Democracy does die in darkness

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The Washington Post adopted the slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness” when Trump was elected in 2016 out of a naive fear that he would usher in an era of fascistic repression and censorship. The terrible irony is that the Post and its many like-minded outlets are the ones who have imposed darkness on our democracy by their biased and purely ideological coverage of politics.

During the Trump administration, journalists sort of did their job by being skeptical and critical of the political class, at least the part that was Republican and Trump. No mistake of thought or word, no policy, no effort went unnoticed by the shock troops of the liberal media. They even made up things about Trump to keep the heat on, such as Russian collusion, for which they also received ample cooperation from within the government itself.

All of that would kind of be okay if they brought even half of that effort to bear on the administration of the party they tend to favor. But they don’t, and it’s not even close.

Instead, the press carries water for Biden and the Democrats as a matter of course. They helped fuel the false racism crisis of 2020 to create chaos so that Trump’s chances of getting re-elected would be diminished. They acted as if Trump did nothing about Covid while criticizing him for a China travel ban in January of 2020 as racist. They ignored his efforts to develop vaccines in record time and then basically gave Biden all the credit for rolling it out.

They focused incessantly on false accusations about Russian collusion while ignoring actual dealings between the Biden family, China, and Ukraine worth millions of dollars. They pretended stories about such unseemly connections were “Russian disinformation” and used Big Tech to censor any reporting on it in the months leading up to the election.

The press routinely ignored the good news of the pre-Covid Trump economy, which saw record growth in employment and wages for lower income people and minorities in particular, while also ignoring Trump’s efforts at criminal justice reform, something Obama-Biden did almost nothing about in their 8 years.

But, now that Biden’s stupid policies on unemployment benefits and the unnecessary stimulus checks are inhibiting economic growth, just as I predicted in these pages two weeks ago, the press is stepping in to protect their boy, insisting that the lack of job growth and slight uptick in the unemployment rate are part of some brilliant long-term plan.

Of course, this same press ignored the real statistics behind police killings of black suspects because the numbers didn’t back the narrative and were content to stoke anger and hatred in order to discredit Trump and our country in general.

Now they act as if everything is hunky dory while inflation grows, jobs are lost due to shutting down the Keystone pipeline, gas prices are up and still increasing, illegal immigration is approaching record numbers, Americans are still at each other’s throats, pro-LGBTQ and critical race theory agendas are being shoved down the throats of our students, and our enemies in Iran, Gaza, Russia, and China are acting emboldened since they know the guy in the White House won’t put up much of a fight.

But all this goes uncovered as if it were just the deranged fantasies of Fox News viewers and January 6th capitol rampagers.

Our democracy is suffering because of the lack of balanced coverage. They focused only on the negative with Trump and now only hide, dismiss, or rationalize the negatives of Biden. How can a populace choose which candidate or party best manages our complex political system when we can’t get transparent, fair coverage of what’s going on?

Only bad things will result from this. One half of the country simply won’t trust the ruling elites and will be prone to ever more extreme views and measures, while the ruling classes will tighten their grip on power because they know no one will hold them accountable. Such opposing forces will push our nation to the brink of disaster, if not beyond.

I’m not asking for Democrats to stop pursuing their agenda, though that’d be nice. I’m only asking that the press cover them fairly so we know what’s really going on and so we can see the effects of their decisions and policies.

But I fear asking journalists to JUST DO THEIR JOB is too much in our current climate. What a pity and what a betrayal of the principles of our constitutional republic. May God help us, especially those with whom I disagree.

Trey Hoffman

Peachtree City, Ga.

7 COMMENTS

  1. If Trey would read the New York Times for himself rather than believe what Tucker Carlson says about the national media, he would discover that they have criticized Biden more in 4 months than Fox News criticized Trump in four years. The canard about the mainstream media giving a pass to anyone seems irresistible to conservatives. The national media will call out anyone to sell a newspaper.

  2. People have to get past the idea of believing that the news media exists as the archetype of brave investigative reporters and courageous editors working to expose to the public rampant corruption among powerful corporate and government interests. In the 150 years of news media, partnerships like Woodward and Bernstein, or SS McClure and Ida May Tarbell stand out as rare examples. The more common examples?

