Monday, March 31, 2014

“Something’s Rotten in DC”--the Media

“were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

--Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson                            Attkisson                            Eilperin
Jefferson’s words are among the strongest ever endorsing a free press. What worried Jefferson, though, along with “no press” was “a compliant press” that simply pushed the government’s line. Recall that Jefferson also wrote:
The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers... [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper.
Today we have a press, and it works with the government--the “standing army of newswriters” Jefferson feared.

We earlier wrote about Sheryl Attkisson’s resigning from CBS News because the network didn’t appreciate her investigative reporting’s touching the Obama administration along with Republicans. Attkisson recently opened up to a CBS colleague, saying:
Nobody was interested in. . . [i]nvestigative reporting[. It] gets a lot of backlash. They don’t quite know how to deal with it. Why not just put on stories that don’t draw [trouble]?
She drew a clear picture of how tightly the “standing army of newswriters” works with (liberal) government:
If I need something answered from the White House. . . I’ll call our White House Correspondent[, who] may ask [White House Press Secretary] Jay Carney or one of his folks about an issue and they will be told “ask that at the briefing and we’ll answer it.” They want to answer it in front of everybody. They do know it’s coming and they’ll call on you. . . I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s sometimes more coordination. . . I think people would be surprised at the level of cooperation reporters have in general with politicians.
About her planned book, Attkisson added:
I’ve been wanting to write about the unseen influences on the media by coordinated, paid factions, whether they’re from political, corporate or other special interests, the tactics they use to manipulate the images we see. . .It’s become a way of life and I don’t think the public is aware of how much nearly everything you see today may be influenced, in some fashion, by a paid interest that wants you to think something.
We’ve also shared news about Democrats’ obsession with billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch. Los Angeles Times house conservative Jonah Goldberg tells us:
The Democratic party raises vast sums off demonizing the Koch brothers. (Slate’s David Weigel reports that fundraising e-mails mentioning the Kochs raised roughly three times as much as those that didn’t mention them.) [And] many media outlets are all too willing to take their cues from Democratic talking points.
Goldberg mentions a recent Washington Post story “insinuating that the Kochs have a lot to gain from the Keystone pipeline.” Conservative “PowerLine” blogger John Hinderaker had earlier provided the details: Washington Post reporters Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin story was headlined, “The biggest lease holder in Canada’s oil sands isn’t Exxon Mobil or Chevron. It’s the Koch brothers.”

According to Hinderaker, the story came from a two-page report by the far-left International Forum on Globalization. In truth, the Koch brothers aren’t the biggest lease holders--their holdings are but 3% of Alberta’s total reserves--and in fact the Kochs stand to lose more from the competition the Keystone pipeline will pose to their U.S.-based refining interests than they would gain from their Alberta fields.

Hinderaker asks:
Why would the Washington Post embarrass itself by republishing a thoroughly discredited attempt to link the Koch brothers to the Keystone Pipeline? Because that is a Democratic Party talking point, and the Post is a Democratic Party newspaper. But the truth is a little worse than that. Who is Post reporter Juliet Eilperin? Among other things, she is married to Andrew Light, who writes on climate policy for the Center for American Progress. The Center for American Progress is an Obama administration front group headed by John Podesta, who is a “special advisor” to the Obama administration.
As we see, Elperin is one of the “standing army of newswriters” Jefferson warned us about, those who “serve the ministers.”

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