By Jeffrey Lord
Over the weekend my old CNN boss, Jeff Zucker, participated in an interview at the South by Southwest (SXSW) gathering in Austin.
According to news accounts he said this of Fox News: https://grabien.com/story.php?id=163609
“Frankly, it is really state-run TV. It is a pure propaganda machine and I think does an incredible disservice to this country. There are a handful of good journalists there, but I think they are lost in what — what is just a complete propaganda machine, and the idea that it’s a news channel is I think really not the case at all.”
Really? With all due respect, one doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Jeff Zucker has said on occasion that he has wanted to run for political office. (And one suspects he would not be running as a Reagan conservative.) But in fact he already holds office – as the de facto president of the Leftist State Media. Nominally he is the president of CNN, but in fact CNN is but one component part of the larger left-wing propaganda machine that composes the Leftist State Media.
One can go for one’s news to CNN or MSNBC or ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press and countless internet outlets and see that Jeff’s presidential domain is considerable.
Every last one of those outlets is about pushing the left-wing agenda of the moment – and oh yes, in this day and age attacking President Donald Trump.
The Leftist State Media in modern America is what in another era, when the Soviet Union was alive and well, was called the Department for Agitation and Propaganda – or the ministry of propaganda whose sole function was shorthanded as “agitprop.” In those days there was only one official newspaper for the Soviet population – Pravda or “Truth.”
In today’s American media world the “Truth” comes from – and only from – the Leftist State Media.
Long before CNN – when Jeff Zucker was barely out of diapers – then-Vice President Spiro Agnew first discussed what he saw – way back there in 1969 – as a real problem with the media of the day. The Vietnam War was raging, and President Nixon had recently addressed the nation. Nixon had been followed by a collection of liberal television commentators who proceeded to tell the American people what they thought Nixon had really said.
In a then-famous speech in, of all places, Des Moines, Iowa, carried live by the television networks of the day (there were only three, and cable news did not yet exist) Agnew said this:
“The purpose of my remarks tonight is to focus your attention on this little group of men who not only enjoy a right of instant rebuttal to every Presidential address, but more importantly, wield a free hand in selecting, presenting, and interpreting the great issues of our nation.
First, let us define that power. At least forty-million Americans each night, it is estimated, watch the network news. Seven million of them view ABC; the remainder being divided between NBC and CBS. According to Harris polls and other studies, for millions of Americans, the networks are the sole source of national and world news.
In Will Rogers’ observation, what you knew was what you read in the newspaper. Today, for growing millions of Americans, it is what they see and hear on their television sets.
How is this network news determined? A small group of men, numbering perhaps no more than a dozen “anchormen,” commentators, and executive producers, settle upon the 20 minutes or so of film and commentary that is to reach the public. This selection is made from the 90 to 180 minutes that may be available. Their powers of choice are broad. They decide what forty to fifty-million Americans will learn of the day’s events in the nation and the world.
We cannot measure this power and influence by traditional democratic standards, for these men can create national issues overnight. They can make or break–by their coverage and commentary–a moratorium on the war. They can elevate men from local obscurity to national prominence within a week. They can reward some politicians with national exposure, and ignore others. For millions of Americans, the network reporter who covers a continuing issue, like ABM or Civil Rights, becomes, in effect, the presiding judge in a national trial by jury.
…A raised eyebrow, an inflection of the voice, a caustic remark dropped in the middle of a broadcast can raise doubts in a million minds about the veracity of a public official, or the wisdom of a government policy. One Federal Communications Commissioner considers the power of the networks to equal that of local, state, and federal governments combined. Certainly, it represents a concentration of power over American public opinion unknown in history.
What do Americans know of the men who wield this power? Of the men who produce and direct the network news, the nation knows practically nothing. Of the commentators, most Americans know little, other than that they reflect an urbane and assured presence, seemingly well informed on every important matter.
