Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Call Them What They Are

     The “legacy media.” The organs that were once the only conduits through which “news” reached the general public. The institutions that viewed the pictures, decided which ones we should be shown, and consigned the rest to the ever-so-aptly named “morgue.” The gaggles of reporters, editors, and publishers who exercised the Olympian privilege of deciding what We the People “need to know,” and made sure we were deluged with it.

     They liked that perch. They particularly liked that no one could take it from them, owing to the high cost of operation and a shield for broadcast-media privilege called the Federal Communications Commission. Barriers to entry are nice that way, especially when buttressed by ample propaganda.

     The Left saw the value in the privilege of unchallenged one-way communications, so they infiltrated the news oligopoly and worked to ensure that only “their sort” were thereafter admitted to its halls. And like the Fabians, “their sort” moved slowly but steadily, taking ground a little at a time and never surrendering an inch. Neanderthals like Rowland Evans and Robert Novak were eased out; persistent voices such as Jack Kilpatrick were sidelined into farcical “features” where they would be outshouted by a strident, graceless Leftist.

     It was a good gig. It allowed the Left to tell the public what we “ought” to be told. Even more important, it allowed the Left to keep us from hearing “dangerous” ideas and voices that crosscut what they, in their unquestioned judgment, deemed “news.” And it worked very well for them, until the rise of the alternative media made possible by cablecasting, digital communications, and the partial deregulation of radio breached their protective wall.

     The new media’s stories came from reporters the Left could not disqualify. Its content went to the consumer completely unfiltered. The legacy media oligopoly could no longer rule on who could say what to whom, or with what substantiation. It could not pick and choose among stories or sources. Things got out of hand...that is, out of the Left’s hands. Something had to be done, but what?

     The answer they arrived at was to prattle about “reliability” and “journalistic ethics.” The legacy media operates by a code, you see. Its reporters are schooled in a tradition of sacred responsibility to the public. Its mechanisms ensure that only carefully verified facts are reported to the public. Layers and layers of fact-checkers and editors, all supremely protective of their publication’s good name and vigilant against anything that might tarnish it.

     I think all the chrome has been rubbed off that old jalopy, don’t you, Gentle Reader?

     Apologies for the above. I had a lot of sarcasm built up and ready to spill over, so I chose this subject as a fitting receptacle. I’ve become very impatient with folks who say “Believe it because I’m telling you so, and ignore anyone who disagrees.” Or in the Firesign Theater’s formulation:

You can trust me,
Because I never lie,
And I’m always right.

     That’s the line the legacy media have been feeding us since their mid-Sixties campaign against “Pay TV” – i.e., cablecasting. And if I refuse to accept it from the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, I’ll be damned if I’ll take it from a self-nominated flock of ideologues bitter about the emergence of competition.

     Monopolies and cartels of information dissemination are infinitely more dangerous than monopolies in other sorts of commerce. When such institutions preen themselves about their “ethics,” a smart American puts one hand on his wallet and the other on his gun. Especially when its agenda becomes impossible to conceal:

     But “fake news” is tame in light of the media’s misleading, destructive, and willfully ignorant reporting last week that was intended further to inflame a divided body politic.

     Some of the lowlights featured MSNBC morning host Joe Scarborough, claiming Trump has done more damage to the country than the 9/11 terrorists; the editorial board of a major newspaper blaming Trump for Hurricane Florence; the wholesale acceptance of a highly flawed paper about hurricane deaths used to bash the president; and a despicable crusade not just to quash Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, but to destroy his reputation and damage his young family.

     And it wasn’t just the dependable lunatics on the Left pushing trash commentary. Bret Stephens, the NeverTrump “conservative” columnist for the New York Times, compared Trump to a drug addict. Washington Post “conservative” blogger Jennifer Rubin warned that if Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) voted to confirm Kavanaugh, their names would be, “as was the case with [Nazi-era traitor] Vidkun Quisling—synonymous with ‘sellouts,’ ‘collaborators,’ or, to use a Trumpism, ‘phonies.’”

     As the week came to a close, the New York Times was forced to append its misleading article that criticized U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley for buying pricey curtains to decorate her official residence. The window coverings, it turns out, actually were purchased by her predecessor in the Obama Administration. But it was too late. Social media had pounded Haley all morning for being extravagant and heartless.


     This is why Americans, in a recent poll, cited inaccuracy and bias as the key reasons why they no longer trust the media.


     We are fortunate to live in a time when a news oligopoly, at least, is no longer sustainable. But there are other protected bastions of information dissemination at work. There’s one in your neighborhood. It gets a hefty share of your tax payments and over a thousand hours per year to indoctrinate your minor children, and it makes full use of both.

     Isn’t it about time we put an end to this crap? And I don’t mean cutting it back or limiting its “mandate.” That’s like excising half of a malignant tumor and leaving the rest in place.

     Outside of government, the Left has made almost all its gains through the exploitation of three institutions: the legacy media, the “public” schools, and the entertainment industry. All three have fought like wounded tigers to prevent the emergence of competition. But only one who knows himself to be vulnerable is unhappy about competition. Smart businessmen know that the competition is the greater part of what keeps them honest.

     Honesty! What a concept!

1 comment:

Bill said...

The media system in general is largely ignored. Heck, when they killed the comments section in their online news articles, they gave the unmistakable message that independent thought is verboten.