow my stack. I got wind of a story that was being spread around Washington claiming that I had been engaged in laundering drug money while a senior partner at Salomon Brothers. I was told that this absurd story was being peddled by Mel Elfin, Newsweek’s bureau chief, and a reporter named Jim Bishop.
     I invited the pair to my office and asked Elfin for an explanation. He offered not a shred of fact(because there was none) to support this vicious rumor. Instead, he said that since I was a leading candidate for vice president, it was his job to smoke out whatever damaging information he could find about me. Floating stories like this, he said, was a way of getting people to come forth with information that journalists might not find through a normal , straightforward inquiry.
     “Even if it ruins a person’s reputation?” I asked incredulously. Elfin merely repeated his mantra, explaining that he had some sort of cosmic responsibility to investigate everybody and everything. I dared him to print his story. In the end, Elfin declined and the rumor disappeared, but not before he had spread it over a fairly wide field with his inquiries.

     [From A Time For Reflection]

     No better man than William E. Simon, dedicated public servant, devout Catholic, father of seven, and wizard of finance, has ever occupied a high Washington office. Even his political adversaries admired him – and not with the “admiration” of a bitter enemy for his conqueror’s prowess. Yet Newsweek was willing to smear him in the hope of impeding President Ford’s re-election campaign, or at least to keep a nationally recognized and admired conservative off the Republican ticket.

     That was 1976: forty-one years ago. The press has only grown more biased and less ethical since then.


     Today there are alternatives to what we in the Right derisorily call the “Main Stream Media” – talk radio, the Internet, and a few less potent organs – but the power of the MSM has yet to be broken. In part, that’s because its operators have a gift for discovering – or inventing – the sort of stories readers find irresistible. They certainly don’t let any notion of fairness or balance thwart them.

     Just now, with the Republican Senatorial caucus having brought its ObamaCare replacement to the floor, the MSM are trumpeting the most lurid, entirely fictional accounts of the bill. The tottering old crone of the bunch, the New York Times, is leading the charge. Here are its most publicized articles for today:

     Actual facts are thin on the ground in all four of those articles. Scan them for actual numbers; good luck finding ones that actually inform the reader about the bill. For example, no comparisons between levels of current Medicaid funding and those proposed by the AHCA are presented; only a brief mention – in an editorial! — of a limit to be imposed on the rate of increase. Yet only the last of those pieces is billed as an opinion piece. They’re pure scare talk, intended to frighten the constituents of GOP Senators into berating them out of supporting the bill.

     But people read scare talk; that’s why the MSM features so much of it. They tend to take it far more seriously than it deserves, which is how we got the (happily short-lived) wave of public alarm over “global warming.”


     It is no longer accurate to call the Main Stream Media institutions of “journalism.” Their aim is no longer to inform, but to direct and propel...and always in one particular direction. Whether the subject is the military, taxation, education, the environment, medicine, firearms, or school lunches, they direct their fire exclusively at conservatives and small-government advocates. The impact of this inclination cannot be denied.

     I am reminded of the Left’s public “rallies” of my younger days. There was always a “bullhorner:” an activist with a megaphone. He would rant through his device at such a volume that no one else could be heard for many yards around. The aim wasn’t to persuade; indeed, it wasn’t even to publicize. It was to prevent others from going their own way without the activist’s left-wing propaganda resounding in their skulls.

     Today, the megaphone is the Main Stream Media. They’re wholly at the service of the Left, which made colonizing and conquering them a principal priority decades ago. If there’s any prospect of reclaiming them for actual journalism, I can’t see it.

     They must be delegitimized and rendered impotent. But how?

4 comments:

The Exile said...

I've been saying for years: The Left has been happy to infringe upon our 2nd Amendment rights for decades. Perhaps it's time that we infringe upon their 1st Amendment rights.

"So my proposal is simple: If you're an organization that disseminates news, and you want to insist that you're unbiased, then you cheer for/attack both sides, Left and Right in approximate equal measure. You also hire an approximate number of "journalists" from both sides (since there really are no "moderates" in the game anymore, we can skip that part).

The alternative is to state your bias upfront or be shut down."

http://village-exile.blogspot.com/2016/12/why-not-first.html

J Bogan said...

Nooses and lamp posts?

Unknown said...

"They must be delegitimized and rendered impotent. But how?"
Some of my thoughts on "How?":

EVERY TIME you refer to someone who works for ANY of the "Mainstream News" outlets, remind the reader, or listener, that the referred to individual works for liars.
example: So, i saw an interesting story by Katy Scott, w/ CNN, about Dubai owning the "World's Fastest Police Cars", but you know she is writing for CNN, and so i don't know if this is fiction, and i couldn't find a cross reference at a car site, soooo, take it for what it's worth...",

Always refer to the Organizations as "Fake News", or some other pejorative term. EVEN and ESPECIALLY if the subject is NOT Political in Nature.
MSNBC says the Patriots won the Super Bowl, but you know how they polled the election, so...

Make it hurt a writer's career to have EVER toiled in one of those sweatshops, UNLESS they make a Public Apology. And, even then, NEVER let them forget it, lest they become "impenitent".
Yeah, Glenn Beck MAY have some good ideas, NOW, but let's not forget that he used to collect a CNN Paycheck, so keep a close eye on him, and be wary of him making any "Sudden Moves", and don't leave him alone with anyone...

We can never accept ever having worked for one of those outfits as a Badge of Honor. We should treat working at CNN, etc. at the VERY BEST as a Shameful Past, akin to willingly working in a German Brothel in '41. Yes, you can be forgiven, but any attempt to excuse this behavior should be loudly condemned as attempting to corrupt the youth.

Insert "forgive 'n' forget" argument here...

OK i get it. I can already here you saying that we should be above all this, and we should show Christian Charity at all times, "Forgive and Forget..", and so forth. I think this is backwards. It puts the Missionaries and Doctors ahead of the Soldiers, before the fighting is over. Win the fight first, them Minister to the wounded.

Even, and especially, AFTER we win.

just my thoughts.
thank you!
-caleb

C Colson said...

I have to disagree.
This sounds too much like breaking the 1st Commandment, to Support the 6th.
I suggest that the rule proposed will be used against the "Good Guys" and nearly never against the "Bad Guys".
The 1st Amendment should be used against them, in the best way possible. When they say something stupid, point and laugh. Remember when they say stupid stuff. Link to it, screenshot it, whatever, so that when they try to present a "reasonable argument" you can remind readers that this is the same snowflake that says "all men are rapists", or some other such nonsense... Ridicule is better than Restrictions, if we like the Bill of Rights...