We do know that, to a man, these commentators and producers live and work in the geographical and intellectual confines of Washington, D.C. or New York City–the latter of which James Reston terms the “most unrepresentative community in the entire United States.” Both communities bask in their own provincialism, their own parochialism. We can deduce that these men thus read the same newspapers, and draw their political and social views from the same sources. Worse, they talk constantly to one another, thereby providing artificial reinforcement to their shared viewpoints.”
The media problem Agnew described all the way back in 1969 – a full fifty years ago, when Donald Trump was a mere 23 years old and barely a year out of grad school – has now metastasized, dominating the vast media complex of today.
The very prominence of New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the bartender-turned-congresswoman and media star, is the literal manifestation of Agnew’s point that the media “can elevate men from local obscurity to national prominence within a week.”
Jeff Zucker also said this of Fox anchors:
“They chose to work at Fox and they don’t get to hide behind the fact that they’re excellent journalists or anchors. The fact is they work at a place that has done tremendous damage to this country.”
That statement all by itself is a perfect illustration of how President Zucker of the Leftist State Media sees his job – which is to arbitrarily declare his decidedly liberal opinion as fact. No wonder Jim Acosta feels free to do exactly the same thing.
It is worth recalling that Fox News was created in 1996 – during the Clinton presidency, when CNN’s lavish pro-Clinton coverage had won it the derisive nickname the “Clinton News Network.” Fox was followed three years later by Rush Limbaugh and the explosion of conservative talk radio.
The reason for the success of Fox News and talk radio is exactly the failure of the Leftist State Media. Millions of Americans, doubtless unknowing in absorbing Agnew’s long-ago point, have had it up to their eyebrows going from one “news” outlet to another only to get some version of the exact same liberal spin.
Here is CNN on the Clinton-Trump race. The headline: https://www.cnn.com/2016/08/08/politics/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-cnn-poll-of-polls/index.html
CNN Poll of Polls: Clinton tops Trump by 10
The story begins:
“(CNN)The post-convention polls are in, and they consistently show Hillary Clinton entering the next phase of the presidential election campaign with the upper hand over Donald Trump.”
Here is the New York Times in its “Upshot” column: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/upshot/presidential-polls-forecast.html
Hillary Clinton has an 85% chance to win.
“The Upshot’s elections model suggests that Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidency, based on the latest state and national polls.
Here is The Huffington Post: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/polls-hillary-clinton-win_us_5821074ce4b0e80b02cc2a94
HuffPost Forecasts Hillary Clinton Will Win With 323 Electoral Votes
The HuffPost presidential forecast model gives Democrat Hillary Clinton a 98.2 percent chance of winning the presidency. RepublicanDonald Trump has essentially no path to an Electoral College victory.
And on and on went this business of one Leftist State Media outlet after another all saying exactly the same thing – Hillary Clinton was going to be the next president and Donald Trump had no way open to win.
Change the subject from the 2016 election to, say, abortion, climate change, the economy or any of dozens of issues out there and time after time after time it makes no difference. You will get the left-wing agenda of the moment delivered by whatever outlet of the Leftist State Media you are choosing to watch or read.
Let’s cut to the chase. The real reason for Jeff Zucker’s angst is that Fox News and conservative talk radio, not to mention all manner of conservative internet sites have broken the stranglehold of information that once was the sole preserve of the Leftist State Media. And the only way the LSM chieftains see to get their monopoly back is to literally try and take out Fox News and conservative commentators one by one, with Media Matters and others doing the dirty work.
It is safe to say that that the Leftist State Media has in its midst “excellent journalists or anchors.” But when story after story after story is either wrong or obviously presented to further the Left’s favorite agenda item of the moment, (Hillary certain to win! Trump friend Anthony Scaramucci tied to Russian investment fund! Trump told Cohen to lie to Congress! Trump and son tied to hacked documents from Wikileaks! Climate change report contradicts President! Covington kids confronted Indian elder and Vietnam veteran!) then in fact the Leftist State Media, in Jeff Zucker’s words, is for sure “a place that has done tremendous damage to this country.”
