Can the Republic Survive the Mainstream Media?
People complain of the cultural turmoil and upset in the country without realizing that the mainstream media – which nowadays includes almost all broadcast media as well as the digital giants Facebook, Google, and Twitter, and others – are the main determinants of the mood and cultural milieu of the United States. At this point it is inescapable that unless the mainstream media are happy, we cannot, as a society, be happy. While almost nobody fully grasps the profound cultural influence of the media, we all respond to media-fostered agitation when they’re upset – notably when conservative/Republican ideas are in the ascendance – and the relative calm and quiescence when their like-minded, left-leaning Democrats are in charge.
A sad, perhaps damning adjunct in terms of cultural survival is that while we feel the swings in mood of the culture, most of us have little idea about the media’s pivotal influence. Instead we buy into media-generated mis-assignment of blame (and consequently into dysfunctional solutions). All of us hope for a peaceful national/cultural mood: we’re all driven to escape the querulous, fractious atmosphere that pervades during periods of Republican dominance. And we learn behaviorally – by experiencing the milieus foisted on us by the media – that tranquility can only come our way when their designated “proper” people are in office. Disquieting agitation will ever prevail when “idiots” like Reagan, Bush 43 and Trump… aloof “patricians” like Bush 41…or “Nazis” like Trump and Bush 43 are in power.
The subliminal behavioral message is powerful although its underpinnings remain concealed: if you want to experience cultural peace and tranquility, it can ONLY happen when Democrats are in power (concealed in part by a media pattern of portraying the current Republican leader as appalling while occasionally celebrating those of the past, like Reagan and G.H.W. Bush, who, most importantly from the media’s perspective, have quit the arenas of power). An unfortunate element, which bodes ill for the possibility of finding a solution, is that the media seem generally unaware of their prejudices, complicity and cultural power. For the vast majority of them, Trump really is to blame for the cultural upheaval… just as future Republican presidents Riley, Smith or Jones will be to blame for the upheaval during their tenures. You can almost hear the future outcry consistent with their pattern: “And we thought Trump was bad! At least he talked to us. There’s never been anybody as dysfunctional and dangerous as Riley!”
Exacerbating factors that make this period particularly perilous include:
-- Media groupthink, constantly groomed and tended by a compliant social media: those who stray from the paradigm are, through dint of social and administrative forces, excluded or removed.
-- Increasingly selective and tainted media reporting of events, with both elevation of their groupthink heroes and denigration of their villains… and positive reinforcement within the group for the debasement of their craft. Events and people that the media choose to ignore or hide effectively don’t exist, while elements they elevate or invent become central in our lives. Rather than attempting to report news without prejudice, they seem to regard themselves as agents of positive change within the culture, directed from their groupthink perspective.
Illustrative of the corruption of both the media and the compliant academy, ask yourself how many youngsters/college students you’ve met who’ve become incensed about the unconscionable story invented by top federal officials to explain the Benghazi disaster to the grieving families and the nation; the officials added the implication and pursuit of an innocent filmmaker to bolster their invented story. This is one of countless examples of reprehensible behavior by public officials that the media renders invisible to much of the nation by failing to note, focus on, or scrutinize it. Concretize the point by asking a nearby college student what he or she thinks of the government’s response to Benghazi: the response will be a blank stare and perhaps, “I didn’t even know that Ben was in trouble….”
-- Fear and cowering from Republican/conservative politicians secondary to decades of nearly wholly effective intimidation and, effectively, domination by the mainstream media. When the media has chosen to take down a Republican over the last 50 years, which is fairly often, they have been batting almost 1000, which is why the failed Billy Bush “kill shot” of candidate Trump was viscerally infuriating to them. While favored Democrats run afoul of decency and the law with impunity, the media demand that Republicans respond to perceived impropriety by resigning, apologizing, and, if the media hit the jackpot, testifying to a special counsel.
For the last 50 years, the media have been shooting Republican fish in a barrel. These are also major factors contributing to why most Republicans seem more comfortable in the minority; at least there they can temporarily keep their heads down and enjoy a less precarious existence. Their irrelevance and relative powerlessness gives them welcome respite from the media crosshairs and its highly effective elimination strategies.
