Who Watches the Media Watchdogs?

Somehow, these guys just aren't getting it.

Last Thursday, 300-plus newspapers took part in a national cry-in over President Trump's infamous "enemy of the people" statement.  Stung by Trump's daily complaints about the many media outlets that publish fake news about him, the nation's Professional Journalists want us to know they would never dream of doing such a thing.  "We're not the enemy of the people," they say, "and besides, just where the hell would you be without us?"

No less an eminence than Dan Rather saw it as his bounden duty to strap on his trench coat and file his own piece in The Atlantic, "Why a Free Press Matters."  Rather sees other challenges facing the press right now, like failed business models and technology.  He even perceives some "self-inflicted wounds."  Curiously, on that point, Rather never mentions the way he disgraced himself and CBS News by pushing a phony story about George W. Bush's National Guard service – "an attempt," as described in The Weekly Standard, "by a prominent organ of the mainstream media to influence the outcome of a presidential election with a false and fraudulent story just two months before Election Day."  Rather could have tied that episode in nicely, considering that the New York Times headline about the scandal, "Fake but Accurate," may have been the first iteration of the controversial concept of "fake news" back in 2004.

The Washington Post's headline on all the Thursday dispatches was "US newspapers to Trump: We're not enemies of the people."  The Post companion piece, more like what we would expect, gives this alternate description:

Hundreds of newspaper editorial boards across the country answered a nationwide call Thursday to express disdain for President Trump's attacks on the news media[.]

Is it just me, or do hundreds of newspapers joining in chorus to "express disdain" for Donald Trump (and by necessity, for his 63 million toothless supporters) somehow detract from the message "we're not your enemy"?

Meanwhile, Rather agrees that of all the current threats he sees to the free press, "[t]he most immediate threat comes from the dangerous political moment in which we find ourselves."  By that he means the political moment in which Donald J. Trump sits in the Oval Office.  It never occurs to him that, for Americans like me, the real dangerous political moment we find ourselves in is when the mainstream media, along with Hollywood, academia, social media, and leftist resisters in and out of government, are feverishly working to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

This is why the more journalists keep insisting they're our watchdogs, holding "those in power accountable," the more it stands out how that hasn't been true for years.  Rather still thinks he can trot out the old chestnut that "[t]he role of the press is to ask hard questions and refuse to be deterred even when someone powerful claims, 'Nothing to see here.'"  By "someone powerful," we're meant to think of Trump, or Nixon, or George W. Bush. 

But isn't the New York Times someone powerful?  Isn't NPR?  CBS News?  Didn't we just endure eight years when the mainstream media actively worked with the Obama administration to cover up its crimes and screw-ups, all the time being told by the media, "There's nothing to see here"?

Nothing to see in the Fast and Furious gun-walking scheme.

Nothing to see the IRS director unlawfully targeting conservative nonprofits.

Nothing to see in Obama's secret side deals with Iran.

Nothing to see in Hillary Clinton's illegal private email server.

Nothing to see in Benghazi.

And right now, nothing to see in the complicity of Obama, the Clinton campaign, and a host of bent feds and a fake dossier to fix the election.

This goes way back.  By the time of Rathergate, how many of us were even mildly surprised that a professional news organization would try such a stunt?  We were used to it.  We weren't surprised when ABC News made George Stephanopoulos, its Washington correspondent and host of This Week, despite his being a veteran of Bill Clinton's War Room and an all-purpose Clinton hack, while the "real" journalists never raised a word of complaint.  We weren't surprised when CNN's Donna Brazile fed debate questions to Hillary Clinton,  or when moderator Candy Crowley felt she could intervene in Obama's favor in the debate against Mitt Romney, or when Martha Raddatz cried on election night when her candidate lost.  We weren't surprised because we already knew they had all chosen their side.   

In his contribution to last week's apologia, Brian Dickerson at the Detroit Free Press (motto: "On Guard for 187 Years") expresses anger that Trump dares question his profession's honor, writing, "[W]hen I hear the president describe journalists as people who casually conspire to disseminate 'fake news,' I have to ask: Who the hell is he talking about?"

