Thursday, October 21, 2004

Rathergate Isn't Dead Until We Say It Is, By Golly

Completely objective journalism does not exist. The Rathergate scandal has pretty well proven this. Today, Peter Jennings came clean and admitted it. Human nature forces individual perceptions on the things we see and hear. However, this should not be foisted off by reporters as truth. When that happens, it amounts to attempted mind control. The damage the liberal media does to true freedom is minimized because there are new sources of information out there. Thank goodness.

There seems to be little doubt now that CBS broadcast a story based on pretty shaky evidence. The question is: why would Rather and CBS run with this story in the face of so many warning signs that the Bush National Guard documents were false?

The answer is that somebody (or several somebodies) at CBS WANTED the documents to be authentic. They wanted Bush smeared, so that Kerry had a better shot at the presidency.

It is not as though this should come as a surprise to anyone. In the 2000 election, Dan Rather called Florida for Al Gore at least two hours before the polls had officially closed. This probably kept a few voters in that state home, because they figured their vote was a moot point anyway. Rather went on to assure the viewers that when he said a state had voted for a candidate, it was Gospel truth.

People have a tendency to ignore facts which run counter to a deeply held belief. The ugly truth is whoever reports the news has a tendency to interject their own biases, beliefs, hopes, dreams and nightmares into their story. Since the majority of journalists are leftist, the news is thusly left-slanted.

He will never admit it in a million years, but Dan Rather is a liberal Democrat. At least his boss Don Hewitt has the guts to admit it. I do not begrudge Dan his political views. I just wish that he would come clean, and state his reporting is actually editorializing.

Rather probably believes in his heart that liberalism is what the country needs. He believes in the left wing Democratic Party’s agenda. I believe that he ignores things which run contrary to his moral, ethical, and political views. Consciously or unconsciously, he spins things to reflect positively on that which he thinks is right. So to him, the Swift Boat Vets are liars, Kerry had heroic service in Vietnam, socialized medicine will cure all our healthcare needs, high taxes are justified, and conservatives are all closed-minded bigots.

This is the best case scenario: Rather and CBS unintentionally filtered out the problems with the Bush documents. They wanted it to be true so badly that their minds just refused to recognize factual inconsistencies with their deeply-rooted beliefs. It is analogous to a UFO freak seeing a weather balloon in the sky. He really wants it to be an alien spacecraft so much that his mind sort of blots out the US AIR FORCE stenciling on the side.

This assumes, of course, that Dan Rather and CBS are not actively trying to foist left-wing propaganda off on the rest of us. This is happening too often to believe in the innocent explanations anymore. Honestly, I cannot convince myself of the innocent explanation anymore. There were just too many problems with the Bush documents to ignore. This earns Mr. Rather the coveted pinko-commie label. Wear it with pride, Dan.

As a citizen, Dan Rather has every right to think that way. As a journalist, he should be thrown out on his ear. To report things slanted to one’s point of view is not journalism. It is editorialization, and should be clearly identified as such.

The problem here is that the UFO freak really hurts no one when he sees what he so desperately wants to see. When the media reports things they want to be true, it is downright sinister. They are trying to influence what we think, and they do so under the guise of objectivism. It scares and infuriates me.

When I realized what happened in 2000, I lost all respect for Dan Rather. It was rather crushing to me. I was journalism major in college, and Dan Rather was like a minor deity to me. He was a Texas boy who made it big in journalism, and I wanted to be what he was. One of the things that I admired most was what I perceived to be his objectivism; the heart of journalism.

It is not just the news. Entertainment shows constantly force the liberal agenda down our throats. We are bombarded with pro-liberal, anti-gun, anti-Republican, anti-capitalism messages in our movies and TV shows. Until recently, there were no dissenting voices out there. There are still more liberal than conservative voices in media.

I have serious issues with the lack of ethics this shows. However, there is some much-needed balance. We are saved from being completely poisoned by mainstream media by the fact there are now alternative sources from which to draw information. Were it not for conservative outlets such as talk radio and the Internet, liberals would control most of the information we digest every day.

Yes, these “alternative” sources of information are slanted right. That balance is desperately needed, and it is still not enough to completely balance the scales.

I am heartened, because I do seem to sense more fair play from the conservative media. Michael Savage is relentless in his criticism of Bush’s handling of our borders. O’ Reilly has been pretty skeptical about the Swift Boat Vets (though undeservedly, I think. Plus, I think O'Reilly's about to lose true conservative status with me). There seems at least willingness from conservative media to be objective. That strikes me as intellectually honest. I do not recall the mainstream media calling Clinton on the carpet about anything for eight years.

It was startling to realize that the mainstream media was not being quite as objective as we always thought they were. Matt Drudge hammered this point home when he broke the Clinton-Lewinski scandal. We realized that if it were not for the Drudge Report, the mainstream media would have quietly swept this little scandal under the rug. Drudge was vilified in the press.

We are seeing the same thing today. The Internet bloggers are being excoriated for revealing more about CBS and Rather’s incredible left wing bias, among other things.

There are more sources of information out there than ever before, and that is a good thing. Since the mainstream media cannot keep bias out of its stories, there should at least be a counterpoint to their left-wing propaganda. Talk radio and the Internet have provided it for us.

The only way we the people have true freedom is if we can evaluate all the evidence for ourselves. If the bloggers, conservative radio show hosts, and Fox News are silenced, then the liberals control all the news that we digest.

Notice that the Rathergate story has pretty much vanished from the headlines. If it were not for the blogs out there, the story would just be gone.

It is much the same with the Sandy Berger document-swiping routine. Where did that story go? The MSM has decided that these particular skeletons in its closet have been exposed enough. So they vanish. No follow-up. No daily report on the investigation. Dan Rather still holds court every night, though less are paying attention. The emperor has no clothes.

In a perfect world, we would receive the raw data only from news sources. Since the world is not perfect, we must wade through the editorialization. It is much like jury duty: evaluate the facts and arguments of both the prosecution and defense, and decide for ourselves.

It is so incredibly vital for there to be more than one source of information out there. If the MSM is going to lean left, then somebody has to be out there to balance the canoe back to level. The only way to balance it out is to lean right.

So I thank the good Lord above for conservative talk radio, the Drudge Report, Powerline and Hugh Hewitt, among others. I am glad to see and now be a small part of the blogosphere, adding to the great discussion out there. I am glad there are others out there who think like me. It was kind of lonely for awhile. I am happy to know there were others just like me out there. We just had no way to hear each other.

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