I am disgusted at America’s political class, but I am even more nauseated by its press.
Currently I am reading a book by Doris Kearns Goodwin about Teddy Roosevelt, William H. Taft and “The Golden Age of Journalism.” This period was known for its muckrakers, led by S.S. McClure, who founded a literary magazine bearing his name in the late 19th century. He had an all-star staff of journalists.
Goodwin writes of these reporters.”All passionately believed with S.S. McClure that ‘a vigilant and well informed setting forth the truth’ could become ‘an infinitely greater guard to the people than any government official’.”
As we head into the final weeks of the current presidential election in the United States, I see nothing of this kind of reporting going on. Instead, I observe news outlets planting “October Surprises” such as the news of Donald Trump’s earthy remarks 11 years ago about the sexual conquest of women and the WikiLeaks expose of Hillary Clinton’s private speeches to Wall Street.
I suppose you could say,”Well, look, the press IS doing their job. After all, they are exposing the truth about these candidates.” This is factual, to a point, then the statement collapses.
It collapses because of the press is not “fair and balanced” (if you will excuse the use of the slogan of conservative/libertarian Fox News, which is anything but). My concern is how this the media is manipulates the information they garner. Why, for example, did NBC News hold on to the tape of Trump’s comments until right before this weekend’s debate? And for what purpose is Julian Assange throwing out his hacks at this point in time?
I can only conclude (it is not rocket science) that these media arbiters are seeking to influence the election one way or another. This violates the purpose of a free press.
In America, as I have recently noted in this space, the news media is roughly 90 percent Democratic in partly affiliation. Its editors and corporate heads filter out what they don’t want the public to hear in favor of what they do.
In recent years their has been a revolution of source that has brought forth a more influental conservative press, including the aformentioned powerful Fox News. However, this conservative media is up against an avalanche of hostility from the liberal media and a declining culture that has no interest in traditional values.
What disturbs me most about the current climate in the media is the hypocrisy of the progressives. If anyone should be the guardians of truth, it is the liberals. But they have abandoned their posts. Instead, they collaborate with one party over the other. An example of this is the recent Wikileaks document that reveals ABC’s George Stephanopoulos use of Democratic talking points to interview a political opponent of that party.
The progressives are supposedly advocates of the common man. However, they do whatever they can to protect the Democratic Party, which has shown itself to be in bed with corporate and banking interests as much as the Republicans.
What this reveals to me is a progressive press that is “progressive” in name only. I personally believe there is no longer a two-party system. Instead the Democrats and Republicans have joined to become the elitist party, protecting the establishment.
True Progressives should not be in bed with such an arrangement. But they and their media acolytes are.
The only recourse now is for everyday Americans to seek a new political arrangement that protects their interests. This would also involve a media arising from the bottom. This will be a difficult task, but if it does not occur we could be facing the squelching of a free press in the United States.
This could be catastrophic for the vast majority of its people.