The Media are part of the establishment that profits off the 'order' and thus would never disturb it.
Through the First Amendment, Journalism is the only business that the U.S. Constitution endorses. The primary motivation behind ensuring the right of free speech was not merely to allow the production of film and media for amusement and entertainment purposes but to protect the Press’s core mission in holding the Government accountable and ensuring transparency by accurately reporting to the people Governmental matters. So, inarguably, the founders saw a free and independent Press as one of the pillars of a functioning democracy but one could argue that in the modern-era, the core principle of the press has shifted from reporting on ‘what matters’ to reporting on ‘what sells’ as they’ve become more of an avenue for corporate profits rather than ideologically driven establishments, to the detriment of the very founding principles that ensured their right to exist.
We saw this phenomenon at play firsthand last year when Donald Trump received billions of dollars worth of airtime gratis just because controversies appeal to Americans more than consistency, even when the future of the world is at stake. CNN and MSNBC, who find the Trump Presidency so repugnant and Trump himself deplorable, helped normalize him in the eyes of American voters. The media gave Trump the platform to revive age-old ideas that could not stand the test of time and were reduced to discussions in dark alleys. They made Donald Trump a household name and his far-right views topics of dinner table conversations.
With the help of the media, Trump made the same despicable ideas that 416,000 Americans died fighting against, mainstream again to the point that it forced even the shrewdest amongst us to accept them as policy positions and present counter-arguments instead of outrightly rejecting the obnoxious propositions. By default, the mere act of engaging in a debate establishes your respect for the opposite view because for you to prove why something would not work, you have to accept the dim probability that it could. The American media reduced us to the point where we started to debate Neo-Nazism rather than rejecting it on common sense grounds. Not only that, various magazines such as The Atlantic even veiled America’s white nationalism by labeling it ‘cultural anxiety.’
Fox News hosted the first Republican primary debate with 9 candidates + Donald Trump, in 2015. (Fox News)
Furthermore, the disrespect our media shows to Harvard and Yale Professors and overall highbrows by having them debate mid-Western hicks posing as political consultants is beyond pale. They do not belong on the same stage; you could either yearn to hear from one or the other, not both. You either want constitutional and historical specifics or cheap political talk points, not both. By putting them on the same platform, the media establishes that the two are equal and the same, which diminishes worthiness of objectivity and increases the stock value of subjectivity. The Media then reports on what’s consistent with their audience’s subjectivity, which reinforces their political beliefs and worldview instead of challenging them.
It also gives off the impression that those who hanker to see everything in constitutional and historical light have somehow overlapping interests with those who can name two of the seven dwarves but not any two Supreme Court Justices (which unfortunately is most Americans).
And then the same media complains about how in modern America, the acceptability of truth is pegged to how it makes its receptor feel as if truth needs acceptance to hold credibility.
If indeed it was only the ‘modern America’ which existed outside of media circles that struggled with the truth, television news anchors would gravitate toward inviting equal number of Republicans and Democrats instead of arraying 5 Democratic analysts and 1 Republican but because they are not seeking truth, merely invoking hokum that keeps their unsuspecting liberal audience glued to their screens wheedling them also into live-tweeting broadcasts, they have extended their reach and profits by essentially making liberals indistinguishable from the same credulous Fox News crowd that they so despised.
In an age when perceived veracity holds more value than objective truth as long as it invokes in people nationalistic fervor, one could argue that freedom of expression and freedom of the Press have become boundless. But since a few American Billionaires control the Press, it collectively behaves and operates more like a state-run media than a pillar of democracy that the founders intended it would be, which makes one question whether the limitless freedom of media has become a special privilege that enables a few families to amass fortunes to the detriment of American intellect.
For over two decades now, Fox News has been doing the bidding for the Republican Party. They do not admit their bias more than CNN, MSNBC and NYTimes admit theirs towards the Democratic Party. Until the 2016 elections, the prejudice in media had been subtle with everyone thinking that their favoritism was what the nation needed but no one was explicit about their loyalties.
Ever since the contemporary populist wave carried Donald Trump to the White House, that has changed. The media have begun expressing their bias unambiguously with no concern over isolating the other half of the country. It’s like every media outlet has adopted Fox News’ business model and is trying to replicate it in hopes that pandering to the subjectivities of their audience would ultimately generate ratings for their corporate lords and ballot success for their political comrades.
Kellyanne Conway gets regularly interviewed on CNN. (CNN, New Day)
It’s not just news organizations, I’m talking about all media; late night shows, award ceremonies, professional sports etc. Neither of the political parties minds it of course since the divisions, not just of opinions but also of morals and values that prevail amongst the mainstream media serves their cause of seeming distinguishable from one another. Donald Trump was as close to a third party candidate as we could have gotten because Democrats and Republicans of the recent times had won elections on the promise of ‘change’ but ended up mainly pursuing the policies of their predecessors, turning them essentially into a single party, abating the perception that America is still a democracy which threatens their alternate hold on power.
Then, there are some ‘news-organizations’ whose modus operandi is same as prostitutes for hire except that instead of doing sexual favors for socially unfrequented men, they do political favors for sexually depraved neo-Nazis running for public office. Breitbart, a ‘news organization’, waged a ‘war’ on anti-Trump establishment besmirching the very impartiality and aversion to predilection that the founders’ intended the Press would hold dear. Breitbart does this in the name of nationalism and freedom, but there is nothing nationalistic about trampling all over the constitution without which there would be no freedom.
The 2016 election was clearly the most obvious example of corporate greed at play in the news media, but like most election fads, influence peddling activist-journalism has not gone away. Part of the reason Trump has stayed in campaign mood is that the media by reporting on trivial things like how many scoops of ice-cream the president gets after dinner has deviated from its core mission and adopted onto itself the role of a political opposition.
Just like a political opposition, the media downplays scandals that undermine their side’s credibility while they magnify the defects of their rivals. This act of selective coverage is exactly what we see in campaign ads when each candidate maligns their opposition but refuses to address to their own lapses.
The practice of selective reporting has only become more rampant since 2016, which shows that the media’s takeaway from the last elections was ‘controversy leads to higher revenues’ instead of ‘our actions have consequences.’
If James Madison could have foreseen this vilification of journalism at the hands of corporate monarchs of America, if nothing, he would have worded the First Amendment a little differently.🔷