Last time out, we looked at why the legacy mainstream media (MSM) acts like the Liberal Party’s PR firm.
It is not simply because they are progressive, or not mainly so. It’s more that they are superfluous.
Progressivism, as such, wouldn’t in principle stop a journo from latching onto a great story that sank the career of some replaceable leftist politician.
Also, the growing numbers of people who aren't paying much attention to MSM are often pretty progressive themselves. But they can go all over the world 24/7 for news, just like you and I can. And they do.
So the media acting as the Liberals’ PR firm is not a plot against conservatives; it is a desperate bid for survival.
Consider: Trust in legacy mainstream media is at an all time low in the United States, for example, says commentator Brent Bozell:
The latest Gallup Poll finds that only 7 percent of Americans declare they have a "great deal" of trust in the media. At this rate, soon it will be just the media and their immediate families who check that box.
Now, several things follow: 1) Under threat of extinction, the MSM are slowly morphing into the Pravda and Izvestia of progressive governments. They suppress news harmful to such governments' causes (which are also their own) and advance news that is essentially "oppo" research on "enemies" (non-progressives, whatever type).
Progressive governments will find ways of keeping the MSM alive, perhaps turning them into CBCs, essentially. Most MSM will accept that. Pay, and be glad the government does not also force you to listen—or prevent you from listening to anyone else.
The next stage, already well under way, is the establishment of fake news as a staple. I noted earlier the spike in plagiarism and fabulism in recent years, and the fact that it is gradually becoming more acceptable.
As Mark Steyn observes:
Thirty years ago, it would be difficult to imagine a liar or fantasist surviving in a job that supposedly depends on one's trustworthiness. Yet today Brian Williams' survival is the way to bet - because the obsolete format of Big Three "network news" is a dinner-theatre exercise that now bears so little relation to real news that Williams' ability to project the aura of authority and integrity trumps the reality that he doesn't actually have any. If you get your news from old-school "network news", you're not actually getting any news, you're watching a guy 'cause he has great hair.
Here are some of the many instances in recent years of wholesale suppression or misrepresentation of the basic facts of news stories, or else of a massive level of ignorance and carelessness that would have been unthinkable fifty years ago, when people actually needed the legacy media.
(My examples are taken from the United States because I mostly do business there. Readers, please share examples from the true north, as led.)
February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin shooting: Defendant George Zimmerman was described as "a white Hispanic" by the New York Times, probably to play up the race angle in the Trayvon Martin shooting, despite the consequences. The term had seldom been heard before. MSM defended the cultural neologism, of course. No one seems, for some time, to have been able to get an authentic near-adult photo of shooting victim Martin, which would have provided context for the fatal encounter. Odd, when one thinks of the budgets some people have.
December 14 2012, Sandy Hook shooting: MSM misidentified Ernst and Young accountant Ryan Lanza for his brother, Adam Lanza, who shot six adults and twenty children before fatally shooting himself. Ryan Lanza was stuck defending himself against the media charge of mass murder A friend of mine, attempting to defend the incompetence, pointed out at the time that the Internet happens so fast these days, it is hard to keep up.
Well, yes, that’s true. But if all we need is someone to get it wrong, there is no reason to bother with MSM; local live bloggers might have made a mess of the facts—or, alternatively, even accurately identified the perpetrator by personal recognition.
August 9, 2014: In Ferguson, Missouri, a white police officer shot a young African-American man during a struggle for the officer’s gun. MSM accepted without question a version of the events according to which Brown had surrendered and was shot in the back. Autopsy, forensics, and examination of testimony established that witnesses’s claims were not credible:
An Associated Press review of thousands of pages of grand jury documents reveals numerous examples of statements made during the shooting investigation that were inconsistent, fabricated or provably wrong. For one, the autopsies ultimately showed Brown was not struck by any bullets in his back.
It’s hard to know how much of the subsequent rioting when the officer was acquitted stemmed from local residents' acceptance of too-credulous MSM accounts. Again, for people who have a budget...
Because of the readiness with which MSM will jump on anything that smells of racial conflict (perhaps it is easy to cover?), they are often targets of hoax hate crimes. So, it seems, are their readers.
On the whole, if one wants to reduce inequity against visible minorities and violence in society, one of the most useful strategies would be: Those of us who have nothing to gain from promoting conflict should stop paying attention to MSM. Let’s get to know our neighbours and fellow citizens without them.
A few less grim snippets from the vast reams of manufactured news fly past:
* Embattled Washington Post fact checker admits the paper's vaunted "Pinocchio ratings" (for untruthful claims) "are subjective":
Kessler’s lengthy rationalization is essentially a confession that finally proves what many of us have been saying for years: that Kessler and the Post have been abusing the imprimatur of fact-checking as a partisan weapon to push a left-leaning agenda.
Did we really expect anything else?
* New Republic reviewer of movie American Sniper opines on it based on the trailer; hasn’t seen film.
Plagiarism is not the big issue it once was, and celeb plagiarists tend to land on their feet.
I could go on, why bother? To revisit the famous phrase, MSM news is increasingly fake but accurate, provided we believe as the MSM crowd does. Otherwise, it’s just fake.
The next decade will see many more, probably riper examples, if the dying MSM get a reprieve, in return for being of use to progressive government.
Progressives in media aren’t actually “liars,” or “hypocrites,” as many traditionalists and conservatives claim. Such an accusation implies an understanding that facts and evidence are real in a way that PC chatter and narrative are not. The progressive doesn't agree.
He honestly views reality as constructed, not confronted. He gives himself permission to move in and out and around as he wishes, and to force others to accommodate his moves. And woe betide us if we don’t. Whatever he feels right now IS reality, and much more than reality once he has the power to enforce his vision.
But, let's face it, many people like the legacy media’s fake but accurate news. It confirms their view of the world, as surely as legends confirmed the medieval view of the world. Only an evil person would doubt their view, right?
Could legacy media turn and work for traditionalist or conservative governments? My view: Not likely. Traditionalists too often want to know where the beef is. They won’t thrive in an atmosphere where spin outstrips fact most of the time.
Increasingly, anyone under 60 who listens to "network news" or reads the big papers has made a moral decision to allow himself to be deceived, and must accept the consequences. Too bad if the rest of us will be governed in large part by these people's choices.
The CBC: Irrelevant, arrogant, biased. It’s time to pull the plug!
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