Whom?

Who was it that told America Al Gore won the 2000 election?

Who told us the Fort Hood shooter wasn't an Islamist terrorist?

Who told us a meek and mild Michael Brown was shot with his hands up, begging to surrender?

Who told us CAIR, the Muslim Brotherhood front in the U.S., is a "civil rights organization"?

Who is still telling us that after 9-11, there was a violent "backlash" against Muslims in America?

Who told us climate change is settled science?

Who ducked the story about abortionist Kermit Gosnell's Philadelphia slaughterhouse?

Who told us all the troubles in the Middle East are caused by Israel?

Who told us that Robert Mueller's list of indictments proves Trump colluded with Russia?

Who told us it was Trump who initiated the "policy" of family separation at the southern border?  Who ran a fake magazine cover to show Trump looming over a crying Honduran toddler?

Time magazine stood behind that phony cover because it captured the misleading version of complex events they decided America needed to believe.

Speaking for myself, if I did have a watchdog, I'd want one who barked at all the intruders, not just the ones he didn't like, and one who didn't leave me a lot of snotty notes telling me that keeping the front gate locked isn't "who we are."

Let's think about which is more dangerous for America: a running war of words between a boisterous and outspoken president and the media that hate him, or a president cunningly transforming a nation he doesn't particularly like, fully confident that a powerful and like-minded press has his back?

No doubt unintentionally, Dan Rather mentions how "powerful institutions" need to be held accountable by the press, then in the very next sentence uses the term "institution" again in reference to the press.  He's posing the real paradox without knowing it.    

The mainstream media are a powerful institution, corrupted, long since abandoning objectivity for ideology, and capable of doing real damage – yet guaranteed its freedom from government interference, as all of us believe that it must be.  Then shouldn't the real question be, who can hold this institution accountable?  Clearly, they're not ready to do it themselves: 300 disdainful editorials prove that. 

In other words, who watches these watchdogs?

Somehow, these guys just aren't getting it.

Last Thursday, 300-plus newspapers took part in a national cry-in over President Trump's infamous "enemy of the people" statement.  Stung by Trump's daily complaints about the many media outlets that publish fake news about him, the nation's Professional Journalists want us to know they would never dream of doing such a thing.  "We're not the enemy of the people," they say, "and besides, just where the hell would you be without us?"

No less an eminence than Dan Rather saw it as his bounden duty to strap on his trench coat and file his own piece in The Atlantic, "Why a Free Press Matters."  Rather sees other challenges facing the press right now, like failed business models and technology.  He even perceives some "self-inflicted wounds."  Curiously, on that point, Rather never mentions the way he disgraced himself and CBS News by pushing a phony story about George W. Bush's National Guard service – "an attempt," as described in The Weekly Standard, "by a prominent organ of the mainstream media to influence the outcome of a presidential election with a false and fraudulent story just two months before Election Day."  Rather could have tied that episode in nicely, considering that the New York Times headline about the scandal, "Fake but Accurate," may have been the first iteration of the controversial concept of "fake news" back in 2004.

The Washington Post's headline on all the Thursday dispatches was "US newspapers to Trump: We're not enemies of the people."  The Post companion piece, more like what we would expect, gives this alternate description:

Hundreds of newspaper editorial boards across the country answered a nationwide call Thursday to express disdain for President Trump's attacks on the news media[.]

Is it just me, or do hundreds of newspapers joining in chorus to "express disdain" for Donald Trump (and by necessity, for his 63 million toothless supporters) somehow detract from the message "we're not your enemy"?

