Fall of the Fourth Estate (R.I.P. Journalism)

The Fourth Estate, as Edmund Burke is credited with saying, yields far more power than the other three. Oscar Wilde said that journalism was the only estate, as it had devoured the other three. In the United States today, whether hyperbolic speech or not, neither Burke nor Wilde is less than accurate, as the executive, legislature, and judiciary are powerless to influence the masses without the cooperation of the unofficial fourth branch of government. The ability to frame political and social issues grants the media, both print and broadcast, with immense power and a great degree of control over the political machinations of the nation.

The American Press Institute defines journalism as the “activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information,” asserting that it is “indispensable to democratic societies.” The first amendment, guaranteeing freedom of the press, is among our most cherished constitutional privileges, and in itself promotes the democratic principles on which this nation is built. A free and independent press is essential to the success of a free society, to informed elections, and to a learned public. A public knowledgeable on local, national, and international affairs, the issues of the day, and the true stances of the political parties and their candidates is an essential safeguard against government or ideological tyranny, and a critical instrument of effective democratic government. An ignorant people, in contrast, are defenseless against the encroachment on their liberty perpetrated by a radical activist government, which we are seeing today.

American journalism is all but dead, with the honest dissemination of fact being replaced with the purposeful promulgation of propaganda. Americans can no longer count on members of the media complex to provide unbiased information and can no longer trust that the information they receive is not tainted with the personal opinions and views of the individual broadcasting the news or authoring the article. The trusted journalists of yesteryear are but a distant memory.

Men like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite are long gone, as is their style of journalism. Murrow gained fame for his honest and reliable reporting of German aggression prior to and in the early stages of World War II, but was best known for fighting for honest reporting and against censorship during the anti-communist hysteria of the 1950s. Cronkite, the longtime CBS News anchor became “the most trusted man in America,” concluding his broadcasts with his catchphrase, “…and that’s the way it is.” The way it is, meaning the truth. The most important characteristic of both men was that they were trusted. Americans could believe what they heard from these titans of journalism and have faith that they were not being misled by biased activists posing as unbiased journalists. What has happened to journalism? Where has the trust gone?

A recent Gallup poll found that 60% of respondents had little or no trust in today’s media, with only 9% claiming they trust the media a great deal. In 2021, Axios shared Edelman’s trust barometer, demonstrating that 56% of respondents agreed that journalists knowingly try to mislead people and 58% agreed that news organizations are more concerned with promoting political positions than informing the public. The truth is out about the liberal news media, but do Americans truly grasp the potential peril of a corrupt print and broadcast media?

The media’s willingness to surrender its democratic responsibilities to promote ideological and political positions has created the gravest threat to the survival of the American republic since the Civil War. The major news networks, print newspapers, and social media platforms have enthusiastically embraced a new role as the propaganda arm of the liberal socialist counterrevolution, allying themselves with the radicalized Democrat party and Marxist activist groups to mislead and misinform the American people and encourage allegiance to anti-American ideals. This axis of liberal socialism utilizes its former role as purveyor of information to create an ill-informed American public, armed only with these false narratives, biased reports, and ideological commentaries. Through its false representation as a journalistic enterprise, the political mass media exerts tremendous influence over our elections, shaping who gets elected and the policies that are promoted.

If the American republic is to survive, the American people must hold the media accountable, demanding the New York Times and Washington Post deliver news, rather than biased commentary, and the broadcast media, including ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and MSNBC, operate as news channels, not opinion networks. Just look at the journalist impersonators currently employed by the supposed news networks today…

· MSNBC’s Joy Reid, the ultimate embarrassment of the profession, has found herself mired in controversy over Islamophobic statements, 9/11 conspiracy tweets, and homophobic blog posts. Her latest includes the typical race-baiting of leftist activists, “people on the right would trade all the tax cuts for the ability to openly say the n-word like in 'the good old days.' To them, not being able to be openly racist and discriminatory without consequence is oppression.” Unbiased?