    The New York Time’s Judith Miller publishing a series of WMD/Iraq articles that were based on Bush Administration talking points and which were highly influential in driving public support of the 2nd Iraq War. Then there’s the LA Time’s Ken Dilanian, who wrote apologist articles for drone strikes under the Obama Administration, only to have it revealed in 2017 that he had been on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency and frequently published “sanitized” articles to hide war crimes in Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. In 2015, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly lied to his viewers about having experienced first hand the Falkland’s war. Also in 2015, NBC’s Brian William’s was busted on a whopper about having been in a US Army helicopter shot down in Iraq. Even the venerable Bob Woodward was caught lying about having been threatened by Obama administration officials. (“Journalists Who Were Caught Lying”, Mel Judson. (14 June 2019)). The list goes on.

    The hidden reality of “news” is that 95% of the media you consume comes from for-profit multi-national corporations who manufacture a product called “news”, exchanges that news for your attention, and then sells advertising space based on your attention. Worse still is that there is no independence; just 5 corporations have ownership of most of what you see: Time Warner, Disney, News Corp, Viacom/CBS, and NBC/Comcast. (“These 6 Corporations Own Most Of The Media”, Katharine Tobal. (7 July 2014). Things become even murkier on social media, where major sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit have been targeted by every major global intelligence agency from China, Russia, and even the US as an avenue for disseminating disinformation. Couple that with the revolving door that exists between major corporations and the Executive Branch, and what you have is the Government Infortainment Complex.

    Finally, and sadly, people readily absorb the coercive manipulation and incorporate it into their fundamental thought. You can hardly engage in a discussion anymore without someone accusing you of getting your opinions from either CNN or Fox. The polarization of our society has so entirely fallen along lines of branding that people aren’t even capable of informed debate any longer.

    Asking journalists to do their job? They are doing their job. What we need to do is ask people to not be suckers and stop believing everything they see just because they saw it. At this point, you’re no more or less informed by Fox News than you are InfoWars. Conversely CNN viewers might as well watch The Young Turks for what it’s worth.

    It’s all trash. And you are what you eat.

    • Well, I guess … “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.” A quote attributed to Mark Twain, but then again, the true – actual source is said to be unknown. But perhaps a more appropriate line here is … “People will think – what I tell them to think.” A quote by Dick Cheney, err I meant, Charles Foster Kane.

      • I appreciate both your quotes, Doon.

        And I chuckled to see how carefully you phrased the one attributed to Mark Twain.
        It made me wonder if you saw my dressing down when I credited a line to
        him in a recent comment concerning a column.

        I was corrected in no uncertain terms that
        the version of the quote I used was NOT
        attributed to Mark Twain “by anyone who is serious”!

        The excoriating didn’t bother me.
        And I am hope-ing it didn’t intimidate you (or anyone) into being hesitant in voicing an opinion.

        We all have known brilliant and generous
        teachers who correct and guide us, sharing their greater knowledge with us. They are
        much to be preferred over the schoolyard bully who belittles and cows us into silence.

        Please forgive me if I am reading more into your careful phrasing than you intended. I get that a lot!

        • suz – I can’t say that I’m familiar with your recent predicament on being challenged / attacked on the use of a quote and its stated author. For me, I strive to pass along fact-based information in support of a comment or opinions made; and when in doubt offer that up too. So yes, I hold some doubt on the actual author of the quoted statement I used (above) and yes, I believe you were reading something into how it was phrased. And with this all said, no problems in seeking clarification here and please do carry on with your thoughts, despite any narrow or misguided viewpoints that you may encounter along the way.

          • Doon–
            Thank you for such an
            instructive and patient reply. As a novice to all
            of this, I sincerely appreciate it.

      • Perhaps the quote by Attorney Robert Brannigan: “I never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel” also applies. The MSM used to be the kingmakers. That made them dangerous. The Fairness Doctrine, some favorable court rulings giving a pseudo-qualified immunity to journalists, and some corporate consolidations later, and the kingmakers own the MSM just like they own the politicians who would be king.

        I hate to be so cynical about it. But it is reality. The Establishment does Establishment stuff.