In fact, it is safe to assume at this point that the members of the Leftist State Media simply can’t help themselves. They are so far gone from journalism that they will say and do anything to push the Left’s agenda, damaging not only the country but themselves.
Which is exactly why Jeff Zucker’s CNN, the Washington Post and doubtless soon-to-be-others in the Leftist State Media now find themselves being sued for hundreds of millions of dollars for libeling sixteen year old Covington student Nick Sandmann. They simply could not stop themselves from doing it.
And the irony? It is Fox News and conservative media that has assumed the journalistic task as described by CNN founder Ted Turner the day CNN first went on the air in June of 1980.
“To provide information to people where it wasn’t available before.”
Pick up Jeffrey Lord’s Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and the New American Populism. Out on May 28th. Click here.
OP-ED: Mainstream Media Has No More of a Right To Be In The White House Than You Do
As the Constitution states, Congress shall make no law “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” These 1st Amendment rights are where the main stream media has built their propaganda pedestal of mandatory inclusion in the White House. Misconstruing these rights to fit their narrative, the media has convinced the public that they are the Fourth Estate of government and the watch dogs of those in government. As I will show you, nothing is further from the truth.
On the surface the media’s inclusion in the White House appears to be a compelling argument, especially when people misguidedly buy into the media’s constitutional lie. Media personalities like CNN’s Brian Stelter, often use the phrases “Fourth Estate” and “government watch dog” as facts and truths. For instance Stelter stated “Obama has said the right things about the Fourth Estate and signaled respect for the purpose of the Fourth Estate.” Changing tone, Stelter vigorously criticized President Trump by saying “Donald Trump doesn’t say he respects the Fourth Estate. He very much says the opposite.”
The idea of the Fourth Estate that Stelter refers to has been around since at least the late 1700’s, so it is safe to say the Founding Fathers were probably familiar with the term. Yet even as they carefully and specifically worded the Constitution, there was no mention of a “Fourth Estate” of government or “media watch dogs” anywhere in the founding documents. Instead, the Founders chose to focus on the rights and powers of the people. Sorry Stelter.
“The press” is a phrase that has been around since the 1300’s that refers to the printing press. In the 1st Amendment, “the press” was used to represent mass dissemination of information and the protection of an individual’s ability to share their beliefs or criticisms without fear of retribution. In contrast, the phrase “the media” wasn’t coined until around the 1920’s and refers to the means of media as well as a term for the companies that collect and distribute information.
Although it is clear that modern media businesses are protected by the 1st Amendments rights, no one person or group is granted more freedom or privilege than the next, that includes media’s admittance to the White House.
In the late 1800’s Oscar Wild spoke about the press, saying, “In old days men had the rack. Now they have the press,” the racks Wild referred to were the government’s public racks that were used to restrain people by their head and arms for the purpose of public humiliation (whether they were guilty or innocent.) Today’s modern day main stream media often uses questioning and reporting as proverbial racks in the same manner to humiliate and restrict those who don’t fall in line with their political and/or ideological beliefs. Those tactics resemble tyrannical behavior, which the Founders were against.
Furthermore, the relationship between media and politicians has grown to mimic the same bipolar relationship between celebrities and paparazzi. They both have grown to rely on each other, and they both manipulate reality and the truth. That’s ok for promoting an entertainer but it has no place in government agencies.
So let’s be clear with no uncertain terms, there is no Fourth Branch of government. The only watch dog(s) of those that work in government is the citizenry, who coincidently also make up the inhabitants of the three branches of government.
As I was taught in the military, never point out a problem without offering a solution. So here it is, my groundbreaking solution to life without the D.C. press corps.
- Nobody will be allowed inside the White House or any other government agency unless they are on official duty or have been granted official approval, which can be revoked at any time without reason.
- Media will be restricted like any other civilian or company as it pertains to inclusion in official government facilities (including official modes of transportation.)
