Freedom of “the Press” – Or, Don’t Believe the Media

 Members of the modern media have a highly exalted opinion of themselves, a completely unjustified opinion, an opinion based on misrepresentation of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, an opinion that is completely false. It has been a long time coming because it hasn’t been so obvious, but the result is an emerging war between television news networks, newspapers and the administration of President Donald Trump, a war fought with words rather than the kind of bullets that kill and maim. To hear them tell it, the media is on a mission from God to “tell the truth” about the United States government. However, the real truth is that media is and always has been highly partisan and editors, journalists and TV newsmen and women rarely ever relate anything resembling truth. Instead, newspapers and TV news publish opinions and represent it as truth when it is anything but. “Fake news” is a new term but it accurately describes the media as it exists in the United States (and the world) and how it has existed since the printing press first came into being, for much of what has claimed to be “news” has always been politically motivated and has been slanted to represent a particular political point of view.

When the First Amendment was adopted, its meaning was far different than it is represented as today. It reads as follows – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The amendment begins with the words “CONGRESS shall make no law…” which is a clear indication that it was intended to apply to only one body of government, the United States Congress. Left-wing legal scholars have reapplied it to every level of government by disregarding the Founders’ original intent and substituting their own but original intent is still there. It was not intended to apply to state, county, or local government nor was it intended that the duly elected officials of government at any level were not free to challenge those exercising either of the three “freedoms” spelled out in the amendment, the first being religion, followed by speech and then by “the press” as represented by only three words. (Challenging and making laws are not the same.) Those words do not establish the press as “the watchdog of the people” in any form. In fact, the words “the press” doesn’t refer to what we consider today to be “the media” but actually refers to the printing press, regardless of how it is used, whether to print books, political pamphlets or, both last and least, “newspapers.” In fact, the phrase refers to exactly the same thing “speech” refers to, which is the expression of individual opinion although through the published, rather than the spoken, word. The problem is that the media has developed practices of expressing opinion and passing it off as “news”. They also misrepresent their opinions as being the corporate opinion of the nation as a whole.

When it comes to members of the media, it is important to understand that while they represent themselves as vast repositories of knowledge, they really have no knowledge of, well – anything, especially not the inner workings of government – nor do they have “facts”. The only “news” agencies that actually might have real knowledge are those that are part of government, regardless of level. They put out the official statement of whatever government body they represent, whether it is the White House itself, a government agency or a branch of the military. Only official press releases are based on any knowledge of the actions of government; any other “news” is mere speculation and depends on information provided by “sources” who may or may not be reliable and who, as often as not, have some kind of political ax to grind. A classic example is the “Watergate” scandal – the scandal, as it developed, didn’t become public knowledge because Bernstein and Woodward “uncovered” it by “investigative reporting”, but rather because the assistant director of the FBI, William M. “Mark” Felt, a Democrat, fed them information about the ongoing investigation into the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. (Although he had become an FBI agent in 1941, Felt had been a staffer for two Democratic senators from Idaho. He was at odds with President Nixon, although whether it was for political reasons or because he wanted to somehow protect the FBI is unclear. Woodward, who knew him from when he had served in the White House as a naval officer, referred to him as “a terrible gossip”.)Without that source, they would have had nothing.

Speaking of nothing, there is nothing in the Constitution or its amendments even implying a “public right to know.” This is an invention of (Who else?) the media themselves! Now, granted, official information services may not tell everything that the public thinks they want to know and sometimes they may not be completely truthful but the media is even worse, far worse, because members of the media quite often make up stories and represent it as truth. In fact, this is quite common. Journalists are employees, whether fulltime or freelance, and in order to earn a living, they must produce copy that editors want to publish. Newspapers, news magazines and TV “news” put out whatever their editors want to put out, as often as not in an attempt to sway public opinion and with little regard for the veracity of the content. Their stories are often false, although they represent them to be “truth” and may actually believe them to be. Much of “news” is the publishing of the opinions of members of the party not in power, and of so-called “activists” group, which are actually political action groups, nearly all of which are far left-wing. The media also publishes fake news fed to them by political campaigns and by the political parties themselves – and they publish fake news distributed by Federal agencies. For example, the Central Intelligence Agency feeds fake news to foreign news outlets in an attempt to influence elections and promote or discredit the party in power. The CIA is barred by law from domestic activities but they doesn’t mean they aren’t involved, as evidenced by the current “revelation” of information damaging to President Donald Trump by the previous CIA director. The CIA has a long history of illegal activities.

