An Epidemic of Distrust
Also, the MSM's SCOTUS assassination plot coverage is shameful to the Nth degree.
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The media is widely despised for its shoddy reporting — the United States ranks last in media trust among 46 nations — and this has led to the swift spread of distrust in our institutions during times when trust in those institutions is extremely important. . . like, say, a pandemic. Trust in the U.S. federal government to handle problems is at a near-record low, and trust in the U.S.’s major institutions is within 2 percentage points of the all-time low.
The traditional function of the media in liberal democracies is to serve as a safeguard against the state in preservation of freedom and democracy, which is why censorship in a traditional sense presupposes a hierarchical relationship between the state and media that's typical of authoritarian regimes. In this conception, it is the state that censors the media. A perfect example is Putin's Iron Curtain-like state censorship at present.
But the U.S. no longer fits this paradigm. When Trump entered the political world like a bull in a China shop, the media’s pretense of objectivity was abandoned. Even before he stepped foot inside the Oval Office, the Huffington Post ended every Trump-related article with this editor’s note: “Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims—1.6 billion members of an entire religion—from entering the U.S.”
In his book, Media Madness, Howard Kurtz describes how, shortly after his election victory, Trump sat down in a “private session” with mainstream media network anchors. One of the questions they asked was what surprised him most about becoming president. “The fact that you never changed your coverage,” he replied. “The fact that it never got better.” And it sure as hell didn’t improve after he was elected. In 2017, The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple noted that “91 percent of recent network Trump coverage has been negative.” So, slightly skewed.
Today, it could not be more obvious that legacy media has traded in mediation for advocacy; the entire axis has become no less than a conglomerate staffed with pacifier-sucking, self-flagellating, overly-neurotic toadies that spend their days unmoored to anything other than their own self-interests, and they gleefully bend the knee to the Democratic Party while moonlighting as social justice warriors.
If you should have any doubts about the extent to which the mainstream media carries water for today’s Left and the impact this has on national discourse: Today, June 8th, a dude from California was arrested at 0105 in the morning outside Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home with a black tactical vest, a knife, a Glock 17 pistol with two magazines and ammunition, pepper spray, zip ties, a hammer, screwdriver, nail punch, crowbar, pistol light, duct tape, hiking boots and other items in his backpack and suitcase.
He flat-out told the cops he’d traveled there — after getting Kavanaugh’s address online, where it’s been maliciously posted for weeks now by various antifa-type groups — to murder Kavanaugh because he was angry the Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade, and about the school shooting in Uvalde. He believed murdering Kavanaugh “would give his life purpose.”
For posterity’s sake, here’s a screenshot of the New York Times's homepage right now, as well as Washington Post’s and ABC's—see if you can find their coverage of this incident:
Earlier today, CNN’s Whitney Wild tried to deny that the dude arrested had a weapon “at all.” Whitney, sweetheart. You’re embarrassing yourself. It was a viable fucking assassination plot, mkay. We're not talking a spur of the moment type thing here. The dude flew across the country to get there. It's a long flight. He probably had some time to think it over.
Imagine the level of hysterics that would’ve resulted from a similar incident if the individual in question had flown across the country to kill a liberal justice, and he was arrested with — gasp! — a MAGA hat on. Pelosi would have the National Guard doing roving patrols around the Capitol right now. Full battle rattle. Round in the chamber. And Elizabeth Warren would once again be doing her WE ARE ANGRY!!! pep-rally gig and looking like someone who could very much benefit from some professionally dispensed medication. For weeks and weeks now the media has claimed that the only threats of violence after the SCOTUS leak have been from the “radical Right.”
Here’s Jen Psaki literally saying, despite knowing full-well it’s against the law, “We certainly continue to encourage [protests] outside of judges’ homes.” The demonization of individuals and the picketing of their private homes is how this happens, and the POS that leaked the draft opinion knew that the response would involve intimidation and even violence; they didn't leak the draft because they thought it was intellectually stimulating and wanted the country to enjoy such a wonderful source of stimuli.
But of course the children still did their little kumbaya rain dance today. Justice doesn't rest guys, keep up the good work.
It is not within the scope of human calculation to divine what passes for a moral compass inside these people. What bothers me most isn't the lack of coverage and the egregious double standards at play; it’s who's not given any consideration: His wife and kids.
Henceforth, I’m done citing specific reasons or examples to back up the claim that the mainstream media/legacy outlets are democratic shills who think journalistic ethics and fidelity to the truth are for the birds. I've always tried, out of a sense of personal obligation, to indicate why I'm making the claim, but we've reached the point where it's self-evident. It’s not like it’s some insoluble cosmic mystery why the NYT and WaPo treating a hey-this-doesn’t-fit-with-the-narrative-we’re-tasked-with-proselytizing story with appropriate attention and gravitas might as well be a solar eclipse.
