It is hard to believe that big news can be manufactured news. Hard to think that huge, powerful, and influential organizations would do things based upon small mindedness. It really is a shame how ignorant of history most people are and how arrogantly we dismiss the lessons of the past. If I could get any book into the curriculum of every school in America it would be The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer. If you have difficulty believing that small mindedness can reign among reasonable people, and if you cannot fathom how huge organizations can become weapons of the state against its people, you only need to read about a third of the book to get illuminated. And we need illumination.
The damage done to our country during the last election is serious, but we aren’t bleeding from the wound the Educated Establishment Elites are trying to tourniquet. We aren’t bleeding from racism, bigotry, or exclusion, and the wound is not Trump shaped. No, the serious gushing wound is a free and independent press. After 8 years of fawning over the first African American president, and actually demeaning both him and the office he held by failing to hold him to the standards of any previous president, the country has lost confidence in the press. When journalism begins to be less popular than congress you can be sure there is a major problem. The campaign only exposed and connected the dots for all the smaller gunshot wounds legacy media delivered to its own feet. Some examples of the loss of independence of our free press:
– letting the Obama administration get away with selling guns to drug lords in Mexico without holding them to account even when it led to the deaths of American law enforcement agents.
– letting Obama get away with the outrageous lies he told about Obamacare (ie like your doctor keep your doctor, and deductibles will all go down for everyone) even when the architect of Obamacare openly admitted this was never the plan and called American voters stupid
– letting the Obama administration get away with weaponizing the IRS and using it to demoralize and intimidate its political opponents in the Tea Party even after the IRS admitted it had done this.
These are just a few of the wounds the press inflicted upon itself in the last 8 years. Americans instinctively know when someone is blowing smoke and we also know when we are being given the “don’t look at that man behind the curtain” Wizard of Oz treatment. Any of these scandals were enough to end the careers of previous politicians. Richard Nixon only dreamed of getting away with stuff like this and got impeached and run out of office by the free and independent press for much less.
There was one other story among the multitude of scandal-less scandals of the past 8 years that the press gave a press pass. It was the politicization of CENTCOM Intel. The gist of this story is that Intelligence analysts at the US Central Command (CENTCOM) were intimidated and forced out of their jobs for creating intelligence reports that did not line up with administration goals and views of how to handle ISIS in Syria. Another part of this press passed story is that CENTCOM was creating fabricated intelligence reports in order to make it appear as if the administration’s goals were being met. I’ve personally worked in the US intelligence community and I’ve had people ask me to adjust my analysis of raw intelligence data to suit a narrative they wanted to pursue. People with power over your next promotion can be very persuasive. Why did they do this? Was it because their bosses in D.C. were pressuring them to do it? Was it because the leaders of CENTCOM wanted to look good? We don’t know. The free and independent press failed to Watergate this story. They weren’t interested enough to aggressively run it to ground.
So Monday morning we wake up to a story about intelligence reports and Russians hacking and Donald Trump scoffing and the election results questioned. Would big time media be small minded enough to make up a story to try to delegitimize Trump before he even gets to the Oval Office?? Well we know they gave up on objectivity for 8 years because we watched it happen. And we know they gave up on objectivity for the campaign because they flat out wrote about it on the front page of the New York Times. What are we supposed to believe? I believe we the people are going to need to be our own reporters and editors. We are going to need objectivity and we aren’t going to be able to depend upon a slavish and dependent press to do our thinking for us. We must be vigilant and we must ask the hard questions because the press is either not willing to ask them or too incompetent or blind to see which questions need asking and which answers, as unpalatable to them as they may be are correct. Trump did not win an election because of Russian hacking, but he made a lot of hay out of the true and small minded hacks in our seriously compromised press. And the fact that he is the next president is evidence enough to show how truly out of touch and in need of emergency surgery they are. They are the real hackers and they’ve hacked off their own feet and we are all going to suffer for it. A free and independent press is essential to our democracy. A hacking press carrying water for one ideology is essential for fascism. It has happened before…