- Press corps will no longer be recognized as an official part of government information dissemination.
- All government agencies will give press conferences via simple social media video casts where anyone that signs up to watch can ask questions. Companies that work in the field of information collection and dissemination (main stream media) will be given no special treatment, but will be allowed to sign up and ask questions the same as any other civilian.
- All media companies and/or citizen using known false information to injure the function of government or national security of the United States could be prosecuted the same way as if they were attempting to overthrow the government.
Bottom line, It is time the media is treated the same as any other citizen or company with respect to the 1st Amendment and inclusion in government facilities. When we use that scale of measurement it is clear media does not belong in the White House!
OP-ED: The Rise of Anti-Semitism and the Fall of the Democratic Party
I was honored once to serve as trial counsel on a team that successfully defended the Democratic Party against an unfair lawsuit. The Democratic Party represented to me a party of ideas, principles, and courage, with true heroes among its great leaders historically. Today, that Democratic Party is unrecognizable. The Party’s leadership void and lack of any agenda other than to be the anti-Trump are problems, but they are secondary to what truly reflects a tragic loss of both heart and soul and poses a danger to our country’s future.
Where once Democratic Party leaders would have condemned bigotry among its members, today’s party has chosen to honor its newest media stars, freshmen members Tlaib, Omar, and Ocasio-Cortez, all unabashed anti-Semites, with coveted Committee assignments. Tlaib sought support on a vote by evoking classic anti-Semitic appeals one would have thought were left in another political era. She has posed in celebration with well-known terrorist supporters and America haters and has been honored and spoken to their fellow travelers. Omar has publicly prayed to Allah to harm Israel, apologized, likened Israel to Iran, apologized, questioned the loyalty of any Congressman who supports Israel, and then doubled-down on her bigotry after finally being called out by one or two members of her party.
A video recently surfaced with Ocasio-Cortez’s supporters chanting for the annihilation of Israel and its citizens and in 2017 her Party called for Israeli’s elimination. And when one in the triumvirate is exposed as a bigot, the others rush to her support. Of course, they are not just a mutual support group. Omar has the unique “honor” of being endorsed by both David Duke and Louis Farrakhan.
The Democratic Party leadership void is astonishing. It has fallen on Jewish members to sheepishly speak out, but they stand alone. Speaker Pelosi has been intimidated by this freshmen trio and has now allowed Ocasio-Cortez to become the de facto Party leader. The current weak-kneed resolution effort at condemnation for anti-Semitism is nothing of the kind. It continues to show that all principle has been abandoned and it sends a message that there will be no consequences for bigotry within the Party if condemnation might offend the far left.
The diversity of ideas within a Party is to be celebrated and cherished; bigotry must be condemned, not rewarded. It seems like just the other day, leading Democrats were fighting for media time to call out the Alt-Right’s purported support for the President as a sign that the administration endorsed bigotry by not immediately rejecting their support. President Trump made the affirmative decision to speak out loudly and definitively against anti-Semitism in his State of the Union address. He made clear that he will have no part of it and does not want its adherents among his supporters. The Democratic Party’s leaders have chosen instead to reward their bigots with prime committee seats and so fear alienating the bigots’ supporters that they have chosen the ostrich pose in response. The loss of the Democratic Party’s heart and soul is a loss for the whole country and perhaps irretrievably changes its historic legacy. The only positive I see in any of these developments is that at least now this trio demonstrates their virulent bigotry openly and loudly. It is most important to know and understand the enemy within.
Anti-Semitism is a despicable scourge, but I would fight wholeheartedly for the rights of these bigots to publicly display their bigotry. I have answered the ACLU’s call to represent the KKK in a battle to march with a mask while spewing their hatred. When we know where the enemies to our nation’s values live, we can fight their bigotry in the marketplace of ideas and send a message in our public statements and with our votes to the leaders of a Party that now welcomes and honors bigots among its members. Not in our name.
David Schoen is a civil rights attorney in Montgomery, Alabama.