With the bold revelations of bias by the media, the outright lies being exposed in media stories, and now the blatant manipulation of unemployment statistics just in time for the election, Americans are realizing that both the media and the government is outright lying to influence our opinions.
For years we have heard conservatives complain of media bias skewed toward the liberal left, but bias is a difficult charge to prove due to the subtlety of its employment by media professionals skilled at manipulating public opinion. Defining media bias has tended to be an exercise as difficult as defining pornography in which Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous quote comes to mind “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.” Outright media manipulation such as the infamous NBC Dateline episode in which a GM truck was rigged with explosives to dramatize the potential for side impact gas tank explosions without mentioning this to viewers was dealt with by firing those responsible and apologizing, but only after they were caught. As these episodes became more frequent, American opinion on media bias began to shift away from one of trusting the media to one of suspecting the media. The episode in which Dan Rather’s famous story alleging that George W. Bush had received special treatment in being assigned to the Texas Air National Guard to avoid service in Vietnam was exposed as being completely fabricated and Rather’s rush to air it without checking its validity further solidified the public’s mistrust in the media and cost Rather his storied career.
Fed up with the blatant liberal bias of the media and sensing the shift in public attitudes towards the media, a few respected journalists such as Bernard Goldberg defected and began spilling the inside secrets of major media organizations and confirming the bias conservatives had been documenting for years through such organizations as Brent Bozell’s Media Research Center. Faced with these defections and admissions from respected insiders, major media organizations began dropping the pretense of objectivity so carefully managed for so long and a point of pride among respected journalists such as Edward R. Murrow. We had gone from Walter Cronkite, the man America trusted to bring us the evening news, to the admission by MSNBC that its business model depended specifically upon targeting the liberal market for news coverage. In an attempt to capture the conservative market being ignored by the other major media conglomerates to add to its own liberal viewer base, Fox News adopted the “Fair and Balanced” tagline while continuing to promote liberal pundits and viewpoints. Fox News has benefitted from being labeled as conservative by its peers while doing nothing more than adopting a tagline and pairing a liberal with a conservative on its infotainment shows.
The result of all of this is a public skeptical of what it hears and no longer trusting in institutions. Young people already mistrusting of adults have quickly picked up on the fact that the older generation is manipulating them. They increasingly turn to news parody shows such as John Stewart’s The Daily Show, Stephan Colbert’s The Colbert Report, and the satirical The Onion which is so realistic that its stories have occasionally managed to fool those who should know better. Americans are developing highly tuned radars to detect all of this bias and manipulation while steadily ignoring traditional information outlets. We increasingly turn to the Internet to get the story behind events reported in the news. Some of these Internet websites have developed respected reputations for accuracy that they jealously guard while others have descended into rants involving conspiracy theories that only add to the confusion created by the collapse of traditional media trustworthiness.
We have become skeptical and we have media personalities that amplify this skepticism to make their points while benefiting from being proven correct in their analyses of current events and future predictions. Rush Limbaugh is a master of reading the proverbial political tea leaves and accurately predicting responses by the political class. We have been warned for months by conservative commentators such as Rush that President Obama would manipulate government data prior to the election to make his agenda appear to be successful, and now the government releases figures showing the unemployment rate has magically fallen below the 8% threshold so critical to Obama’s reelection effort. Despite 43 months of steady unemployment above 8% and no appreciable economic stimulus to justify such a dramatic drop in the number of unemployed, that number has suddenly fallen to 7.8% just in time for Obama to claim that his radical progressive agenda of Keynesian economic stimulus, which has never worked and only made things worse anytime it has ever been tried, is suddenly and miraculously working just as anticipated and just in time for the November elections. Given all the bias to which Americans have been exposed, is it any wonder that skepticism has run rampant and most Americans are shaking their heads in disbelief?
Americans have grudgingly come to accept that the media is biased, but only after the media stopped denying it was biased and actually admitted it is biased. Americans don’t like being lied to, and we don’t like to admit we’ve fallen for lies, especially over a long period of time, so it’s understandable that we’re slow to admit it. It was one thing to slant a story with a liberal bias, but now the media is outright lying to us with fabricated news items such as the recent story reporting that Chick-fil-A had changed its charitable giving away from conservative organizations in exchange for Chicago Alderman Moreno’s support to secure locations in the Chicago area. Conservatives who fell for this lie took to the Internet to excoriate Chick-fil-A only a month after patronizing it with a record sales day to support the conservative stance of its chairman. Chick-fil-A was forced to issue a statement denying this false story, but those who fabricated this lie had managed to plant doubt in the minds of conservative supporters.
On top of being lied to by the media we no longer trust with a vengeance – witness the decline of print media such as newspapers and the decline in news viewership – we discover the politicians are using the government bureaucracy to lie to us. The vagaries of information collection allow such manipulation to occur, but government bureaucrats usually managed to be apolitical in their collection and reporting of statistics while priding themselves on their professionalism. However, the Obama Administration has salted the increasingly liberal bureaucracy with even more liberal acolytes dedicated to the preservation of liberal power to insure public union dominance and all of the attending benefits that power conveys. Public sector unions have been fingered as the culprits in unsustainable budgets at all levels of government which have begun forcing the bankruptcies of cities, and an outraged electorate has begun supporting curbs to their power. The public sector unions have overreached after years of lies that painted members as underpaid public servants. They now enjoy better benefits and higher pay than their private sector counterparts while having to suffer none of the worries of layoffs through their lifetime employment contracts.
Americans are as mad as hell and determined not to take it anymore, but we are facing a government and media complicit in lying to obstruct our understanding of the situation. We must be acutely aware of the manipulation from both the government and a media wholly owned by the radical progressive Democrat Party. The media will continue to use our anger and frustration with the status quo to manipulate our reactions and our opinions to divide us and weaken our resolve. They are skilled and practiced at manipulation and we must be vigilant. When we hear something too fantastic to be true, we must stop and analyze the situation before instantly applying the knee-jerk reaction the manipulators expect. The unbelievable unemployment numbers presented this week are just the first of many October surprises we can expect as an increasingly desperate Team Obama pulls out all of the stops in their quest to fool Americans into ignoring their record to give Obama a second term. Expect more of the same and expect even more fantastic surprises before the election. Desperate times call for desperate measures and Team Obama is desperate.