Media — Heal Thyself

In yet another display of collective, gullible stupidity, MAGAs “protested” outside of the New York Times building chanting “Defund the Media!” Nobody from the media was there to ask any of them who funds the media.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has died from complications of covid. Even though he was vaccinated he died because he was 84 and was already really sick with a type of blood cancer, making his immune system very weak. Fox News “reporter” John Roberts immediately took to Twitter as soon as he found out to say that his death raises concerns about long term effectiveness of the vaccine. Tweeters ripped the Fox News asshole a new asshole.

CNN’s Jim Acosta, the antipode of Fox’s John Roberts, was on Trump’s hit list. One time Trump tried to shut him up in the press room by saying that he had a record for not telling the truth and that he should be ashamed. To that Acosta replied (in front of all the chicken shit reporters,) “Our record of telling the truth is a lot better than yours.”

One of the other veteran journalists on Trump’s shit list, April Ryan (he told her to be quiet when she asked a question,) had to hire special security after she called Sarah Huckabee Sanders out for lying to the press. She got death threats.

The New York Times editor, Dean Baquet, called Trump out for putting his reporters’ lives at risk after he called the press “fake news” thousands of times in person and on Twitter.

Trump had control of the media long before he was president. In the spring of 2011, he was invited on the Today Show, The View, CNN, Fox and more to discuss his “theory” that Obama was not born in America, opening the way to the presidency where he would later use the Nazi’s playbook to demonize the press and control the daily narrative.

“Trump’s propaganda & disinformation machine, which operates according to a despot’s playbook, is the most aggressive & odious in history. It far surpasses even Russia’s ability to trample the truth, harm U.S. security, & undermine America’s reputation worldwide.” — John Brennan

Imagine how different things would be if the media had called Trump out for lying to them from the start. Instead, they treated him like a legitimate, normal president, lived in fear of him, and reported exactly what he wanted them to report.

Trump tweeted: very often FAKE NEWS. Lamestream Media should be forced to reveal sources, very much as they did in the long ago past. If they did that, the media would be trusted again, and Fake News would largely be a thing if the past!

Republicans had already prepped his ascent by getting their voters to doubt the press. They dubbed the free press the “liberal media” which kept the media on the defense. It would go out of its way to not appear liberal by treating Republican lies and propaganda as the “other side” of “both sides.” By being hard on Democrats and soft on Republicans, the main stream media amplifies the Republican narrative.

And then there’s Fox News. Before Fox, people consumed the same news and then interpreted and debated it differently. Now Republicans and Democrats consume their own news. Fox doesn’t cover the news of the day. They tell their viewers what they want them to hear. Trump had been calling in to Fox and Friends years before ever becoming president. That’s how the whole birtherism thing got started — he’d call in on Monday mornings and talk their heads off. He lived within walking distance from the Fox studio but always called in because it made him sound more important. He was so busy he had to call in (after his presidency we now know he wasn’t doing anything but watching Fox News.) After becoming president, calling into Fox and Friends was the highlight of his day. He considered it executive time and talked to Sean Hannity every night before bed so he’d know what to tweet in the morning.

No other president has had a safe media haven like Trump had and still has with Fox. He calls in whenever he needs stroking and never receives any push back or serious questions. There isn’t any fact checking at Fox. The audience has been so radicalized they never doubt anything he or anybody on Fox says. It’s lost on them that the daily rants by the many Republicans who go on Fox to rant about being silenced by the media are ranting on Republican TV, a major media network that drives the talking points of the day. When Trump was their spokesman, they were successful in changing the political vernacular by pushing “hoax, fake news, and witch hunt.”

Fox News has been successful at turning lazy, entitled, willfully ignorant white people into MAGA/Fox militiamen by making them feel good about not being intellectually curious or politically informed. They’re superior simply because they watch Fox News, the propaganda network for domestic terrorists.

Some good news — high school students in Illinois will be the first students in the nation that will be required to take a media literacy class starting next year. They will learn to tell the difference between fake news and real news, how to recognize bias, how to analyze and communicate information, how media effects information consumption, civics and social responsibility, and how different mediums influence their own emotions, thoughts and behavior.

Media: Heal thyself. Quit pursuing access over truth. Don’t treat propaganda, sensationalism and out right lies as “both sides.” Stop letting profits drive false equivalencies. In a healthy democracy, it’s the job of the free press to keep the citizenry informed.

“Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.” Thomas Jefferson

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