The burden is now on those who would have me believe otherwise: Explain to me why I'm wrong. And I’ll always listen, because I'm wrong a lot. I'm not too proud, or too arrogant, to change my mind about something. My identity is not tied to my politics; it's only when you're aware of your own perspective, your own predispositions, that you're liberated from them.
The Democratic Party censoring the mainstream media, be it CNN or a WaPo reporter on Twitter, is about as likely as Justin Trudeau getting dirt under his finger nails. Also pretty undeniable, in my humble opinion, is that the national security state espouses the same disinformation and censorship agenda as today’s Left. Mainstream media newsrooms are filled with former FBI operatives, CIA agents, and other former employees of the security state, and polls show that Democrats overwhelmingly trust and love the FBI and CIA.
As Glenn Greenwald has detailed in-depth, polls also show they (Democrats) overwhelmingly favor censorship of the internet—by Big Tech oligarchs and also by the same security state that’s been repurposed to target the Left’s domestic political enemies on the Right. Since 2016, when the Bad Orange Man usurped the throne from the rightful heir — one Hillary Rodham Clinton, she of the Russiagate hoax perpetrated on Americans for 4 years and faithful monogamist to the lascivious William Jefferson Clinton — agitating for more online censorship has been a leading priority for a Democratic Party that still blames social media's circulation of “fake news” for Hillary Clinton’s loss.1
The same party has laid bare the fact that they’re in a close alliance with Big Tech, and that Big Tech's rapidly expanding censorship regime is being used to advance the power of left-wing pols and security state operatives. That is my core contention: That there’s a furtive, be it tacitly or un-tacitly understood “alliance” between elites — and let’s be clear here that the egalitarian, pro-worker Democratic Party of old is no more, and has evolved into the party of the elite class,2 which is to say the kind of people who sport the unmistakable set of mouth that goes with salaries in six figures and are more or less perpetually wild-eyed and generally pissed-off in some broad geopolitical way and are super eager to demonstrate how progressive and open-minded they are so long as it doesn’t cost them anything — and America’s canon-making institutions, of which Big Tech is now a key player, that’s been pushing, via suppression of dissent and censorship, for ideological conformity as a means of maintaining hegemonic influence over the country.
This Isn’t New
I realize all this sounds like the involuted, abstract, pseudo-philosophical mental labyrinth-type stuff that Bob Hope smokers get lost in for days at a time. But if you're skeptical vis-à-vis the feasibility of remolding society by naturalizing schemas of social control favoring the vested interests of a specific ideology or group, and then passing it off as merely the spontaneous, anonymous derivations and by-products of the public’s will (q.v. - normalizing “pronouns” and 72+ genders3), there are some fundamental examples of just such deliberate initiatives to enforce cultural change4 throughout history, and, building off our previous post, these examples indicate rulers of past civilizations were aware, even back then, that sheer physical force wasn’t enough to govern, and that controlling information was necessary.
The word “culture” itself is derived from the Latin root cultus, which means “care,” and which also gave us the word “cultivate,” as well as from the French root colere, which means “to till,” as in “till the ground.” Based on evidence, culture planning was definitely at work in Sumerian civilization in Mesopotamia—the very first organized human group that documented itself.
But the history of world religions is chock full of illustrations, and these are particularly apropos since much of the left-wing dogma running rampant through our institutions is propagated by parishioners of the contemporary Church of Woke:
“The emergence of centralized religious institutions and practices (in contradistinction, perhaps, to local cults), we are told by historians, can best be explained in terms of imparting social cohesion via cognitive allegiance through persuasion. Clearly, by adhering to the same codified set of cults and beliefs (anachronistically called religions), people were told what reality was, and which options of what repertoires are available to them, or indispensable for them. Students of ancient Egypt have suggested an explanation for the enigmatic preoccupation with the burial monuments known as pyramids. In their view, the whole enterprise was dictated by the need to invent a common project for the population to accept a certain repertoire of social order and individual identity.” — Itamar Even-Zohar, Tel Aviv University, Israel
One need only look to the state Church of the Holy Roman Empire and its vice grip on the production of texts and large scale visual imagery to impose a deliberately uniform understanding of human teleology upon western European culture, which was going swell for about 1,000 years until that son-of-a-gun Martin Luther and his Ninety-Five Theses showed up in 1517. But of course Luther had some help, if you’ll recall—something new and revolutionary that allowed people to share information more quickly and widely amongst one another, previously unavailable to others who’d tried challenging Rome’s stranglehold on truth. . . Gutenberg’s printing press.
