A Guide to the Obama Administration’s Five Major Scandals for Mainstream Media Dummies on Facebook. Yes, I know, I broke the Office Christmas Party Protocol, and I wasn’t sure exactly sure at the time why I posted it.
I finally put my finger on it: As much as I believe this article does indeed portray an unfortunate level of comfort this administration has with being a corruptocracy, I believe it’s as much—if not more so—an indictment of the media for its consistent failure to investigate with unbiased zeal the misdeeds and missteps of our political establishment. We can no longer rely on the press to investigate the very government which it is supposed to protect us from.
The media used to be equal-opportunity haters. All politicians hated them because they were relentless in their pursuit of the deepest, darkest misdeeds of all politicians. They did this task out of a sense of journalistic responsibility, of integrity, and of a need to sell papers.
No more, however, is the free press independent, nor is the independent press free.
To the first half of the preceding statement, and by far the worst part of this problem, the media is letting their work be done by the very branches of the government from which they are supposed to be independent. When the President’s staff gets veto power over statements the press is planning on publishing, the press cannot possibly be the objective fourth estate we need.1
And independence means not only independence from the government, but independence to have opinions and findings different from others. The mere existence of the JournoList and the collusion thereon is indicative that this level of independence is dead.2 News organizations which do not toe the party line are called out as radical regardless of how much truth there may be to their stories.
I suppose that the guarantees in the Bill of Rights give the press the right to collude and write the narrative and to spin the data however they like. But the result is that Americans don’t trust the media to do their job at all, as discovered in a recent Gallup poll.3
I’m not alone in this concern. Democratic pollster Patrick Caddell said, “We designed a constitutional system with many checks and balances. The one that had no checks and balances was the press, and that was done under an implicit understanding that, somehow, the press would protect the people from the government and the power by telling—somehow allowing—people to have the truth. That is being abrogated as we speak, and has been for some time.”4
Quite frankly, I do not understand, given the death of the American newspaper, why journalists are so unwilling to investigate this administration. Controversy sells papers, after all. Maybe it’s cost cutting. Maybe it’s a group decision to support this president because there’s something in it for the media that I just can’t figure out—other than outright access, that is. On that subject, The Guardian says “It is pure ‘access journalism’: these reporters are given scoops in exchange for their wholly unjustified promise to allow government officials to propagandize the citizenry without accountability (that is, from behind the protective shield of anonymity). By necessity, their journalistic storytelling is shaped by the perspective of these official sources.”5 If people on the other side of the pond can see what’s going on so very clearly, I can’t help but wonder why we’re so blind to what’s happening within our own borders.
Finally, when the polls are intentionally skewed to reflect the beliefs and leanings of their publishers, as have past media polls6, I believe all the journalistic integrity which decades’ worth of reporters before them have gone to the ends of the earth to build is thoroughly and completely dead.
Given the media’s inability to provide any checks or balances on this administration, I would much rather there be a different administration in place, one in which the media are actively committed and doggedly interested in exposing the government’s misdeeds. That’s a media I could respect.
(You can read Bill daily at Bill's Words)