Newsrooms and hospitals have one major thing in common: the "hush" is the loudest thing anyone ever hears. The "hush" is the moment when normal activity stops cold for an announcement of major events that will entirely reshape any usual activity. While both newsrooms and hospitals stop on that kind of news -- and then, following it, race into a whirlwind of overdrive -- the similarities end there.
Hospitals gird for the incoming and the flood of bad news to follow; most newsrooms do not. In a newsroom, tragic events are met with a different vibe: an electric jolt that energizes the room with a sense of self-importance.
The shot of adrenaline that surges through a newsroom is fascinating to watch. After the initial rush, the newsroom is never satisfied. There is a reason why the term "news junkie" exists; there is always the next twist, the next piece of fresh information, the next set of numbers (think of the alcohol shots of "news" that an election night provides with its changing and evolving big story).
That's the backdrop of what took place on Saturday. The initial news breaks, the "what." A shooting in a crowd in Arizona...might be, yes, now confirmed...a U.S. representative. Followed shortly by the scale of the attack, where it occurred, and the emergency response taking place. Once the "what" is established, then the other ws come into play. Journalists live by an old truism, the rule of ws -- Who, What, When, Where, Why. The change to the profession over the past thirty-plus years I have been in it is the last w, the "why." The first four are always the easiest. Those were known within minutes of the story breaking. But the "why" takes time, and news in the 24/7 world of news today doesn't have time to wait for answers. Worse -- now it refuses to wait for them.
In a newsroom somewhere on Saturday, shortly after the event broke, one turned to another and asked, "Why would someone do this?" The response was not "I have no idea" or "let's find out -- now." No, the response was "Well, why do you think? Why would anyone do something like this? Because conservative white men are dangerous deranged, people waiting to kill us!" Even worse, it was likely believed with head-nodding agreement across the short-walled cubicles.
And, as it turned out, even worse, multiple "journalists" decided to run with it. The "why" hit the major news websites with a certainty of correctness that just needed one small ounce of backup. That came shortly when the sheriff of Pima County, Arizona opened his mouth and spewed a prejudicial opinion that had no basis in fact. But to the "journalists," it was fact, since it could be directly attributed to a law enforcement source in charge at the scene of the crime. The "why" had been proven and the gates opened. That was the next "fix" moment the junkies needed, a mainline shot that ignited what they wanted. It was a story bigger than the breaking news -- that a political philosophy and a group (white men) they stand opposed to was responsible for inciting a murderous rampage. And the wheels of the fallout of this began spinning so fast that the media lost all its controls, or what few it seems to have anymore.
Journalism, like any business, enjoys great highs and suffers noticeable lows. Scandals of false stories have rocked no less than CBS and the New York Times in recent years. But this? This was different. This was a near-industry-wide failure. I will argue that this was the worst moment of journalism I have ever witnessed. This was not just an embarrassment, but it was a lie filled with such wishful hate as to damage the industry beyond repair to a huge portion of an audience already doubting or dismissing its credentials.
What's worse is that no one complicit in this horrific failure to the core of credibility of the profession much cares. If anything, what they are saying about the outright lie of linking the Arizona shooter to conservative backing is that the falsehoods don't matter. Because in the minds of these "journalists," the lies are not lies -- they are true. Even if the conservative message did not promote murderous violence by a white man on this occasion, it will at some time, and so saying it now is just being correct prior to a real event. The lie was nothing more than a preemptive truth. And frankly, it's likely true in this case because white men who live in Arizona and carry guns are really Palin supporters at heart even if they don't admit it publicly.
If there is any one group the media at large hates enough to want to eradicate, that group is white men. The media views white men as the root of all evil that has ever existed or will ever exist. It seeks to punish white men. It lives for opportunities to indict white men. The media sees multiculturalism as a wonderful goal and white men as the racist, sexist block in the way of an enlightened society. The template is not "conservatives" = bad. It is "white men" = bad. This is why the media is so angry at the Palins and Bachmanns of the world, because they are hurting the attempt to pacify white men. It is also why liberal white men are held in such esteem, because they help neuter white men.
The media is a massive failure spawned by the hate-filled humanities departments of our major universities.
"Why" is no longer a question to most of the media. The media knows "why." It just needs backing to say it. Put it this way: when a reporter goes on a story, he/she is not seeking to ask questions that will provide a story; he/she is seeking answers to questions that will fill the story he/she has already chosen to write. The media at large is openly choosing to do a story that will forever diminish conservatives and white men. It is simply seeking the quotes and attribution to fill this story. It is not covering events; it's mining for proof.
The targets you have seen on television are not Sarah Palin's political ones; that graphic is a media target, aimed at Palin and Limbaugh at Beck and Levin...at Prager, Hewitt, and O'Reilly, and Fox News, and here at American Thinker. And especially at white men.
The media is an abject panic over the flight of white men under its control in the previous election to the conservative side of the political ledger. The media feels that it must find a way to make the conservative message so hateful as to force white men back into line. In the newsrooms of this country, a failure to do so is a major threat to the future of our nation.
It also needs be said that there are media outlets that see this and caution against or resist it. Surely Fox News, surely talk radio (which is why both are set to be targeted in Washington). I know many reading this will recoil when I tell you that CNN is much more attuned to those issues, and I still have high hopes for the future of CNN. CNN still values its reputation above anything else. As long as it does that, there will be checks against what is taking place at other media outlets.
Back to the ws. "Why" is already answered. All the media wants to know anymore is an h. "How." How do we, the media, shut down free speech without looking like we are doing just that? Here's how the media does it: by linking any conservative thought directly to hate speech and outlawing what speech it determines meets that qualification. Hate speech is anything said that protects and defends the rights of conservative, straight, American white men. That is the clear definition within the media.
Last Saturday, journalism died. The media openly declared war on free speech and the 1st Amendment it was sworn to protect. But the media doesn't much care for the foundations of the U.S. Constitution -- after all, it was written by whom again? (Take a guess.)
Know this: that battle over free speech has moved to the front lines. The war is just beginning.
John Fricke is a national radio and TV host and conservative opinion commentator. His website is www.johnfricke.pedia.com.