*Sorry I didn’t post yesterday. This is the hotel room with the FEWER plugs I’ve ever seen, (at least plugs that work) and my connecting on the net for any length of time requires my having a place to plug phone AND computer. (The phone eats battery on Hotspot.) Today I found a place to plug in in the area Fyrecon takes place. So post times might be weird, but I CAN post tomorrow. Today we have Amanda with a guest post. (Hurray, the Hamsters got it to me!) – SAH*
Stand up and be heard – Unfreedom of the Press, pt. 2 by Amanda S. Green
There is a fallacy in this country that many people still believe. It’s a simple one and one that’s easy to understand. We expect those in the media to report the facts without obvious bias. We expect them to be fair and impartial in their reporting, leaving opinion and emotion to the editorial page. Unfortunately, that era of journalism is long past—if it ever really existed.
Before I get to the second fallacy, one Levin falls victim to, let’s talk about the book, Unfreedom of the Press. Mark Levin does a decent job in an early chapter of giving a history of the media in this country. He talks about the early pamphlets and presses and how they were the product of those who fled Europe to escape religious or political persecution. They were slanted but, unlike much of the media today, they also were meant to cause discussion and philosophical debate. Those behind the pamphleteers and the press braved seizure of their printing presses, imprisonment and worse for speaking their “truths”. But they persevered.
They were, in short, the foundation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of a free press.
In the next chapter—the third, I believe—Levin jumps to modern media. Referencing the “party press era” that followed the Revolutionary War and lasted until around the Civil War era, he draws comparisons with todays media. During those early years, Levin points to newspapers that were basically nothing but mouthpieces for a single party. He uses a few examples to move into what we see in the media today.
To say much of the MSM is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party is putting it mildly. The problem is how Levin handles the problem. He steps out of the realm of drawing comparisons between the “party press era” to flogging a dead horse. And this is where many of the critics of the book zero in. He sets forth page after page of examples of how the media has targeted Donald Trump as the newest, and worst, evil to ever walk the face of the Earth and doesn’t look much further.
While I agree with him about the MSM and how it has handled the Clinton loss and Trump presidency, his move from quasi-scholar to screaming mouthpiece for the Oval Office detracts from the message of the book. It turns it from a lesson both sides should take to heart to what could be seen as a partisan attack on the media—which is exactly how the media is playing it.
In short, it takes it away from being an instrument to encourage dialogue and discussion to diatribe.
If he’d wanted to be more effective with his arguments, he would have taken a broader approach in condemning today’s media outlets, especially those who are the “major players”. An example of what he could have done is seen in a recent article that appeared in The Federalist.
In the Federalist article, Mark Hemmingway gives a number of examples of how the media either soft-pedals stories to fit the narrative or they outright adopt the narrative of those who want to see our nation fall. Reading some of them is like listening to Ilhan Omar extolling on the virtues of certain Middle Eastern regimes or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez schooling us on economics and the joys of socialism.
But not going beyond the “They hate Trump!” mantra, he is more effective with his condemnation of how much of the MSM “reports” the news today.
If Levin wanted to really show how many in the MSM—not to mention certain members of the Democratic Party–would dearly love to see the foundations of our nation crumble, he would have done well to go beyond their hatred for Trump. He would have listed some of the many stories where they’ve tried to write the narrative and then show how other media outlets, both here in the US and elsewhere, have covered the same story.
While there might not be crickets along this line in the book, it is close to it because his “Trump! Trump! Trump!” bandwagon drowns everything else out.
To be fair, he does discuss how the MSM uses techniques that mingle fact with propaganda. How, if you look at the front page of a major paper, you will see maybe half the stories that are true representations of what happened and half that are, shall we say, slanted to the max. But, in doing so, he gives more information about the whys and wherefore of this technique than he does of examples his readers could identify with.
In other words, there is no “ah ha” moment.
You know what I mean. That moment when the examples suddenly come to life and you remember reading that exact article or one like it. That moment when you look back and realize how the article took the so-called facts and manipulated them, leading you—or at least trying to—to the favored conclusion.
The lack of this “ah ha” moment is a major weakness in the book. Those of us who already understand how the MSM attempts to shape our thought process get it. But it is those sitting on the fence, those who sort of understand what has been happening but aren’t quite ready to accept it without concrete examples who are being lost. Levin misses a wonderful chance to bring more folks over to his way of thinking by failing to move past the “They all hate Trump” mantra.
A perfect example of this how Iran shot down our drone the other day. I first heard about it yesterday morning when I turned on the news. Yes, yes, I know. I’m a masochist. I watch a few minutes of morning news each day to see what lies the media is trying to feed us for the day. When they finally mentioned the incident, it was well buried under more “acceptable” stories. I’d already read about it after seeing a link on Drudge and at a few other sites I visit regularly.
But there was basically nothing but passing mention of it in the MSM until Trump started talking about striking back. Why? Because Trump said something. He was going to take action! Trump bad!
Even now that he’s walked back taking immediate action, they are still trying to spin the story. Lost in it all is the action by Iranian forces to shoot down our drone.
Another example is how we aren’t hearing any outrage from the MSM or the Dems on a map that showed up on the New Zealand government’s website that removed Israel. Instead, it showed “Palestine” and “East Jerusalem” as the capital. The map has since been removed—after outrage which, again, the media hasn’t covered—but the internet doesn’t forget. There have been similar occurrences, incidents Levin could have included in the book and didn’t.
And that is my biggest complaint about the book. Levin falls victim to his own political blinders. He took a very important topic and limited it to basically anti-Trump condemnation. While I, too, am tired of seeing how the media is doing all it can to perpetuate the Dems’ hatred for POTUS, I believe the danger of what is happening goes much deeper than just their attempt to drive Trump from office.
Our MSM is not—yet—a state run media, but it is damned close. It is a true party-run media. It makes little effort to be fair and honest in its reporting, especially when it comes to politics or certain “social” issues. It has lost touch with what much of the country is interested in and has turned into nothing more than a mouthpiece for parts of the Dems and their ilk.
Freedom of the press is their cry. But their truth is they only want it to be their freedom. They want to silence the those who don’t believe in their narrative. Our best answer is not only to stop giving them our money—them and their sponsors—it is to question and challenge them at every turn. It is up to us to find alternatives to the MSM and, when we can’t then to make them.
We are the new pampleteers, the new town criers. But we have a duty not to fall into the same trap the MSM has. The same trap Levin eventually fell into with this book. We give opinion. We welcome discussion. But we also give the facts, making it clear which is which.
I know, I know. I can hear some of you now saying that we can only defeat them by playing their game. But the dangers that come with playing that game are great and do we really want to go down that path?
Honestly, we don’t have to. We just have to keep speaking out and challenging them. The fact their number of subscribers and viewers proves they are losing the battle. What we need to be prepared for is that they are going to double- and triple-down on their attacks on the foundations of our nation as they get ever closer to their final end. That means having in place our own alternatives and supporting them. It means reaching out to those who have been sitting in the middle, trying to figure out why that have that prickly feeling at the back of their necks when they read or hear much coming out of MSM outlets.
Give them a fair alternative. One that will be critical of both sides of the political aisle. One that remembers why this nation was founded and what our core values are. Freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, etc.
“Molon labe!” is our rallying cry. Let them know we will not let them take away our freedom, our country or our voice.
(Help Amanda drink enough to keep snarking the unbelievable twaddle that passes for deep political thought these days. We’ll collect for her liver transplant later. Hit her Pourboir jar now! – SAH)