Monday, August 22, 2016

Blame It On The "Liberal Media"

Well, today I received a rather funny joke...with the "Conservative Flair," as I call it.  I had to chuckle, but not because of the punch line of the story.  I began a memorable journey in the journalistic profession, back in the mid-1960' which took me to life in three different foreign countries....interaction with some of the most amazing people I've ever met.  I was inspired by men like Edward R. Murrow.  Pride in my profession grew, as my fellow truth seekers exposed Watergate, the My Lai Massacre, Gulf of Tonkin debacle...."The Killing Fields" of Cambodia....activities in Laos and so much more.  A time before "news" fell into the "entertainment" arena, ruled by perky women with low cut tops and large cup sizes....clueless "eye candy" for the masses.  Ah, those were the days.  But before I ramble on and put you to sleep, here's the bit of Conservative, "liberal media" humor for the day.

A Harley Biker is riding by the zoo in Washington, DC when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion's cage. Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the collar of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, under the eyes of her screaming parents. The biker jumps off his Harley, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch. 

Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back letting go of the girl, and the biker brings the girl to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly. 

A reporter has watched the whole event. The reporter addressing the Harley rider says, “Sir, this was the most gallant and bravest thing I've seen a man do in my whole life.”

The Harley rider replies, “Why, it was nothing, really. The lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger, and acted as I felt right.”

The reporter says, “Well, I'll make sure this won't go unnoticed. I'm a journalist, you know, and tomorrow's paper will have this story on the front page. So, what do you do for a living, and what political affiliation do you have?”

The biker replies "I'm a U.S. Marine, a Republican and I’m voting for Trump."

The journalist leaves.

The following morning the biker buys the paper to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads, on the front page:


And that pretty much sums up the media's approach to the news these days!

Ah yes, a chuckle, even from this cranky old retired guy's side of the writer's desk.  More importantly, it set me to thinking about the history of a once honorable profession....and how we came this far.

It seems that many Conservatives today only know of ONE Constitutional Amendment...The Second Amendment....but there was an amendment the Founding Fathers apparently viewed with an even greater urgency....or at least, they called it the "First Amendment."  And that First Amendment dealt with two uncomfortable issues for Conservatives.  In case you missed it in grade school, here's what it says."

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Naturally, this would be glossed over by a group of individuals trying to demand a "Christian nation."  A group who bully political candidates to be grilled by "Christian leaders."  A group who fail to recognize that freedom to exercise religion includes a right to live without religion of any kind being imposed in their personal lives and decisions.  It seems that the First Amendment grants the same rights and expression to people of ALL if we are going to give one religion the stage in a public arena....then all others have the same right.

But for the point of my opinion editorial here, I'm looking at, ""or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press."  In fact, many states took this statement even further, with states legislating "Shield Laws" for journalists.  Journalists had to be able to protect their confidential sources of information, if they are to expect cooperation in obtaining information.  But, our politicians began to fear "truth," as they manipulated and wrangled illegal deals behind the scenes.

Since we're blaming "liberals" for the destruction of "news," let's take a look back in time.  Here's a statement by David Burnham of the New York Times in 1982.  “In its first 21 months in office, the Reagan administration has taken several actions that reduce the information available to the public about the operation of the Government, the economy, the environment, and public health."  In response to the charge and to the value of the Freedom of Information Act, the Reagan Administration replied.  “I believe, however, that there is an effort to balance the value of collecting and disseminating information against other values we think are important. Freedom of information is not cost free, it is not an absolute good.”  Really?  I wonder how that falls with "abridging" the freedom of the press?  Here's some interesting history on the pros and cons of the Reagan Administration policies.

Then, this same Conservative administration enacted the hypocrisy into law.  On December 3, 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed Public Law 99-494 proclaiming 1987 “The Year of the Reader.” The blatant hypocrisy of that act was clear throughout 1987 as the Reagan administration outdid itself in its efforts to control, interpret, manipulate, disinform, and censor all forms of information.  Read on:

Now, let's fast forward to another Conservative administration....that of President G.W. Bush.  Ah yes, the infamous "Patriot Act," which was going to keep us all "safe."  Even the name of the act is repulsive....seemingly implying that if you aren't okay with warrantless surveillance of your life, you aren't "patriotic."  Something like that, anyway.  Once more, journalists became a target of wiretapping, surveillance and scrutiny.  "Secret FISA Courts" were used and even "secret prisons" in third party countries were born.  Journalists grew more fearful for themselves and their sources....and with good reason.  Reliable sources began to fade.

While government has eroded the rights and privileges afforded to journalists, there since the day of the founding of this nation, an even greater threat has come into play.  And again, one can hardly accuse "liberals" of being "corporate friendly."  Independent news agencies, once the mainstay of free reporting, began falling to the power of corporate money.  Journalists, like everyone else, rely on a paycheck to support their families.  And as corporations began swallowing the independent media, any semblance of "independence" began to disappear.  Today, some 90% of all mainstream media is owned by a total of six corporations.  As occurs with all business, corporations consume the little guy, or force him out of the arena, using the power of money.  At this point, "news" became the mouthpiece of the corporations.  One more domino falls.  These are the same corporations which buy independent laboratories that come up with findings contrary to the goal of the corporation.  They merely buy the labs and the scientists...again, people who need a paycheck to survive...and make them rewrite results to their benefit.  So, what do we expect from the media today?  "Facts?"  Not a chance!!!  As we are seeing with our elections now, it's all illusion.  An illusion of choice.

While some of the names and ownership are a bit out of date today, the basics remain the same.  Do you really think that the "liberal media" is the problem?  Corporations, for the most part, aren't "liberal," to begin with....but they will feed the public whatever propaganda they see fit, so the blame is placed somewhere other than where it belongs.  In this case, on the very corporations that own what you see, read and hear.

So, for all these Conservatives who dismiss facts, figures and data, even when supported by citations, where do they turn for the "truth?"  Where else....the beloved "News Corp" and their reliable "Fox News."  Apparently, if you want "fact," here in the U.S., you turn to an Australian, a Saudi Arabian prince and a handful of corporate owners, none of which appear to have any sort of "liberal bias."

So, you want "free and fair," this is what you get in "corporate owned America."

I thank the Conservatives for today's good laugh!

©Stan G. Kain

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