And That’s The Way It Is – News Media and Dishonesty
News media being dishonest is as American as apple pie. When defending Dark Alliance — his article about the CIA’s turning a blind eye to cocaine being smuggled into the US titled — Gary Webb says, “The government side of the story is coming through the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post. They use the giant corporate press rather than saying anything directly. If you work through friendly reporters on major newspapers, it comes off as The New York Times saying it and not a mouthpiece of the CIA.”
I have talked about Gary Webb in a previous essay and I think it’s important to remember people like him are out there seeking the truth. This isn’t the case for many “Journalists” today. There is a serious problem in the media when it comes to pushing their own political agenda, covering up the truth or flat out lying, and being overall terrible people while insisting that we are fools for not blindly trusting them.
This question isn’t “Which is better: Fox News or MSNBC?” Both are terrible. Americans shouldn’t settle for shills that support a political party. They should’t put up with those who blur the lines of reality when they should be dealing facts. That’s why today’s topic of Essay Wednesday is about the news media.
Rachel Maddow said, “The President denigrating the press is important in terms of his behavior as an increasingly authoritarian style leader, period.” Maddow would like you to believe that President Trump is the worst thing since Hitler when it comes to freedom of speech. But when it came to the press, Hitler censored any negative feedback about his regime. Whereas President Trump simply attempts to defend himself and his actions and eventually just throws insults back. Self-defense is not censorship.
On a recent episode Dave Smith’s “Part of the Problem” podcast, Dave Smith and Robbie Bernstein brought up the fact that if someone keeps throwing baseless accusations at you, you might try to use logic and reason to defend yourself at first. Eventually, when dealing with the same things repeatedly, you say ‘screw you’.
Maddow, for two years, told her viewers several different crazy conspiracies that accused the President of being a Russian spy or asset. Then the Muller report came out and basically said what most of us already knew. Trump’s a shady guy who has done some illegal things, but with no ties to Russian espionage. I’ll eat my boot if we ever hear an apology from Maddow.
What’s my point to all this? Modern journalists believe they are influencers and should act as such, regardless of how reckless their claims are. It doesn’t even have to be consistent! In 2003 Maddow openly spoke against the war in Iraq. But when President Trump wanted to pull troops back from the Middle East, she opposed that as well.
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Children Are Also Targets of News Media
The Washington Post’s ‘most punchable face’, 15-year-old Nick Sandmann, or the “MAGA kid,” had his reputation thrown through the mud. People were advocating violence against a child. Then the full video came out. The Native American who was supposedly being bullied by a group of catholic white supremacists was actually the aggressor who got in a child’s face. Apparently it’s only okay to make fun of a political puppet if they don’t believe the same thing as you, because the moment people called out Greta Thunberg, media lost their minds. Lucky for Sandmann, he recently won a lawsuit against some of the news agencies involved in his incident. The Washington Post and Rachel Maddow aren’t the only ones who do this. I’ll discuss that later in the essay concerning the lies that the media has tried to sell us on.
Power: Responsibility or Privilege?
Even though these people have natural biases they’re acting on, they still want what’s best for the nation, right? They’re still good people? Why don’t we ask Matt Lauer? Although if you did, you might have the door shut and lock behind you. Where in the world is Matt Lauer? In 2017, an incident was brought to light about the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Lauer continuously harassed another Journalist covering the events. After further investigation, the studio fired Lauer when it became evident his abusive behavior was part of larger pattern of misconduct. A former NBC correspondent, Linda Vester, went as far as to say, “everybody knew” about Lauer’s inappropriate behavior towards female colleagues.
How can you claim to hold yourself to a higher standard and act like you’re better than the average citizen just because you’re a “news man” when one of your own is acting like a monster?! Let me restate something I said earlier: Matt Lauer man had a button on his desk to close the door of his office behind someone and lock them in like a Bond villain! The entitlement doesn’t stop at their private life though. Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” recently had a conversation with his producer and said on the air, “The American voter wants to be lied to. They’ve been told to believe in fairy tales their whole lives. Show me someone who believes in Noah’s ark, I’ll show you a Trump voter.”
My status as a Christian means I’m not as smart as the “Great Chuck Todd” and his minions on “Meet the Press”? The topic of the segment was ‘fake news’ and why the public do not trust the main stream media. Maybe it’s because you’re prejudiced, and have alienated a majority of the nation? It isn’t just a problem with those who side with the left. Political analyst and Fox News commentator Oliver North sold weapons and missiles to Iran in the 1980’s. During the recent panic with Iran, Oliver North was on Fox talking about how dangerous they are. Not to mention the countless accusations of racism from Bill O’Reilly. What happened to ethical journalism?
Journalists or Storytellers?