I first came to realize that journalism cannot be depended on in the spring of 1966 when I was a twenty-year old airman in the United States Air Force assigned to duty in Thailand flying nightly missions (actually every other night) over southern North Vietnam and Laos looking for truck and river traffic on the complex of roads, trails and rivers leading out of North Vietnam through Laos into South Vietnam that had come to be collectively known as “the Ho Chi Minh Trail.” Once we spotted something that looked like it might be traffic, our pilot initiated a complex series of communications to obtain clearance to direct air strikes against the targets. He radioed an airborne command post that orbited high overhead with a team of battlefield controllers on board. The airborne controller then contacted higher headquarters, who then went even further to obtain permission for air strikes against the targets. Over Laos, the contact went to the American embassy in Vientiane and from there to the local province chief. On missions over North Vietnam, permission had to come from the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam through a joint command center in Saigon. The purpose of this complex procedure was to minimize civilian casualties. By the time we received clearance to send fighters in to attack the targets, the trucks would have pulled into one of the fake villages the North Vietnamese had constructed along their infiltration routes and thus be impervious to air attack. That, however, was not what newspapers in the United States were reporting – we saw the articles – they were reporting that US airmen were conducting “unrestricted warfare” even though that was nowhere even close to the truth; it was, rather, an outright lie. Reporters, who lived and worked primarily in Saigon, and who attended daily news briefings, had no idea what American airmen were actually doing so they made up a story to tell, a story designed to embarrass the Johnson Administration and the military. Reporters knew that air attacks were only on specified targets but they wanted to tell a different story. In short, newspapers, particularly the New York Times, were lying to the American people about what was really taking place in Southeast Asia. They continued to lie until the United States withdrew from the war in Vietnam and continue to lie about it to this day. Very much of what has appeared in print about the Vietnam War over the past five decades came from journalists who made up their stories in the bar of the Caravelle Hotel in Saigon and never actually saw a military operation firsthand.

Members of the media claim they are impartial but in reality, American newspapers – and newspapers around the world for that matter – have NEVER been impartial. In fact, American newspapers were originally organized to represent a particular political viewpoint, whatever it might be. They can be traced back in the United States to the conflict between Thomas Jefferson and his Republican Democrats and Alexander Hamilton’s Federalists in the earliest days of our nation. Both sides used the press to produce pamphlets advocating their viewpoint. The pamphlets were then distributed by various means. Pamphleteering led to newspapers, which published under a name that often indicated their particular political viewpoint. Of course, modern news media’s main purpose is to make money for their owners but they also have a particular political agenda and are often associated with a political party – and always have been. For example, at one time there were newspapers all over the United States that had either “Democrat” or “Republican” in their names. Papers had – and still have – political agendas as do broadcast networks, both radio and television. This is also true of national news magazines, with some representing a more conservative viewpoint while others have adopted the “progressive” viewpoint. Since the 1930s and the complete control of government by the Roosevelt White House, the slant has been increasingly toward the “progressive” viewpoint, a viewpoint based on a decidedly European view of socialism and Marxism. This should come as no surprise since Marxism began spreading throughout the world in the mid-nineteenth century and had become firmly entrenched in political thought by the turn of the Twentieth Century. In order to give themselves legitimacy, such outlets began claiming a nonexistent status for themselves as “guardians of the public trust.” In fact, however, they are no such thing. They fancy themselves to be public opinion makers and, until the advent of electronic means of communication, they were.

