It’s a question I have struggled with since it began to happen during the Obama administration.
I watched the media erect a protective media shield around President Obama to protect him from tough questions that might embarrass his administration.
Then, during the 2020 presidential election, the media recreated that media shield in an effort to help Joe Biden win the election and it’s still there, protecting Biden and his family from scrutiny related to questionable financial dealings with corrupt officials and oligarchs in China, Ukraine, and Russia.
Most recently, the legacy media have sided with Big Tech in censoring any information that might hurt Biden.
An example of that was revealed recently when Journalist Matt Taibbi eviscerated Twitter and other social and mainstream media outlets during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, saying media collusion with the federal government over “disinformation” had created “a form of digital McCarthyism” in the 21st century.
“Effectively, news media became an arm of a state-sponsored thought-policing system,” Taibbi told members of the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government in his opening statement.
Taibbi — who, along with journalist Michael Shellenberger and former New York Times editor and reporter Bari Weiss, was granted access last year to Twitter’s internal communications by CEO Elon Musk — said his “Twitter Files” investigation revealed that the social media giant collaborated with the US government “to turn the internet into an instrument of censorship and social control” as part of an “anti-disinformation” push.
“We learned Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other companies developed a formal system for taking in moderation ‘requests’ from every corner of government: the FBI, DHS, HHS, DOD, the Global Engagement Center at State, even the CIA,” Taibbi told the House committee.
How did the mainstream media react to this revelation? Crickets. A fact that was not lost on Shellenberger.
“What you’re basically seeing here is the rise of a for-profit censorship industry funded by American taxpayers to censor real-world information,” Shellenberger said. “It’s a huge scandal.”
Of course, you won’t see the mainstream media covering this scandal anytime soon because that would mean conducting some serious introspection into themselves and their duplicitous reporting.
Instead, many in the mainstream media and socialist Democrats in Congress have attacked Taibbi and Shellenberger for doing exceptional journalism.
“These stories are clearly newsworthy,” Taibbi said of the Twitter Files. “They are not particularly partisan, the bulk of them. And these attacks on myself and Mr. Shellenberger. It’s the kind of thing that drove the mainstream media wild when Donald Trump was in office. There would have been days and days of headlines of this kind of thing back then. Now, there is total unconcern about it. But I’ve been really troubled outside this entire period by the lack of esprit de corps among reporters about the story.”
Indeed. Where are the journalists willing to support and praise this kind of reporting? Where are the interviews or follow-up stories on the Networks, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times? Where are the nominations for journalism awards?
“Normally, when you get a big story, you want the cavalry to come to help investigate and nobody did and I think that’s been a very troubling aspect,” Taibbi said. “This idea of journalists sticking up for one another and sticking up for civil liberties, which used to be a no-brainer issue in this profession, again, it’s gone. It’s just something that has disappeared entirely from the business.”
As someone who spent almost 30 years as a reporter, editor, and foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, it is deeply troubling to watch a profession I was once proud to be a member of fall into such an unethical and duplicitous state.
After all, journalists are supposed to be the watchdogs of government, not toady sycophants who are more concerned about protecting like-minded leftwing politicians than reliably representing the public.
Someone once said it’s the duty of journalists to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”—by exposing the faults of the rich and powerful while acting as the voice of the impoverished and disenfranchised.
It seems that my brothers and sisters in the mainstream media have gotten that little tenet backward.
And that should worry all Americans because a press that believes its job is to censor information rather than report it puts the very survival of our democratic republic at risk.
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