Meanwhile, Rather agrees that of all the current threats he sees to the free press, "[t]he most immediate threat comes from the dangerous political moment in which we find ourselves."  By that he means the political moment in which Donald J. Trump sits in the Oval Office.  It never occurs to him that, for Americans like me, the real dangerous political moment we find ourselves in is when the mainstream media, along with Hollywood, academia, social media, and leftist resisters in and out of government, are feverishly working to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

This is why the more journalists keep insisting they're our watchdogs, holding "those in power accountable," the more it stands out how that hasn't been true for years.  Rather still thinks he can trot out the old chestnut that "[t]he role of the press is to ask hard questions and refuse to be deterred even when someone powerful claims, 'Nothing to see here.'"  By "someone powerful," we're meant to think of Trump, or Nixon, or George W. Bush. 

But isn't the New York Times someone powerful?  Isn't NPR?  CBS News?  Didn't we just endure eight years when the mainstream media actively worked with the Obama administration to cover up its crimes and screw-ups, all the time being told by the media, "There's nothing to see here"?

Nothing to see in the Fast and Furious gun-walking scheme.

Nothing to see the IRS director unlawfully targeting conservative nonprofits.

Nothing to see in Obama's secret side deals with Iran.

Nothing to see in Hillary Clinton's illegal private email server.

Nothing to see in Benghazi.

And right now, nothing to see in the complicity of Obama, the Clinton campaign, and a host of bent feds and a fake dossier to fix the election.

This goes way back.  By the time of Rathergate, how many of us were even mildly surprised that a professional news organization would try such a stunt?  We were used to it.  We weren't surprised when ABC News made George Stephanopoulos, its Washington correspondent and host of This Week, despite his being a veteran of Bill Clinton's War Room and an all-purpose Clinton hack, while the "real" journalists never raised a word of complaint.  We weren't surprised when CNN's Donna Brazile fed debate questions to Hillary Clinton,  or when moderator Candy Crowley felt she could intervene in Obama's favor in the debate against Mitt Romney, or when Martha Raddatz cried on election night when her candidate lost.  We weren't surprised because we already knew they had all chosen their side.   

In his contribution to last week's apologia, Brian Dickerson at the Detroit Free Press (motto: "On Guard for 187 Years") expresses anger that Trump dares question his profession's honor, writing, "[W]hen I hear the president describe journalists as people who casually conspire to disseminate 'fake news,' I have to ask: Who the hell is he talking about?"

Whom?

Who was it that told America Al Gore won the 2000 election?

Who told us the Fort Hood shooter wasn't an Islamist terrorist?

Who told us a meek and mild Michael Brown was shot with his hands up, begging to surrender?

Who told us CAIR, the Muslim Brotherhood front in the U.S., is a "civil rights organization"?

Who is still telling us that after 9-11, there was a violent "backlash" against Muslims in America?

Who told us climate change is settled science?

Who ducked the story about abortionist Kermit Gosnell's Philadelphia slaughterhouse?

Who told us all the troubles in the Middle East are caused by Israel?

Who told us that Robert Mueller's list of indictments proves Trump colluded with Russia?

Who told us it was Trump who initiated the "policy" of family separation at the southern border?  Who ran a fake magazine cover to show Trump looming over a crying Honduran toddler?

Time magazine stood behind that phony cover because it captured the misleading version of complex events they decided America needed to believe.

Speaking for myself, if I did have a watchdog, I'd want one who barked at all the intruders, not just the ones he didn't like, and one who didn't leave me a lot of snotty notes telling me that keeping the front gate locked isn't "who we are."

Let's think about which is more dangerous for America: a running war of words between a boisterous and outspoken president and the media that hate him, or a president cunningly transforming a nation he doesn't particularly like, fully confident that a powerful and like-minded press has his back?

No doubt unintentionally, Dan Rather mentions how "powerful institutions" need to be held accountable by the press, then in the very next sentence uses the term "institution" again in reference to the press.  He's posing the real paradox without knowing it.    

The mainstream media are a powerful institution, corrupted, long since abandoning objectivity for ideology, and capable of doing real damage – yet guaranteed its freedom from government interference, as all of us believe that it must be.  Then shouldn't the real question be, who can hold this institution accountable?  Clearly, they're not ready to do it themselves: 300 disdainful editorials prove that. 

In other words, who watches these watchdogs?