The MSM Threatens Democracy
John Green, American Thinker, October 26, 2022
For our form of self-governance to work, we need a robust news industry. Its role is to hold authority accountable and allow an informed public to make well-reasoned decisions. That’s why a free and independent press is protected by the Constitution. But our MSM has run wildly off the rails.
The MSM is no longer a purveyor of truth, but rather a developer of narratives — and they’re shameless about it, calling such narratives “fake but accurate.” The facts may be wrong, but the story supports the chosen narrative. They no longer inform the public. Instead they mislead it to satisfy ideological objectives. The MSM has become an industry of propagandists — no longer facilitating self-governance, but undermining it.
A recent New York Times/Siena College poll found that 71 percent of Americans consider our democracy to be under threat. Of that group, a shocking 84 percent consider the MSM to be the biggest threat to our democracy. That equates to 60 percent of all Americans viewing the MSM as a threat — not drug cartels, Islamic fundamentalists, or even MAGA-hat-wearing semi-fascists, but the MSM.
That poll is not an outlier either. It’s consistent with a recent Gallup poll on our confidence in institutions. It found that Americans rank print and television news next to the bottom of institutions that they have confidence in.
The only institution that garners less confidence than the news is our “we need to pass it to find out what’s in it” Congress. Even used car dealers command greater confidence. It’s no wonder that television news ratings are collapsing. But the problem created goes well beyond ratings and commercial revenues. It’s a disaster for our country.
Over the years the MSM’s commitment to social engineering has grown, and its fidelity to the truth has waned. Propaganda only works as long as people think they’re receiving the truth. It fails when people know it’s propaganda. Ironically, the MSM’s overzealous pursuit of influence has cost them their influence.
For years, the MSM has stretched the boundaries of credibility to make the absurd fit the narrative. They’ve been caught telling us falsehoods that were obvious falsehoods. They created a narrative bubble, which is now bursting. Six out of ten Americans know they’ve been lying to us. They’re now seen as the propaganda ministry of the Left and the political party the Left controls.
The MSM told us that Donald Trump conspired with Russia to steal an election. They continued the lie even after Special Counsel Robert Mueller reluctantly exonerated Trump of any such crime — pumping up the narrative bubble.
We were told that BLM riots were “mostly peaceful.” But we saw buildings burned, people murdered, and businesses looted. The bubble grew.
Now they’re telling us that we’re not actually in a recession — and recessions don’t matter. We’re expected to believe that the economy is sound — as we watch our retirement accounts evaporate and we consume our savings to survive. The lie is obvious, and the bubble is straining to contain the narrative.
The MSM assured us that Joe Biden would return “normalcy” to the White House. They didn’t share the ever-mounting evidence of his corruption. They also hid the fact that the man is visibly spiraling into dementia.
That popping sound the MSM hears is the propaganda becoming too outrageous to maintain. The “Joe Biden is smart, honest, and reasonable” tale was more than the narrative could sustain. The bubble is bursting.
The narrative can’t conceal the lies any longer. Now, when they report facts, we don’t believe them. We know they make up “facts” all the time. When they interpret events, we don’t hear the “analysis,” we suspect the “narrative.”
Unfortunately, the problem goes beyond a mere MSM credibility gap. We’ll no longer believe the “experts” that the MSM has failed to hold accountable either. When deep-state bureaucrats or Democrat-party operatives say something, why should we believe them? Nobody’s checking their veracity. The media was charged with holding them accountable — but instead, has enabled them. Now neither can be trusted.
This state of affairs is not good for America going forward. The next time the government needs us to believe information, we won’t. Government experts may tell us we’re facing a public crisis, like a pandemic, but our response will be — says who? Would that be the same scientists who were caught lying about COVID or the press that helped them? Even if what we’re being told is the truth, for a change, how will we know until we verify it ourselves?
The next time the country needs broad acceptance for a policy issue, we’ll question if it’s really an issue at all. Is it something that really requires attention, or is it just an excuse to expand government control — like the climate change narrative has been. Don’t expect us to make any sacrifices for the good of the country, or the planet for that matter, just because confirmed liars claim to be telling the truth — this time.
This public disregard of government and media information is not merely a theoretical forecast of what the future holds. It’s happening right now. For well over a year, we’ve been told that the January 6 attack on the Capitol was a big deal — an attack on the very foundation of our government — an insurrection. The MSM has breathlessly told us that it was a bigger attack on America than the 2,977 people murdered on 9/11.
And what response did the MSM get? We yawned and changed the channel. Now they’re shocked that we don’t see January 6 as the crisis they claim it was. Here’s a news flash for them: it’s not because we don’t care about America. It’s because we don’t believe them anymore. They threw away their credibility for the sake of their ideology. Now they’re finding out too late what the value of that discarded credibility was.
We’ve learned that we can’t trust the media, the government bureaucracy, or the political party the left controls. We’ll no longer support the causes they champion, because propaganda exposed is a narrative ignored.
Our democracy can’t function without an informed public — and that is dependent on an effective news industry. But they’ve willingly sacrificed their credibility, and along with it their effectiveness. Sixty percent of Americans have rendered their verdict. The MSM is a threat to our democracy because it undermined the checks and balances necessary to keep our government accountable to us. Self-governance — our representative democracy — fails without that accountability.