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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘pro-democracy’

The Latest Media Assault on Freedom

Posted by M. C. on May 10, 2022

When did Washington reporters became qualified to serve as Grand Inquisitors for Democracy, casting judgment on every politician and proposal? Most reporters have the same level of intellectual curiosity as the average lottery ticket buyer. Reporters react to the word “bipartisan” like cocaine addicts desperate for another political virtue signal.

by James Bovard

Prominent journalists are calling for the media to champion a “pro-democracy” bias in how they portray politicians and government agencies. But tub-thumping for democracy — or at least for politicians who claim to be pro-democracy — is a poor substitute for exposing the proliferation of government abuses. Freedom will be the victim if journalists grasp a new pretext to portray government as a trustworthy savior.The press should vigorously investigate and expose federal crimes regardless of who is president.
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In January, Washington Post columnist Perry Bacon called for a “pro-democracy media,” vigorously describing “long-standing Republican tactics such as aggressive gerrymandering as … dangers to democracy.” Bacon frets because “gun-shy editors” fail to denounce Republican “radicalism” in banner headlines. Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan declared, “That American democracy is teetering is unquestionable” due to pro-Trump Republicans, requiring a “new pro-democracy emphasis” to be “articulated clearly — and fearlessly — to readers and viewers.” Post columnist Brian Klaas admits that “the media adopting a pro-democracy bias … effectively means being pro-Democratic [Party],” but there is no alternative except to “unequivocally and unapologetically condemn” Republicans.

What could possibly go wrong from journalists pretending that only one political party threatens Americans’ rights and liberties? Demonizing one political party tacitly saints their opponents. But both Republicans and Democrats have a long record of unleashing federal agencies and ignoring the subsequent constitutional carnage.

Urging the media to become “pro-democracy” is reminiscent of a corporation that is almost bankrupt and gambles everything on a desperate “Hail Mary” pass. A June 2021 survey by the Reuters Institute reported that only 29 percent of Americans trusted the news media — the lowest rating of any of the 46 nations surveyed. A Gallup poll last year revealed that “86 percent of Americans believed the media was politically biased.” Practically the only folks who don’t recognize the bias are the people who share the media’s slant.

The media-Democrat alliance

How does “pro-democracy” reporting work in practice? Journalists provide readers with a catechism specifying correct beliefs rather than providing facts by which citizens can reach their own conclusions. But the Washington press corps was aptly described decades ago as “stenographers with amnesia.” The political “philosophy” of most reporters does not go beyond “Orange Man Bad.”

Many journalists love to slap a halo over politicians and then bask in the reflective glow. In 2020 and 2021, many of the top media outlets hailed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for being far more repressive with his COVID policies than President Donald Trump advocated. A laudatory New Yorker profile, entitled “Andrew Cuomo, King of New York,” explained that Cuomo and his aides saw the battle over COVID policy as “between people who believe government can be a force for good and those who think otherwise.” For many liberals and much of the nation’s media, placing people under house arrest, padlocking schools, bankrupting business, and causing two million people to lose their jobs vindicated government as “a force for good.”

MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace declared that Cuomo is “everything Trump isn’t: honest, direct, brave.” Entertainment Weekly hailed Cuomo as “the hero that America never realized it needed until he was on our television screens every night.” As National Review noted, local reporters failed to ask questions on his nursing home edict (which forced nursing homes to accept COVID-positive patients) “for months, as the governor held his much-praised daily press briefings about the pandemic. There were literally hundreds of hours of Cuomo press conferences in the first half of 2020 where not a single question was asked about nursing homes.”

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