The malpractice of mainstream media

In 1787, the same year the U.S. Constitution was drafted, Thomas Jefferson remarked, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Jefferson was a brilliant guy, but I’m not sure even he could have envisioned the day when newspapers actually became a part of the government—literally the government’s propaganda arm in too many instances.

Journalists, above all other occupations, should be steadfast defenders of the right to free expression as protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment. Yet, having spent 40 years in the media, I am bewildered that the nation’s journalists have instead become the most gleeful cheerleaders of censorship.

From what I’ve seen, nearly all of the corporate mainstream media have remained silent about the ongoing atrocities that Federal Judge Terry Doughty, of U.S. District Court, Western Louisiana, last year called “arguably the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history.”

The attack apparently is being orchestrated, no less, from people elected and appointed to handsomely paid jobs in our own government.

“In their attempts to suppress alleged disinformation, the federal government, and particularly the defendants named here, are alleged to have blatantly ignored the First Amendment’s right to free speech,” Doughty wrote on July 4, 2023 in a 155-page injunction order in Missouri vs. Biden.

The suit, brought by the states of Missouri and Louisiana and five private citizens, claims the Biden administration coerced and intimidated media giants like Facebook (now Meta), Twitter and YouTube to censor and suppress free speech, including truthful information related to covid, election integrity and other topics under the guise of combating “misinformation.” A similar case—Robert F. Kennedy Jr., et al vs. Biden—was consolidated into Missouri vs. Biden before the U.S. Supreme Court, in October 2023 agreed to hear the case now known as Murthy vs. Missouri. The nation’s highest court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on March 18.

If you’re just now learning about this landmark litigation in an obscure blog you may be asking yourself what exactly the nation’s “journalists” and “news” papers—from the Podunk Weekly to the Washington Post—are being paid to do.

Better yet, you ought to ask them.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people to whom I mention the unprecedented cases are unaware of them. As of the beginning of March, I’ve been unable to find a single mention of the cases in The Plain Dealer, which still claims to be Ohio’s largest newspaper.

It’s easy to understand why Lara Logan, award-winning investigative journalist and former chief foreign affairs correspondent for 60 Minutes, told a February 26 Senate hearing convened by Sen. Ron Johnson (R.-Wisconsin) that “these are the worst of times for the media in this country.”

“We live in the age of information warfare where propaganda is not simply a weapon, it is the entire field of battle,” Logan testified. “It is a moment when we as journalists should stand together united, and regardless of politics we should fight for the truth and we should fight for freedom.”

Here’s the good news.

The rapid and deserved decline of traditional mainstream media has sprouted a rising era of independent journalism. Platforms like Substack and Rumble are giving independent news providers—including “citizen journalists”—a reasonably level playing field to reach people who are hungry for honest reporting. So far, some “alternative” platforms have resisted pressure to let meddling bureaucrats control their content.

When I was a kid, our television dial offered a choice of three VHF stations and a few grainy UHF alternatives through which we viewed the limited content that was offered to us. Today, the offerings are virtually unlimited, and we get to choose them for ourselves.

Those who choose to explore the numerous news sites and podcasts take on the responsibility to determine for themselves which seem to be credible and which smell like fake news. Those who prefer to let their “leaders” do their thinking for them still have the option of picking at the rotting remains of the mainstream media corpse.

“When the founding fathers put freedom of speech first [in the Bill of Rights] it was not by chance,” Logan told the senate. “It was by design. The rights that followed were in part created to protect the First Amendment. Without it, they knew that freedom itself would perish.”


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