Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Year Our National Media Died

Published circa Election Day 08

The sun rises on Election Day ’08, this column is written, and the Lord only knows what the day will bring.

One thing is for certain though on the morning of November 4, 2008, this is the year our national media died.

The reporting of this election cycle by our national media has been atrociously biased and partisan, completely outside the intent of the First Amendment.

Our Founding Fathers gave great power to the press in the First Amendment. With this mandate came much responsibility for the media to the people of this nation.

That responsibility was based on objective reporting about the world around us with particular emphasis and importance given to service as the overseer of our government. Though they had constructed a government of, by, and for the people, our Founders knew that weaknesses lay within its architecture. Granting freedom to the press could stand as a “fourth pillar” to the three designated branches of government, keeping the three in check, and preventing them from usurping the rights and freedoms they believed were bestowed upon every American.

Whether simply recapping an event or investigating the actions of government our press was given authority to operate freely and independently for the betterment of America’s citizens.

But now, we have a national media dominated by a political ideology and no longer responsible or concerned with the mandate given them to protect the people from government.

Because we elect those who represent and govern us, our national press should investigate the history, positions, plans, and intentions of anyone and everyone who seeks those offices.

However, they failed to do so in 2008, because they clearly chose a side.

This isn’t a “don’t like the message so shoot the messenger” scenario, because in this case, the messenger has grossly failed and should be fired.

They ignored Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers as long as they could, but immediately descended upon Alaska in droves and crawled through dumpsters to dig up dirt on Sarah Palin.

They ignored Obama’s relationships with Marxists and PLO terrorists, and even protected his involvement with them, yet crawled up “Joe the Plumber’s” life with a microscope for simply asking a question and stating opinions.

Plans for a socialist style redistribution of wealth, a dubious tax scheme, plans to “necessarily” sky-rocket electricity costs, and bankrupt the coal industry all went untouched, barely received mention, or waited until the last minute so as to give the impression that investigative journalism was taking place.

All the while they attacked John McCain incessantly.

The lopsided coverage showed in the Pew Research study of McCain receiving 3:1 unfavorable to favorable coverage while Obama had slightly more favorable coverage than not (not withstanding all the potentially damaging stories that were ignored).

Nearly 6 in 10 stories about McCain were decidedly negative with less than 2 in 10 being positive.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs shows that Obama received 65% positive press, while McCain only received 31%.

Our press failed to objectively investigate and accurately report on those who sought power, thus they have failed the American people.

Because our national media is not held to account, they have become unaccountable, and as such have violated the trust granted to them.

Without a dependable, unbiased federal government watchdog, who do Americans now turn to for the information and investigations to keep their government responsible?

Some one or some group is needed to step in and fill that role. Somebody must fill this void of power given by our Constitution. But from who or where will that void be filled?

Our national media must be rebuilt from local journalists, small town and small city reporters who are still held to account for their reporting, those who still understand the role and duty of the press. They work in markets too small to be biased. Too many others know the same facts and any deviations from objectivity spark an outcry and a sacking. Journalistic integrity still exists within this group.

Our national media may have died this year, but journalism has not. It still exists in our home towns, and from them we can rebuild a national media which is grounded in the original commission of the First Amendment and can serve as an unbiased news source and a check upon our federal government.

We must, because our representative democracy can not stand without a strong fourth pillar.

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