It’s very unlikely that the traditional media we know today at all resembles the entity our founding fathers wished to protect in their day.
It’s not even very likely that it resembles the group admired by Edmund Burke when he is said to have coined the term “the fourth estate” in reference to the press in the middle of the 19th century.
Based on their writings and the documents they co-authored, our founding fathers wished to preserve a free press for the purpose of preserving a free people. The current remnant of a once-free press is now simply an extension and arm of the government, which means that they aren’t really a “free press” at all. They have come to be, knowingly or not, for the state, or the current ultimate powers of the U.S. federal government.
To put Burke’s term into context, it’s necessary to look at the history of medieval “estates of the realm,” which formally recognized the three “estates” of the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners. Burke and Thomas Carlyle, who popularized the term “the fourth estate,” recognized the press as a group of distinction that played an important role in lending a democratic voice to the people of a true republic. It now seems, unfortunately, that those days are gone and that once again, only three estates are represented, with the press, or media, being encompassed by the estate of the nobility. In more modern and recognizable terms, those in our government and “media” are often referred to as “the elite,” even if only in terms that denote the self-perception of many in this estate.
Sean Hannity declared in 2008 that “the media is dead”; but in a historical sense, it was already dying long before then.
Ever since Cronkite’s field coverage of the Vietnam War, the mainstream media has continued on a downward spiral. The difference between the journalists of that era and the so-called “journalists” of today is that the inquiring public news consumers’ sense of objectiveness and sincerity from these anchors has now been decimated. Many journalists of the recent past at least seemed sincere in their dedication to reporting truth. Today, the messages of the media mainstream are blatantly and admittedly laden with hearsay, inaccuracy, half-truths, and whole lies.
Still, Hannity seems to be on to something, as the media has continually sunk to new lows over the course of the last five years. It can be seen in Newsweek’s post-print fake cover honoring Obama’s second inauguration as “The Second Coming,” penned by Evan Thomas, who once described Obama on MSNBC as “sort of like God” in being above the traditional political fray. We should also remember CBS Political Director John Dickerson’s plea in a January 2012 Obama-Biden ad to “Go for the Throat! Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party”… and declare and wage he has.
The legendary CBS reporter Bob Schieffer, after an Obama gun control speech, suggested that “the president is going to have to do more than just make a speech about it. This is one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard him deliver, but it’s going to take more than that from the White House. He’s going to have to get his hands dirty.”
On January 27, ABC’s Martha Raddatz of The Week conducted a six minute interview with Democrat Senator Bob Menendez without asking even one question about the ongoing FBI investigation into allegations that he solicited underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. By now, this is a predictable double-standard that would have obviously surfaced had this interviewee been affiliated with the Republican Party.
Another example is provided by The Washington Post, who after crafting a report from a satirical piece by the Daily Currant, falsely reported in early February that former vice presidential candidate and former Fox News contributor Sarah Palin was joining the Qatari-owned news network Al Jazeera.
On several occasions, Obama himself has named Fox News as a media organization that stands in the way of “progress.” On even more occasions, in this modern era of “new media” choices, he has cited this entity without naming names. In his relentless assault on honest journalism and any who would dare stand in the way of his agenda, Obama told TNR in a recent interview that “If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News…for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you’ll see more of them doing it.”
Most recently, the mainstream media have given the president an unprecedented pass on his actions and inactions in the scandalous turn of events surrounding the terrorist attacks on our consulates in Cairo and Benghazi that led to murder, including the first of a standing ambassador to the United States in decades.
They have also largely handed Obama a free pass concerning the impending “sequester” budget cuts they have repeatedly described as “severe,” even though these cuts only account for about two weeks of current annual government spending. They have stated that these cuts will devastate child care institutions (few of whom receive government assistance) and end the jobs of thousands upon thousands of public educators. The most conservative of verifiable projected figures as to losses of public education jobs is about 500 positions, and the high end of these figures lands at about 2,000.
We should keep in mind that these “cuts” only amount to a 2% cut to the initially projected plan for additional spending for the remainder of the year and beyond. The real pain of these cuts…that is NEVER reported in the mainstream media…will be felt by the U.S. military, with this, by design action, to be the most significant step by this administration to carry out a verifiable agenda for a reduction in U.S. armed forces personnel comparable to post World War II levels.
Recently, even The National Review has proved to be subject to the pressures to water down truth and liberty in their concession to establishment “RINOs’” unchallenged path for modern conservatism. What would Mr. Buckley say to them now?
William F. Buckley, in the mission statement for his magazine, The National Review, once stated that “Instead of covetously consolidating its premises, the United States seems tormented by its tradition of fixed postulates having to do with the meaning of existence, with the relationship of the state to the individual, of the individual to his neighbor, so clearly enunciated in the enabling documents of our Republic.” This reality is now most painfully true.
Thankfully though, “There are those of generous impulse and a sincere desire to encourage a responsible dissent from the Liberal orthodoxy. And there are those who recognize that when all is said and done, the market place depends for a license to operate freely on the men who issue licenses — on the politicians.”