· CNN host Chris Cuomo, classy as always, derided President Trump with a metaphor, “You've [got] a president who is a drunk driver who is pushing others to drive drunk. That's what he is,” also calling him a “walking lie.” Unbiased?

· Yet the best example of journalism’s demise might be Cuomo’s CNN friend, Don Lemon, who never hides his disdain of those with whom he disagrees. Of Trump voters, he said,

"If you voted for Trump, you voted for the person who the Klan supported. You voted for the person who Nazis support. You voted for the person who the alt-right supports. You voted for the person who incited a crowd to go into the Capitol and potentially take the lives of lawmakers ... You voted on that side, and the people in Washington are continuing to vote on that side."

· Unbiased? Lemon is so partisan, that he cannot even accept a guest complimenting the former president. John Kasich, a never-Trumper superstar, credited Trump with giving a good speech on coronavirus, resulting in Lemon blasting him, interrupting him, and declaring when Kasich asked if he could finish, “No you can’t, John!” That is today’s free and independent press in the nutshell – if you do not agree with the liberal socialist talking points, you are to be silenced, your views cannot be expressed, and your opinions cannot be heard. Sad, but true.

· Not to be outdone, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough declared that the GOP is “unsavable,” repeatedly called President Trump a fascist, and regularly accused Republicans of racism and bigotry in promoting his anti-Trump message. Although he claims to be a conservative, his outright support of a party trending toward socialism might lead many to doubt his veracity.

It is not just individual personalities, however, that attempt to promote a certain perception for or against specific candidates, parties, or political positions. The networks, themselves, perpetuate misinformation and biased reporting uniformly across all their broadcasts. One has to look no further than the situation at the U.S. border with Mexico and the coverage of migrant children. Although the Obama administration constructed and first utilized the holding pens for migrant children, it was never a dominant emphasis of media broadcasts. During the Trump administration, however, the incessant derision of “kids in cages” became the norm, with every broadcast full of pictures aimed at emotional appeals meant to damage the president’s public image. Joe Biden becomes president, and those same “cages” are now referred to as the first “migrant child facility.” Is this journalism or propaganda? Is this unbiased reporting or political spin? Are the media networks independent or political affiliated?

The biased interjection of opinion and ideology into so-called journalism is one thing, but the outright misleading and misinforming of the public is quite another. Dan Rather stepped down at CBS after not vetting his segment during the 2004 presidential campaign that accused George W. Bush of receiving preferential treatment in the Texas National Guard. The report was based on four falsified documents as the network rushed to take down a conservative president, with CBS finally admitting, “…basic journalistic steps were not carried out in a manner consistent with accurate and fair reporting, leading to countless misstatements and omissions…” Sixteen years later, it was another Republican president the media was intent on destroying. One example was Morning Joe, as Scarborough perpetuated the lie that Trump called the Covid-19 pandemic a hoax by knowingly and repeatedly playing an ad on his show that independent fact-checkers declared false and misleading. This was a consistent ploy throughout the Bush and Trump administrations. Truth and fairness matter little to leftists; destroying political opposition is always paramount.

Are we supposed to believe that the news media is composed of unbiased journalists who are simply keeping the American public informed when this is what we see and hear every day? Democrats accused Trump and his supporters of waging war on our very system of democracy when they protested the 2020 election results and spoke out against certifying what they perceived as fraudulent results. Yet, the “indispensable” instrument of democracy, the free and independent press, actively suppresses democracy each and every day by presenting a one-sided picture of every issue, promoting one political position over another, promoting one party and castigating members of the other, and knowingly misleading and misinforming the American public. If journalism is truly necessary for democratic societies to survive and thrive, should we not share concern over the fate of our nation? Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and their journalist brethren are gone; the Fourth Estate has fallen; Joy Reid, Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon, and their propagandist comrades now rule the fourth branch of American government. Journalism is dead and our republic is at risk. Without journalistic accountability, the American public will remain misinformed, misled from the truth toward a leftist oasis that threatens the foundation of our government; at stake is the relevance and authority of the United States Constitution, and the individual liberty it has so ably protected for over 200 years.

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