The Real Culprits
The lights in the theater came on, but the spectators sat still in shocked silence, stunned by the revelations they saw in Dinesh D'Souza's documentary, 2016: Obama's America. As we shuffled toward the exit, an elderly man next to me said shakily, "God help us!" But I wondered whether any of these people, who were exposed, for the first time, to their president's outlandish biography, asked themselves, "Why didn't we know?" Why indeed?
President James Madison: "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives." (1822, James Madison to W. T. Barry, 4 Aug. 1822)
An even more ominous warning by Benjamin Franklin: "A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins."
Today's America is hardly a "nation of well-informed men." But are Americans really to blame for their ignorance? Yes, to some extent they are. Anyone willing to invest a little time in a search for facts can find plenty of them literally at his fingertips. But vast numbers of Americans are still totally dependent for their information -- and thus in large measure for their political opinions -- on the TV networks and the printed media.
It is the duty of the press to perform the crucial function of enlightening the public. But the liberal media refuses to act as a guardian of democracy, fulfilling its obligation enshrined in the First Amendment. Rather than supplying its customers with unbiased, factual information, it feeds them a steady diet of blatant propaganda. Thus, it is the liberal media that bears the lion's share of the blame for the benighted state of much of the American electorate.
If the media had done due diligence and properly vetted Barack Obama when he was running for president in 2008, he wouldn't have stood the chance of a snowball in hell (and neither would Hillary Clinton, for that matter). However deeply the progressive rot has penetrated the country's social organism, eating away at its moral and cultural innards, the American people would never have handed the keys to the White House to a man with an opaque past and self-confessed Marxist leanings, tutored and mentored by known communists, black liberation theologians, terrorists, and terrorist apologists. Yet the media totally abdicated its responsibility and did its best to sell a pig in a poke to the American people.
Some conservative pundits suggest that mainstream journalists are simply a bit on the lazy side. Indeed, sometimes they are lazy -- very lazy. For instance, their indolence was prominently on display when Juanita Broaddrick accused Bill Clinton of rape, but the media resolutely refused to bestir itself. The journalistic community was positively comatose faced with Hillary Clinton's mysterious cattle futures winnings. It declared that the deal was so diabolically clever that no human intelligence could be expected to make heads or tails of it, and hence the public would be well-advised to give the first lady the benefit of the doubt and forget about the whole thing. It took a left-wing but curious journalist, James Stewart, to poke around and quickly determine that the "inhumanly sophisticated stratagem" was in fact a primitive bribery scheme.
But where was that laziness when it came to digging up dirt on Sarah Palin? Packs of panting journalists, like bloodhounds on steroids, indefatigably roamed the frozen expanse of the Alaskan tundra and rummaged in the governor's trash in search of something, anything, to discredit the Republican vice presidential candidate. Likewise, the media somehow managed to tap overflowing wellsprings of vigor to dig deep into Mitt Romney's past and make the earth-shattering discovery that fifty years ago, as a teenager, the Republican presidential candidate pulled a prank on a schoolmate.
Conservatives are kidding themselves thinking that liberal journalists are well-intentioned naifs who simply don't know better. This delusion logically implies a tantalizing prospect: if just one more liberal lie is blown out of the water; if just one more piece of damning evidence is presented to the misguided oafs, then the truth will finally penetrate their thick skulls, the scales will drop from their eyes, and they will finally see the light. But the liberal media operatives are neither naïve nor stupid; they know exactly what they are doing. Neither neutral observers nor impartial arbiters, they are committed players, doing their utmost to win the game for their side by any means necessary, as one of their heroes, Malcolm X, preached.
True, from time to time, when Democratic politicians step into it particularly egregiously or get caught in an especially flagrant lie, their allies in the media tend to beat a tactical retreat and might even go so far as to gently reproach the hapless fool. But it is merely a diversion designed to show the media's "objectivity" and hide its true identity -- the better to serve the progressive cause. Some liberal journalists even own up to their bias. F. Chuck Todd of NBC News archly explained on the air that he and his brethren actually can't help being liberal. You see, they live in a liberal milieu and have to go with the flow to fit in. As the French might put it, adresse oblige, or in English, it's the zip code, stupid.
Conservatives disarm themselves by believing that the progressive world is paved with good intentions. They can't be effective as long as they refuse to see the deadly nature of the liberal opposition and fail to realize that their "friends" on the left view conservatives as the "enemy." Post-Watergate, liberal journalists yearn "to make a difference" and advance "social justice." They are hell-bent on tipping the scales in favor of progressive candidates, and if they must exaggerate and obfuscate, hide inconvenient facts and invent excuses, lie and cheat, they willingly do so. They subscribe to situational ethics: the ends justify the means.
During the 2004 presidential campaign, Newsweek columnist Evan Thomas confidently predicted that the media would deliver an extra 15 percent of the vote for Democratic candidate John Kerry. Over the last eight years, the liberal media, if anything, has turned even more brazen in its dereliction of duty, even nastier toward the conservative "enemy," even more rabidly loyal to the progressive cause, even more slavishly loyal to its torch-bearer, Obama, whom the aforementioned Evan Thomas has famously likened to a deity.
The sooner the conservatives get rid of their debilitating delusion and stop fretting about their reputations on the New York and Washington cocktail circuit, the better-equipped they will be to fight the good fight. It's about time they stopped wasting their energy trying to persuade the liberals to mend their ways and started punching back. Conservatives should realize that the liberal media is the propaganda unit of the liberal-left army, its most potent weapon. Everything it covers (or covers up) is viewed from the standpoint of whether it will help or hurt Obama. In the run-up to November, the liberal media has put all its chips on one throw of the electoral dice and will do whatever it takes to secure victory for their idol.
Tyrants have always been keenly aware of the importance of propaganda. The enormous agitprop machinery, a central feature of all totalitarian regimes, exists to misinform rather than inform; its primary task is to keep the subjugated people in the dark. The Soviet rulers regarded their extremely expensive effort to jam foreign radio broadcasts to be money well spent, for they understood that their propaganda could be effective only if shielded from competition with real information. The North Korean pharaohnic dictatorship can keep its subjects docile only by erecting an impenetrable information wall around its hermit kingdom.
American liberal journalists would certainly be outraged by this comparison, but in fact they perform exactly the same function for the home-grown would-be totalitarians as their enslaved opposite numbers in communist countries are forced to perform for their assorted General Secretaries, Comandantes, and Dear Leaders. The difference is one of degree, not principle -- except that it is as hard to find a committed communist among the latter as it is to find a genuine anti-communist among the former.
Sometimes I wonder where Dante would place today's liberal journalists in his Inferno. In the Eighth Circle, together with deceivers, fraudulent advisers, and evil counselors, who in life used their glibness and eloquence to mislead others (the sinners are wrapped individually in tongues of fire, which conceal them just as in life they concealed the truth)? Or in another ring of the same Eighth Circle accommodating sowers of discord (a sword-wielding demon hacks at the sinners, dividing parts of their bodies, as in life they divided others)? Or maybe the most likely place would be the Ninth Circle, hosting traitors to country (the sinners are buried in ice up to their necks)? Frankly, I have no preference -- as long as I know that they are headed straight to hell to reap their just rewards.