The current conflict between the national media and President Donald Trump is due to his not being a politician, and not willing to play the political game. President Trump couldn’t care less what the media thinks of him. He knows that the so-called “mainstream” media was opposed to him as a candidate and that most journalists, editors and publishers were caught by surprise when he won the election. He knows that they based their opinions on polling methods that have become unreliable now that Americans have Caller ID and simply don’t answer calls when they don’t know who he is calling. He furthermore knows that certain media outlets, particularly the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN are working hard to delegitimize his presidency. This should come as no surprise since the editor of the New York Times declared open war on Mr. Trump when he was a candidate and even went to the extent of offering payment for information obtained by illegal means. Nearly every large city newspaper in the country endorsed Hillary Clinton, often  claiming that Donald Trump was “unfit to be president” but without offering any solid reasoning for such a claim. (The Constitution establishes the qualifications for the presidency and they are very liberal, being only that the president must be 35 years of age or older and must be a “natural born citizen” of the United States. (The media and academics have caused considerable confusion regarding the meaning of the “natural born” phrase, which simply means that they are citizens by birth and require no action on the part of government to make them citizens.)

Cable news is as political as newspapers. CNN founder/owner Ted Turner is a lifelong Democrat who makes no secret of his political views. Turner supports Democrats and, like newspaper editors and owners of the past, has long been using his “cable news” network as a means of advancing the progressive political agenda. Australian-born media magnate Rupert Murdock, who is generally conservative, owns Fox. MSNBC is Far Left in its political viewpoint, representing the socialist view. All claim to be broadcast “news” but they mostly broadcast political opinion. Since Donald Trump was inaugurated, instead of letting media publish “news” that is not really news but is actually political opinion, the White House is pushing back and calling them out for what they put out. As President Trump recently stated, journalists don’t know what is actually happening in the White House or any branch of the government. They rely on unidentified sources who may or may not be telling the truth and who usually are grinding an ax. Good examples are the stories about Trump campaign officials “ties with Russia.”

There is an effort to equate the Federal Government of Russia with the former Soviet Union, which disbanded and ceased to exist almost thirty years ago. Media accounts frequently refer to the KGB, the Soviet Union’s counterpart to the American Central Intelligence Agency even though the KGB ceased to exist along with the Soviet Union. This is being done in an effort to cause Americans, who grew up in fear of a Soviet Union that was often equated with Russia since it was the largest member state, to believe that the Cold War has resumed or, more accurately, that it never ended. Media accounts refer to “ties” between Trump campaign officials and Russia, without acknowledging that Americans, particularly businessmen, have been involved with Russian nationals since the early 1990s when the collapse of the Soviet Union and the establishment of a new Russia opened up both dialogue and business opportunities between Americans and Russians. Large numbers of Russians immigrated to the United States and became involved in various businesses, including financial and communications. American oil companies – most of them – became involved in oil exploration in Russia, which, after all, is not only the largest nation in the world, is the richest in natural resources. Doing business with Russia has been quite common for three decades but you’d never know in to hear the media tell it – they represent having “ties” to Russia as some kind of Federal crime.

Ever since documents from the Democratic National Committee were leaked to the world by Julian Assange’s Wikileaks, Hillary Clinton supporters have been claiming they were leaked by “the Russians.” As soon as the leaks came out, the Clinton campaign claimed the DNC computer server had been “hacked” although no proof of such a claim has even been offered. They put out claims that there was “evidence” of hacks by actors “associated with Russian intelligence” which is actually a play on words because (1) evidence of hacks can only be assumed and (2) the word “associated” has multiple meanings. In fact, when the “intelligence community” put out a statement that the DNC was hacked by “the Russians”, the statement merely contained the same allegations put out by the Clinton campaign and offered no solid proof. They also stated that such evidence as they had came from “third party” sources. In short, the statement has the appearance of political propaganda, which is no surprise since the primary advocate was former CIA head John Brennan, an Obama political appointee and a critic of Donald Trump. (Brennan is also known to have strong ties to left-wing politics, and has admitted to voting for the Communist Party, USA candidate for president in an election in the 1970s.) As I write this, a major “news story” is that that are calls for a special prosecutor to “investigate ties to Russia by Trump campaign officials,” calls made by Democratic Party politicians and activists.

Regardless of the stories appearing in the various forms of media, just remember one thing – you can’t trust media, whether it’s newspapers, news magazines, cable “news” or major television “news” networks. They are all accomplished liars.

 

 

 

 

 

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