A Brief History of the Fake News Media

For far too long, I was convinced that the media were, on the whole, reliable purveyors of the news. For nearly three years I freelanced happily at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Music and Public Affairs, never suspecting that the Mothercorp was a hive of Liberal propaganda and an artesian fount of scandalously disingenuous broadcasting. It took 9/11 and the generally extenuating media reports over time, faulting the U.S. and exempting Islam, to shake up my thinking and turn me into a sceptical fact-finder.

The media are especially adept at creating villains out of whole cloth for public consumption to advance a particular and often dubious purpose. How else explain the transformation of significant political figures into synonyms for perfidy and opprobrium. I’m thinking in particular of Joe McCarthy, Barry Goldwater and Enoch Powell, all of whom considered themselves patriots and enunciated unpopular or anti-establishment truths, costing them their reputations both in their lifetimes and for posterity.

As Diana West writes of McCarthy, “after more than 60 years of ‘McCarthyism’—the perpetual slander of Joseph McCarthy as a ‘witch-hunter,’ as opposed to an honest accounting of this fearless investigator of deep and widespread infiltration of the US government by Stalin's secret agents…Americans have been conditioned to…hate, loathe and revile McCarthy...The slander of ‘McCarthyism,’…has had the dire effect of bludgeoning our abilities to detect or even acknowledge the existence of any constitutional enemies, especially ‘domestic.’ ”

Favorable commentators will admit that McCarthy may have been guilty of exaggerations and errors, but as the Venona transcripts have verified, he was right overall. He may have manifested as vindictive, yet he was remorseless in his campaign to isolate Communist sympathizers in government circles who worked to subvert the country. This, of course, made him anathema to a treasonous press and a political establishment that had much to hide, whether their complicity or their negligence.

Barry Goldwater has fared no better. When asked in a July 9, 1964 interview in Der Spiegel about his advocating the use of nuclear weapons to defoliate the jungles in Vietnam, Goldwater replied “About a month‐and‐a­ half ago on a television show I was asked a technical ques­tion, how could you get at the trails through the rain forests of North Vietnam. Well, I served in the rain forests of Burma and I know that the only practical way to get at them is defoliation so an answer to a technical question like this—one pos­sible way of doing it even though I made clear this would never be done, would be the use of low‐yield nu­clear devices” (emphasis mine). As the Daily Mail History section pointed out, “Democrats painted Goldwater as a warmonger who was overly eager to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam.” And, of course, with few exceptions like the Daily Mail, the MSM was all over it, painting Goldwater as a nuclear warhawk, a kind of Dr. Strangelove. (The film appeared on January 29, 1964, 10 months before the Johnson-Goldwater election. The writing was already on the wall.)

I was young and shallow at the time and a knee-jerk leftist, so I took it as media gospel that Goldwater was about to launch a nuclear firestorm. Shortly afterward, I was all for LBJ’s Great Society—a socialist term coined by Fabian Society stalwart Graham Wallas—since the press assured me it was a good thing. How could a “War on Poverty” go wrong?  

It was only much later, when I developed some common sense, shook off the political amblyopia which afflicted me, and actually studied the issue, that I realized the Great Society was at best and only in part a qualified success, but ultimately and in many respects a dismal failure: grossly unaffordable, unleashing a pro-Third World immigration nightmare from which we are suffering today, and furnishing an incentive to welfare parasitism. As Ronald Reagan famously remarked, “In the 60s we waged a war on poverty, and poverty won.” But Johnson was elected by a landslide and Goldwater, who in my estimation would have made a much better president, relegated to the halls of infamy.

Then there was the infamous newspaper-generated case of Enoch Powell. As I wrote in a previous article, Powell warned in his 1968, so-called “rivers of blood” speech of the imminent and future perils of unchecked immigration. Powell was worried mainly about immigration from the West Indies, which was transforming traditional neighborhoods into violent ghettoes, whose first and second generation inhabitants were not interested in cultural integration.

Powell’s “river of blood” was an allusion to a passage from Book VI of Virgil’s Aeneid in which the Sibyl prophesizes that the “Tiber would flow with blood” as a metaphor for civil discord. As we observe the relentless Islamization of the U.K., can we say he was wrong? Naturally, Powell would today have received the same or worse misuse from the media, which would have tattooed him as a white supremacist, a bigot and an Islamophobe.

Indeed, similar, if somewhat less virulent, treatment has been meted out to London barrister Gavin Boby of “mosque buster” fame. Boby has been the target of media calumny for assisting British homeowners in preparing and filing legal actions to preserve their neighborhoods from the erection of mosques, which collapse property values and render local life increasingly distressing and in many case untenable. Boby has told me stories about severed cables and wires, broken windows, commandeered driveways, residential streets clogged with traffic, harassment of dog owners, pedestrian bullying, forced sales of depressed properties and more, which have driven longtime residents to despair. Boby works pro bono and is strikingly successful, a fact which makes him non grata to the media and the power elites.

Thus, when I think back, I’m appalled at my own naiveté. McCarthy was the devil’s spawn. Goldwater would initiate a nuclear firestorm. Powell  was an irremediable racist. And Islam, of course, is a noble and magnanimous faith. 9/11 changed everything for me and compelled me to embark on a scrupulous five-year program of what I call the indispensable three Rs, Reading, Research and Reflection, which cured me of my media fantasy and culminated in the publication of The Big Lie in 2007/8 and The Boxthorn Tree in 2012. 

The media lie has now acquired epic dimensions. Gary Demar puts it succinctly in an article for Godfather Politics: Obviously, much if not most of what we read in articles and screeds written by liberals “is designed to distort the truth. Some are willing to lie for what they perceive to be their idea of the greater good. Others just put the worst spin on out-of-context statements to elevate the blood pressure of their targeted ultra-liberal audience.”

The Fake News Syndrome, as I’ve stressed, is nothing new. It’s been approximately the case for as long as we can remember. The only discrimination between the MSM and the FNM is that the latter has become effectively coterminous with the former. Previously there were a few, if not many, reasonably impartial news venues; today these are practically non-existent.

Eventually, I realized that the Western media were even more insidious than the Soviet controlled news outfits. Many Russians knew that Pravda and Izvestia were propaganda arms of the Politburo and discounted their stories as rubbish; many Westerners, on the other hand, are readily deceived, believing the press is free from bias and generally principled and reliable. I know now, however belatedly, that our media constitute one of the gravest threats to our democratic traditions and wonder how I could ever have been so gullible.

If you experience technical problems, please write to helpdesk@americanthinker.com