Most of mainstream media claims to be “fair and balanced.” Nothing could be further from the truth. With the exception of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, “fair and balanced” is a lie that many hope, if repeated enough, will become truth.
For years there have been only two major political parties in the U.S., Democrat (but not Democratic by any stretch of the imagination) and Republican. Of course, there are some smaller parties, such as Libertarians, the Green Party, Socialist Party USA and Constitution Party.
The most insidious group influencing politics is the national news media. This group shows its bias daily, and is it geared almost exclusively toward one target, conservatives. Examples are so numerous that I would need a year’s worth of columns to list them all, and that is just in the last five years.
In 2008 much ado was made about Sarah Palin’s supposed lack of experience. After all, she was only a governor, and one who renegotiated several oil contracts for her state. Meanwhile Barack Obama, a one-term senator, received no such scrutiny and was never questioned about his experience or lack of attendance.
Fast forward to 2012. Obama never had to be held accountable for anything he did or didn’t do, including the Fast and Furious scandal or the Benghazi attacks. Every statement Mitt Romney made was turned into a media storm.
Vice President Joe Biden can rarely make a public appearance without making a verbal gaffe. While usually amusing, no more is said about those gaffes. In contrast, some of you may remember how Vice President Dan Quayle was excoriated over the most trivial things, such as his pronunciation or spelling of certain words. Those stories were heard for weeks.
Democrats usually get softball questions from supposedly serious journalists. Republicans, on the other hand, often get absurd questions based on erroneous or downright stupid assumptions. Remember when the Gabby Giffords shooting was Sarah Palin’s fault because she had a target on one of her websites?
Certainly there are exceptions to this bias. Sharyl Attkinson is a superb investigative journalist. When her efforts to investigate the terrorist attacks in Benghazi and Libya were discovered, her personal and work computers were hacked. Her employer, CBS News, refused to either support her or allow her to resign. She eventually did resign, citing liberal bias at CBS as her reason. She said, “It is not a matter of me being on the air, it’s the idea that so few of the incredibly interesting and important original and investigative topics I brought to the table could find no home at CBS…”
It has now become evident that when the narrative doesn’t suit the “journalist,” they just make things up. Brian Williams was recently caught lying about his war coverage stories. Most likely other lies will surface. He is not alone. Remember when Dan Rather made up information and cited faked documents about George W. Bush’s Texas Air Guard service to hurt him politically?
Does anyone see a pattern here? How many of the other news stories we hear have been slanted or even fabricated to suit the “journalist’s” agenda? It would be one thing if they were opinion commentators or newspaper editors writing clearly labeled editorials. Sadly, journalists represent themselves as fair and objective when they are anything but. There is a huge loss of credibility with major news sources. Is it any wonder that many of the responsible journalists have migrated to Fox News?
So many news sources today cite transparency as their mantra. The very metaphor of transparency suggests a medium through which we view things. According to a 1998 study by Yale University, the national media subverts and simulates political transparency. How? Through diversion of attention or by supplementation of reality.
What does that mean? Very simply ... diversion of attention merely means to change the topic. Supplementation of reality is a little more subtle. This requires changing the context of how something is presented, like one plus one being 11 and not two. The Clinton’s get a pass. The knives are being sharpened for Scott Walker. Obama scandals are mentioned in passing, if at all.
Make no mistake, the national media is the single greatest influence on elections and policy. They don’t run for office. They just wield the pen to pick candidates and turn elections in their favor by any means or lie necessary. Then they provide cover for “their” politicians.
Tom Riggins is an LVN columnist and may be reached at email@example.com