Left-wing media critics I have debated over the years have repeatedly bashed the slanted “corporate media.” But now that a Republican presidential candidate has taken up this charge, with concrete proof, they are shying away from supporting his critique. You see, these critics were Bernie Sanders supporters, and Sanders has sold out to those special interests by throwing his support to the corporate candidate, Democrat Hillary Clinton.
As I debated Steve Rendall of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) on the SUNY New Paltz campus on Thursday night, I heard him say that there was no doubt that the corporate special interests were backing Mrs. Clinton over Donald J. Trump. But Steve can’t take the further step of declaring his sympathy for Trump’s critique of the media, even though Trump is echoing much of what has been the left-wing attack on the media for many years.
“The most powerful weapon deployed by the Clintons is the corporate media,” declared Trump. “Let’s be clear on one thing: the corporate media in our country is no longer involved in journalism. They are a political special interest, no different than any lobbyist or other financial entity with an agenda. And their agenda is to elect the Clintons at any cost, at any price, no matter how many lives they destroy. For them, it is a war—and for them, nothing is out of bounds.”
FAIR describes itself as “the national progressive media watchdog group, challenging corporate media bias, spin and misinformation.” FAIR is a much more honest group than Media Matters, which pretends to monitor the media but functions as an adjunct of the Hillary Clinton campaign. But FAIR will only go so far in validating what Trump is saying about the corruption in the corporate media.
By the same token, I was hesitant over the years to accept the left-wing critique of the “corporate media.” Although they had a liberal/left slant, I still held to the notion that a significant number of journalists in the establishment media were somewhat capable of independence from the corporations that employed them. The revelations from WikiLeaks have thoroughly demonstrated that they were working hand-in-glove for their employers and the Clinton campaign.
As Trump noted, “…the emails show that the Clinton Machine is so closely and irrevocably tied to media organizations that she is given the questions and answers in advance of her debates. Clinton is also given approval and veto power over quotes written about her in The New York Times. And the emails show the reporters collaborate and conspire directly with the Clinton campaign on helping her win the election.”
The Marxist academic, Noam Chomsky, has estimated that as few as six corporations control most of the information provided to the American people. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein echoes this, adding, “Why does the corporate media prop up Hillary and smear her opponents? Because they’re huge donors to her foundation.”
What they leave out is that the media bias since the days of FDR has been against Republicans. My college journalism textbook was called Interpretative Reporting, and was written by a member of the Progressive Party. That was 40 years ago.
But even that amount of control isn’t enough for those behind Hillary Clinton and the modern Democratic Party.
President Obama, who just let the Internet fall into the hands of a consortium that includes Russia and China, now says we have to develop a “reliable” system of determining what’s true and what’s not. He said, “We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-West-of-information flow some sort of curating function that people agree to.”
Obama indicated he’d like to go back to the days when “it used to be there were three television stations and Walter Cronkite is on there,” and people who disagreed with the narrative were relegated to the tabloids.
This is the mark of a socialist—absolute control not only of what people buy and sell, but what they consume in the field of news and information.
Incredibly, he made these remarks at an official “White House Frontiers Conference,” sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
That’s strangely appropriate, since college campuses have become known for thought and speech control of the students who are supposed to be there for intellectual curiosity.
These are dark days for America. Control from the top of the government down, through the corporations and the campuses, is taking over and trying to destroy the only country in the world based on a First Amendment that protects freedom of speech, religion and association.
“This is a struggle for the survival of our nation,” Trump said. “This election will determine whether we are a free nation, or whether we have only the illusion of democracy but are in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system.”
If the left-wing critics of Mrs. Clinton and the corporate special interests were being honest with themselves, they would have to admit that Trump is right. But they can’t go that far. They are hoping that a Clinton victory will result in a few scraps from the Clinton table falling into their laps and mouths. They are counting on being fellow-travelers on the road to a socialist one-party state with a distinctive corporate cast. They figure their candidate, Bernie Sanders, sold out, and they might just as well go ahead and sell out, too.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org