The Degradation of Journalism
This will be the first installment of a series investigating the different aspects necessary to create a healthy society and function democratic republic and how 2021 America measures up. Up first, the Fourth Estate.
The left has been obsessed with “protecting our democracy.” What do they mean by this? In the lead-up to the 2016 election, we were told that Trump was a Nazi, an imminent threat to democracy, and a fascist dictator bent on destroying the country. Suddenly, when faced with potentially losing an election, the left became obsessed with the idea that Republicans were trying to undermine democracy. The irony of course is that manipulating an election with such blatantly false claims, was an actual attack on democracy.
In 2000, democrats wanted to recount three counties in Florida but were opposed to a statewide recount. In fact, following the only 3 presidential wins for republicans since 2000, democrats in Congress have raised questions about the legitimacy of the election. Both George H.W. Bush’s wins were overshadowed by months of speculation in Congress of “irregularities” in the tabulated results. In 2016 perhaps the biggest hoax in American history lasted for over 2 years as the absurd claims of Russian interference in the election were repeated by every democrat from New York to San Francisco.
The media which created had no problem running with the unsubstantiated claims of Russian Collusion, quid pro quo with Ukraine, or Trump’s illegally obtained tax returns have suddenly become silent. Rather than continuing to exemplify the same courage from the Trump Administration, the media has again become more of a praetorian guard than a check on government power.
In October of 2020, the New York Post ran a story, “Laptop connected to Hunter Biden linked to FBI money-laundering probe.” For doing so, Twitter suspended their account on the basis they were disseminating stolen information, which was both not true and should have protected Trump from the bevy of stories on his leaked tax returns. Despite the Post verifying the contents, all of a sudden that was not enough for the fact-checkers and technology overlords in Silicon Valley.
Based on the overwhelming slant to the left of members of the media, their coverage of the Oval Office changed 180 degrees based on their personal politics. This rotation was completed over the weekend when The New Republic published an Op-Ed,
Is Criticizing Joe Biden a Danger to Democracy?
Whether we like it or not, there is reason to be gravely concerned. But against this backdrop, an interesting debate has broken out about the press’s role in protecting our too-fragile institutions and raveled civic fabric from a Trumpian assault—and whether the media, in an effort to support democracy, must unflinchingly support Biden, as well.
Is the media’s job to remain in constant opposition to the party in power? Traditionally, yes, but the new media has redefined their role not as watchdogs but as arbiters and gatekeepers of information. If information, though true, like Hunter Biden’s laptop confirming the family has been compromised by the CCP, would be damaging to the journalist’s political goals it must be squashed. On the other hand, if the information is false, like Russian Collusion, but advantageous for the journalist’s policy objectives it must be published.
Is questioning Biden dangerous to democracy? No, democracy at the most fundamental level, is the will of an informed populace being represented in the government. However, the media acting as public relations consultants for a certain party or administration is most definitely both dangerous and a coordinated attack on the most fundamental premises of democracy. One could even say there is collusion to keep a specific person in the office by manipulating the people through disinformation.
Is there any way to fix the state of our media? Yes. A big reason for the problems in legacy media is that the structure was flawed from the beginning. Media companies are bound to their advertising sponsors which means reporting the news is secondary to making a profit. With the creation of platforms like Substack, Medium, Patreon, and other independent journalists are no longer supported by corporations but directly from their audience. Individuals pay writers, podcasters, or investigators to continue reporting the news. If they fail to uphold the quality of content their readers expect they can lose their revenue overnight.
By linking journalists’ compensation to the quality and honesty of their work, it will alleviate the direst problems we face in the information age. This is perhaps the sole silver lining of the pandemic, people have realized the media is a company focused on making money, not giving them accurate information. As the Hill reported,
Prime-time cable viewership is also down across the board. In the same time comparisons as the full-day ratings, CNN has lost 792,000 viewers, while MSNBC is down 788,000 and Fox is short 348,000.
Network evening news isn’t faring any better. Ratings leader “World News Tonight” at ABC had 1.8 million fewer viewers in the seven days ending April 25 compared to the last week of January.
Is it a perfect solution? No, but it is a significant improvement on the status quo.