Nobody Should Be Allowed to Decide for You
Look, nation. The truth is important. That’s not in dispute. Helping people separate fact from fiction is not a bad thing. But doing it for them is. Every single person in this world has biases—including political biases, because contemporary politics touches everything. It is scientifically impossible not to view the world through schemas. So I don’t care how “qualified” someone is, how many framed pieces of paper they have hanging on their ego walls or what their ranks or titles or accreditations are, making an individual, or individuals, truth arbiter(s) is idiotic in the extreme, which is why the Ministry of Truth — “paused” for now though it may be — is not some high-minded Biden administration task force; it’s a partisan squad of do-gooders that sounds like a KGB-worthy pet project.
In the past two years alone, the Biden administration and its social media lackeys have spread more falsehoods — serious falsehoods, like the insane notion that natural immunity to covid isn’t as beneficial as a rushed-to-market vaccine created by the most corrupt industry in the history of mankind, not Trump-ish egotistical falsehoods — and suppressed even more truths — like warnings about the long-term damage that masks and school closures, both unnecessary, were doing to kids — than you can count. You are outside your mind if you think a “Disinformation Governance Board” stood up by Democrats is wise.
Are we to believe that, as long as it's the Left that gets to facilitate good governance by reshaping Americans’ informational context and helping us make informed decisions, then the supposed malevolent forces afoot instilling impure thoughts in the masses — the sort of impure thoughts that might, say, make the Bag Orange Man president — will be routed in quick order and democracy will no longer be in danger? The notion that they have — that anyone has — special access to the fabric of reality threatens liberal inquiry itself.
This process would do away with the untutored preferences of everyone external to the elitist clerisy, delimiting “informed choices” to solely those choices made within a well-curated informational setting or context. Any dissent, however mild, would be nipped in the bud, and inconvenient truths would become morally disqualified facts. This has been happening for years now on Twitter. For the discerning, it's clear that in Aristotelian fashion, facts are once again oriented toward a telos: the end of “Trumpism”. . . whatever that means.
Epistemic and moral hauteur are hallmarks of today’s Lefty elites. Consider the mental gymnastics required to simultaneously believe that free speech is Extremely Dangerous to Our Democracy™ because of “epistemic and moral deficiencies” that've metastasized within the American people, but ordaining a select few individuals to be society's Truth Oracles is totally cool.
Such glaring incongruities bespeak the near-Himalayan levels of condescension directed towards anyone who doesn't subscribe to the progressive worldview, and as time has gone on the psychological dichotomy separating the elites and everyone else has reached epic proportions. It's not the distance between these two distinct realities that worries me most, though; it’s what's filling the gap: profound distrust. And I'd hazard to guess that this restrictive, self-immolating orthodoxy, combined with a mass assumption of bad faith and a refusal to insist that everyone play by the same rules, is maybe kinda sorta prohibitive to restoring trust in institutional authority.
This epistemic grandiosity is itself a great affront to the truth. Chiefly because the Dunning-Kruger effect — that is, a self-assuredness and supreme confidence despite one’s own idiocy — is like a badge of honor within their ranks. I sense that a lot of left-wing types who support more online censorship prefer the comfort of strong answers already given rather than the freedom of thought.
But you know, there's a not-at-all-incorrect line of thinking that supports the sharing of unpopular information, be it rational dissent or illogical opinions or whatever floats your boat, as integral to freedom of speech and social progress. The whole point of public dialogue and discourse is to collectively — as in democratically — analyze and evaluate ideas. That's how you figure out what's best for America.
If you don't disprove specific ideas and arguments but simply ban them, conspiracy theorists are bound to proliferate, and as time goes on, these conspiracy theorists are increasingly unlikely to believe anything you say, no matter how true it might be. As Matthew B. Crawford aptly notes, “If we are going to disqualify voices in a way that is not explainable, and instead demand trust in the priestly tenders of the algorithms, what we will get is a politics of anticlericalism, as in the French Revolution. That was not a happy time.” He’s right. It was not a happy time. The guillotine was created during the French Revolution.
Per an analysis conducted by Harvard on 2016’s online media election coverage: “Although fake news—fabricated and verifiable false reporting—was a phenomenon during the election, it had a minor effect on the media ecosystem of the presidential election according to our findings.”
Also, fake news has nothing to do with persuasion; the assumption that people would change their minds and vote for Donald Trump instead of Hillary Clinton after “falling victim” to fake news requires a lot of credulity.
There are, of course, elite types on the Right, but they don’t have a veritable cultural hegemony in American canon-making institutions — i.e. - Hollywood, HR departments, academia, Big Tech, NGOs, legacy media, etc.