-- A general failure to confront political malfeasance, made the more present by the left-leaning digital world’s ability to effectively target and crucify those with whom it disagrees. The reach and left-leaning bias of the digital universe makes the old Beria quote, “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime,” the more culturally alarming. There is little information that can’t be discovered and distributed on the web. Many on the left have scant compunction about using discovered or invented information to destroy Republicans and conservatives because they believe that it’s justified in furthering their world vision. At the same time most on the left are blind to their reservoirs of anger and hate, a stance encouraged by unenthusiastic to nonexistent reporting about it by print, broadcast and digital media. A good example is the anemic coverage and analysis of the attempted mass assassination of Republicans at the softball practice.
-- Because the controllers of the digital world are almost exclusively left wing, Republicans face a stultifying obstacle in distributing their information. Supporters of left-wing causes and the information they advance are heralded while distribution of conservative information is curtailed.
-- A decline in education so that a substantial minority or even the majority of Americans are ignorant of our country’s founding ideas and principles, and clueless regarding disastrous historical epochs, the precepts of which are being echoed by some contemporary politicians. Many Americans have neither the capacity nor motivation to challenge the media. The difficulty is massively exacerbated by groupthink throughout most of the academy, with social and administrative elements – including political correctness – enforcing compliance with allowed thought, while stragglers and the recalcitrant are punished and isolated. Those familiar with the thought and behavioral control techniques of the Soviets or China’s Red Guard will note similarities.
A few conclusions:
-- We are surrounded by a cloud of broadcast, digital and entertainment media inputs that create and sustain the nature and tone of the culture. Because essentially all central figures controlling this “cloud” are aligned with liberals/Democrats and are unhappy, even disgusted with Republicans/conservatives, you can forget about experiencing a settled, non-agitated culture until Democrats/liberals regain control of government. This is consistent with the increasingly frequent observation that the only way to temporarily free oneself from a daily underlying sense of upset and dismay is to limit or eliminate broadcast and digital news inputs from your life.
-- A malignant aspect of the reciprocal, reinforcing relationship between the prejudiced media and its audience – and one that may signify that the United States as founded may already have passed – is the end of “equal protection under the law.” At this point the bedrock principle seems little more than a quaint bygone concept.
-- The attempted elimination of Trump – the outsider, political iconoclast and disrupter – is not the beginning but the culmination of broad and multipronged processes that have been in the ascendance for at least 50 years and which we have mostly ignored or shrugged off, including:
- the creation and sustenance of the cultural mind by the broad electronic media (coincident with the withering of genuine education and stabilizing, nurturing families/social groups);
- widespread acceptance of unequal justice under the law, largely through ignorance and the influence of selective media reporting (for example, the above noted Benghazi filmmaker; Chappaquiddick; Bill Clinton’s Juanita Broaddrick; the sickening decades of Kermit Gosnell)
- the growing fear, even terror of the media felt by non-liberal politicians while those aligned with the progressive media, which cultivates and sustains them, are growing in audacity and fearlessness;
- the use of sweeping, instantaneous information distribution through social media to police the non-compliant; and
- the alignment of all levels of education with the progressive/media goals, rather than encouraging broad information gathering and independent thought.
History has unpredictable and unexplainable anomalies: the appearance of Charlemagne and the stabilization that he brought, or the explosion of humanism in 15th century Florence. But barring such an aberration, it’s difficult to imagine how a visionary who’s out of step with leftists could survive the combination of the media’s machinations and social media crucifixions.
So, no, Mr. Franklin, it appears that we couldn’t sustain the republic. We may already have been done-in by the silencing of dissent through oppressive control of information and near-instant social pummeling of the non-compliant; along with coincident and, in some respects, consequent atrophy of independent thought; the terror of non-compliant politicians; and widespread ignorance of and indifference toward the country’s mission and laws. Time will tell.
Graphic credit: Croppped from Glass Lamp via Pixabay.
David Harris is a pen name.