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There has been a proud tradition in America of free press. Due to colonial America’s high literacy rate, newspapers and pamphlets flourished in pre-revolutionary America. Benjamin Franklin ran a paper and Thomas Paine’s pamphlets still ring in American ears today. A partisan press, neutral papers and worthless rags were published in every town and hamlet right into the twentieth century. No matter a politicians political affiliation or point of view, there were those willing to hold their feet to the fire.
Americans over time learned to trust the press, if it was in the paper it must be true was an often repeated phrase. It got to the point in the 1950’s that being a reporter was considered a calling, somewhat similar to being a teacher or preacher. Papers were trusted and reporters respected like no place else on earth and not totally without reason. Sometime during the social turmoil of the sixties things started to change. Advocacy, and increasingly liberal advocacy, started to take over the American press rooms. During that decade the most trusted man in America was Walter Cronkite, a news anchor; a moment that signaled one last hurrah for the dying art of journalism.
Today liberals have established a near monopoly of thought when it comes to the major news outlets and have for decades. Where Reagan was blistered for homelessness and given scant credit for the remarkable economic recovery, Obama has been given a pass on the record growth of homelessness under his watch and the near non-existent recovery. Similarly, President Bush was portrayed as a potential tyrant who refused to admit mistakes but even though Barack Obama has expanded on Bush’s intrusive policies and has shown far more arrogance he has been called out on neither. Of course, these are but two small examples of plethora of liberal bias that is on display everyday.
Why this all matters is a free press is an essential ingredient to a free society. Forming a check on abusive politicians and governmental overreach, it fills the void of the town criers of old by warning of dangers that might otherwise go unnoticed. Men and women whose job it is to warn the public of impending dangers, injustice and political abuse. When journalism no longer can be relied upon to fill this role of government watchdog the people suffer and suffer they have.
As freedom oozes from the Land of the Free like life from a dying man, there are few ringing the alarm. The Main Steam Media that still supplies much of the news lives in a self-contained bubble. They often echo each others catch phrases and play interference on behalf of their fellow liberal elites in Washington. What often passes for objective analysis is little more than talking heads reinforcing each other’s biases.
There is a famous saying, while the cat’s away the mice will play. The truth in this adage is more than evident in modern American politics. In this case it is not that the press is absent, but that it is concentrating more on advancing agendas than keeping political mice and rats at bay. Corruption has become institutionalized in the halls of Washington DC. Congressman create slush funds from which they subsidize lavish lifestyles and into which corporate bribes can legally be deposited. Insider trading, a crime for which many go to prison, is just another perk for the politically connected.
The advocacy of liberal issues by the Main Stream Media has served to alienate much of the population as well as give followers a twisted view of the world in which they live. The result is an ever more divisive and out of touch Democratic Party opposed by a increasingly agitated part of the electorate. One needs to go no further than the passage of ObamaCare above people’s objections and the formation of the Tea Party to see that this is true.
Against this backdrop the internet has created a new breed of journalism. A million citizen reporters taking on the role abdicated by the old media. Much maligned and often denigrated by the major news outlets they have become, nonetheless, a force to be reckoned with; they have become the new watchdogs of both the media and politicians. When CBS’s Dan Rather tried to hang George Bush with forged documents it was the blogosphere that held the media’s feet to the fire and made them retract the story. In fact many of the scandals being talked about were rooted out by citizen journalists to the chagrin of the establishment media. Even so, the new media has not taken the place of the old media. Much of the public still rely on the increasingly unreliable Main Stream Media for their news.
The founders knew an informed electorate was essential to the functioning to their experiment in self-governance. To this end, they relied on a sound educational system and a vibrant press to do the job of keeping the public informed. In an era where both are failing to do their job, the very continued existence of the United States, as it has been known, must come into question.
As the world has seen over and over again, a press shackled with allegiances to parties or government in general is worse than having no news media at all. The modern news media has become in essence a propaganda service provider; bound by a common philosophy and dedicated to advancing the liberal agenda. The new media types are not yet to the point of breaking up the liberal media cabal nor have they significantly marginalizing their influence. Yet, barring a miracle, the alternative media offers the best hope of forcing the rejuvenation of the once great American press and possibly saving the country in the process.
The Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have [to] bare the secrets of government and inform the people.
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