When it comes to ethics, some of our most trusted journalists have betrayed us. Brian Williams, former anchor on “Dateline” and “The NBC Nightly News”, lied about being fired upon while in the Middle East. He stated that a helicopter in front of them was blown out of the sky. Williams then rewrote the story to involve him being on the helicopter that got hit. The story was so popular that he wrote a book on the whole event. Years later, the pilot contradicted his story saying that they weren’t fired upon by an RPG and that they made an emergency landing because of an incoming sand storm.
There was a helicopter that was hit by an RPG but it was about 30 minutes ahead of them. NBC suspended Williams and then demoted him to “Breaking News”. Oh what a Greek tragedy to be demoted to a lead anchor position that still gives information to the public no matter how inflated. Although I disagree with the war, I have had brothers and sisters give their lives, physical, and mental health for this pointless cause only to have some douche bag have a cool story for his drinking buddies and a book to line his pockets with extra cash. Such integrity!
Williams Isn’t the Only One
Another example is when ABC lied about the “Burnt Kurds” (as @bitingthebullet puts it). If you’re unfamiliar with the story, in 2019, President Trump moved a small number of troops away from the northern border in an effort to which he claims, “to withdraw out of Syria.” This was met with resistance in both parties. Soon after, ABC reported on the apparent slaughter of Kurdish people, showing machine gun fire. Almost immediately after, it was recognized as a doctored video of a Kentucky gun show that featured a machine gun. ABC apologized, saying that it was a ‘mistake’ from one of their staff members, but the video was cropped just enough so the viewing audience couldn’t see people taking videos of it with their smart phones.
News Media and Suppressing the Truth
It doesn’t stop at just lies with these people. On November 2, 2019, a video of “Good Morning America” anchor Amy Robach was leaked by Project Veritas. This group dedicates itself to uncovering liberal corruption. Robach complained how they had the “Epstein story” before anyone. Then ABC shot down the story.
She stated, “I’ve had the story for three years… We would not put it on the air. Um, first of all, I was told, ‘Who was Jeffrey Epstein? No one knows who that is. This is a stupid story.’ Then the palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways… We had it; Clinton; we had everything… I tried for three years to get it out to no avail, and now these new revelations and — I freaking had all of it. I’m so pissed right now. Like, every day I get more and more pissed, ’cause I’m just like, ‘Oh my God! It was — what we had, was unreal.'”
Let me break this down for you. They had this story of a pedophile ring that involved billionaires and high ranking members of two different governments and said nothing. The Government is being run by pedophiles. Since then, lawyers representing the royal family have defended the actions of Prince Andrew, saying that there’s a difference between pedophilia and having sex with a trafficked 14-year-old underage prostitute! I cannot even fathom how one can live with themselves using that as an argument. As for the Clinton’s, they did what they do best; deny, deny, deny. A dear friend of mine compared them to Teflon, nothing sticks. When it comes to Hollywood, Rick Gervais reminded us all that not only was Jeffery Epstein murdered to cover up a massive pedophile ring, but also that most of the actors in that room were his friends.
Too Big to Fail, or Just a Symptom?
This isn’t just a problem in the 24 -hour news cycle. For this essay, I reached out to a former friend of mine, who will remain unnamed. I attempted to interview her because she was employed with a local news station. I wanted to hear about her experience and be impartial. Maybe there was some hope for journalists yet. At first she was more than eager to help. But when I went into what I had written thus far, and started to ask her questions, she understood this wasn’t a fluff piece. She sent what seemed like a panic response about not wanting to “talk trash” on her former employer. She refused to respond after I explained that I just wanted to hear an unbiased opinion from the side of journalists on what the field was like.
Upon further research in the world of local media, I ran into a video about the Sinclair Company who owns many of these stations across the nation. In the video, several local stations from different states were shown side by side, saying what seemed like an identical scripted response. One can conclude from the video that we are not hearing the news. We are hearing a screenplay from unknown writers who want us to blindly feed on a story rather than reality. How does the old saying go? Perception is reality.
Garry Webb said, “If we had met five years ago, you wouldn’t have found a more staunch defender of the newspaper industry than me…And then I wrote some stories that made me realize how sadly misplaced my bliss had been. The reason I’d enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn’t been, as I’d assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job…The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn’t written anything important enough to suppress.” I have no idea where the News industry is headed but one thing is certain, people don’t trust it anymore. It doesn’t have to be this way.
The 24-hour news cycle is what ruined the journalistic integrity of the news media in my opinion. There isn’t breaking news 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. They needed filler which quickly escalated to blowing things out of proportion. They included their opinions when all that was required was what was happening in the world. Once the genie was let out of the lamp, newspapers and local journalism followed. If journalists reached deep down they would understand why we don’t trust them. Maybe then they can make a comeback. As Walter Cronkite put it, “And that’s the way it is.”