The Greatest Problem of the Mainstream Media

The media -- newspapers, magazines, book publishing, radio, television, and film -- have never at any point in the history of our nation been impartial.  Newspapers were once the whole heart and substance of our media.  They provided news, opinion, entertainment, advice, humor, advertisements and information.  Newspapers were often unabashed partisans.

Some of that lingers on to this day.  Consider the names of these Arkansas newspapers still very much in print:  The Arkansas Democrat- Gazette, Natchez Democrat, Greenwood Democrat, Clay County Democrat, Trumann Democrat and Lonoke Democrat.   Aside from Arkansas, twenty-one other states have general circulation "Democrat" newspapers:  Mississippi, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, Oregon, California, Oklahoma, Iowa, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, and New Jersey, and fourteen states have general circulation "Republican" newspapers: Indiana, Kansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.  Newspapers were often quite consciously founded to promote one political party. And if you ever wondered why some newspapers have the term "Independent" in their names, it is because the newspaper was representing itself as nonpartisan.   

The danger to democracy from the media has never been because of patently partisan media.  How many Republicans would be upset with the New York Times, if it changed its name to the New York Democrat?  How upset would conservatives in Congress be with NPR if those abbreviations stood for National Progressive Radio?  Or if CBS meant Center for Broadcasting Socialism?  There is nothing ignoble or un-American about advocating what you believe or with buying a broadcast station to get your message out.  The sin is lying about bias.

But worse than lying about their bias, the mainstream media decides what is news and what is not.  Dan Rather refused to even mention Gary Condit and his missing paramour congressional aide, Chandra Levy and then the mainstream media pretended that Gary Condit was somehow a "conservative." When the mainstream media covers a scandal, if the crook is a Democrat that fact is almost always omitted. Even more surreal, organizations like CNN have even taken their own stories, which inadvertently mentioned that a malfeasant politician was a Democrat, and edited out the "Democrat" in later versions of the news story. When the malodorous Rod Blagojevich was exposed, New York Times reporters, who wrote nine paragraph stories on the scandal, seemed to forget his party affiliation.  Omitting or even re-editing stories to delete crucial facts is the second greatest sin of the mainstream media.  

The third great sin of the mainstream media is how "competitors" actually collude.  PBS never examines the Leftist bias at the New York Times.   MSNBC never attacks PBS for being a government funded organ of the Democrat Party.  In any other industry, every Leftist conspiracy freak in the country would be calling these cozy corporate "rivals" a cabal of corporate executives who secretly run America.  But, oddly, the mainstream media, which never criticizes its sibling elements for their failures, finds the only "threats" talk radio and Fox News.  Democrats move in and out of the mainstream media just as if they were members of some media version of the Skull and Bones Club. 

Lying about bias, ignoring unwelcome news, suppressing competition - these are all real sins in a free society -- but the worst sin of the mainstream media is its ugly slide into personal viciousness.  It is not the "Mainstream Media" but the "Meanstream Media."  When Fred Thompson, a universally respected former Senator with an inspiring life story, was pulling together a campaign to run for president as a genuine conservative, what did the "Meanstream Media" do?  Joe Scarborough suggested that his wife "worked a pole." When Sarah Palin was put on the Republican ticket, the media ran stories that suggested that Sarah had not given birth to Trig, but rather her daughter was the mother, even insisting on paternity testing for the child. 

Worse, when ordinary citizens -- not politicians -- defy the Left, the media goes after them, like Joe the Plumber, or confronts protesters at Tea Parties.

 The "Meanstream Media," the lapdog of the failed Left, cannot win any battle fairly.  So it lies about its bias; it hides rather than reveals; it practices groupthink instead of openness.  Most despicably, the "Meanstream Media" savages, slanders, and screams at anyone who, for any reason, gets in its way.

Bruce Walker is the author of two books:  Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie, and his recently published book, The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.
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