Such are the questions that run through my mind when blogfodder is thin. I run through Drudge, and PuffHo, and the Daily Kooks, and I wonder. How much more of the same we can talk about and still remain sane?
When Woodward and Bernstein were exposing the crimes of the Nixon administration, it was good for the country. When I was old enough to appreciate it, I saw the value of an inquisitive press. When the same press was trying to generate scandal against Ronald Reagan, I saw the destructive force of ideology attempting to use the same power of the press to bring down a great man.
Witness the press actions through Clinton and GWB, and you see this ideologically-driven press get more biased, more divisive, and begin the process of institutional lying to promote agendas.
And now, we have Obama as president. What started out 40 years ago as independent journalism (yes, even then with a bias, but with a willingness to tell the story regardless of outcome) has now become dependent propagandism. Journalists are no longer even pretending to offer fealty to journalistic ethics, or unbiased story-telling. They no longer seek to hold the government accountable to the people. They no longer care about truth. Nowadays, they only care about access.
Access? Really? Come on, guys. Any government which attempts to bribe or coerce reporters with promises of (or threats to withhold) access to them is corrupt. Any journalist which falls for the ruse is corrupt, and lazy.
Think about this. If the government needs to get information out, it either must co-opt the airwaves, or announce a press briefing. In either case, the government will tell its side of whatever story is breaking. The real journalists will ask the uncomfortable questions of these mouthpieces and get them to comment on the real workings or issues. We are not seeing this any more. The editors are protecting their access, at the expense of their integrity.
The truth of the matter is this: The government needs access to the reporter, and will seek them out if they need a story told. The reporter does not need the government mouthpiece. They seem to have forgotten this.
Chris Muir puts out a comic strip with insightful political commentary called 'Day by Day' (over there on the sidebar). With immense clarity, Chris has accurately portrayed the White House Press Corps during the briefing. A fine example of this is HERE. Instead of an independent press asking insightful questions in order that the people can get the real skinny on the workings of our government, we get fawning empty-headed acolytes bowing to their masters.
So I am left with the question: What do you say? What do you say to your kids when they ask why everybody on TV is shouting at each other? What do you say when the reportage and the reality have an obvious disconnect? What do you say when the policies being proposed have a history of failure and worse, yet they are reported with no hint of irony as the solution to our ills? What do you say when you see agencies of your government exempt themselves from the laws that they impose on the People? What do you say?
What would Patrick Henry say?
"The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them."
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined."
"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience."
"I know of no way of judging the future but by the past."
"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?"
"When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: Liberty, sir, was the primary object."
"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"
And, Patrick Henry also said this: "For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it." These are words to live by.
Open your eyes and look for the truth. For objective truth is, and no amount of dissembling will make it less so. The Truth shall set you free.