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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The people's enemy

Longtime Democratic pollster Pat Cadell accuses the media of abdicating its responsibility by playing partisan politics.
We have a First Amendment for one reason. We have a First Amendment not because the Founding Fathers liked the press — they hated the press — but they believed, as Thomas Jefferson said, that in order to have a free country, in order to be a free people, we needed a free press.
There was an implicit bargain in the First Amendment . . . that, somehow, the press would protect the people from the government and the power by telling — somehow allowing — people to have the truth.
That is being abrogated as we speak, and has been for some time.
Gallup released their latest poll on how much you trust when it comes to reporting the news accurately, fairly, and fully, and it’s the highest in history. For the first time, 60% of the people said they had “Not very much” or “None at all.” Of course there was a partisan break: There were 40% who believed it did, Democrats, 58% believed that it was fair and accurate, Republicans were 26%, Independents were 31%.
This contempt for the media, or this belief — and there are many other polls that show it — but I want to just use a few examples, because I am I think we crossed the line the last few weeks that are terrifying:


I want to talk about this Libyan thing, because we crossed some lines here. It’s not about politics. First of all we’ve had nine day of lies over what happened, because they can’t dare say it’s a terrorist attack, and the press won’t push this. If a President of either party — I don’t care whether it was Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton or George Bush or Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush — had a terrorist incident, and got on an airplane after saying something, and flown off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas, they would have been crucified! But nothing was said at all, and nothing will be said.
It is one thing to bias the news, or have a biased view. It is another thing to specifically decide that you will not tell the American people information they have a right to know.
The press’s job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power.
When they desert those ramparts and go to serve — to decide that they will now become an active participants — when they decide that their job is not simply to tell you who you may vote for, and who you may not, but, worse — and this is the danger of the last two weeks — what truth that you may know, as an American, and what truth you are not allowed to know, they have, then, made themselves a fundamental threat to the democracy, and, in my opinion, made themselves the enemy of the American people.
What's happened to the American media is that they have become more like the European (and Israeli) media. They fail to draw a distinction between the news pages and the editorial pages, allowing the (proper) biases of the editorial page to (improperly) creep into the news pages, resulting in a selective reporting of facts. Online media sources can act as a counterweight, but unfortunately there is still a large part of the public that insists that the only worthy 'online media' are the web pages of the New York Times and similar sources. I cannot tell you how often I hear that blogging is a 'waste of time' because no one will listen to you anyway, and that I am preaching solely to the converted.

Read the whole thing.



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