Few things delight me about President Trump more than his ongoing war with the media. When they attack, he responds in kind. It’s the most awesome thing I’ve seen in politics since President Bush XLI liberated Kuwait. And I’ve noticed that media has lately aimed their obvious hostility, if not outright loathing, toward Trump’s cabinet appointees, nominees, ‘associates’ and family, the better for the whining snowflakes to avoid his tweets. The national press corps is, literally, an unofficial apparatus of the Democrat party. Their clear, obvious and naked bias should disgust the handful of actual journalists remaining in America. The undisguised efforts of the alphabet networks to help Hillary last fall ought to be charged to her campaign as in-kind contributions.
Don’t get me wrong: There is nobody more in awe of The First Amendment than I am. I’ve assiduously exercised all five of its six rights that a citizen can under The First. I believe, unequivocally, in freedom of worship, speech, the press, peaceful assembly and petition. And although the modern American media has shown themselves to be less than trustworthy, I agree with Thomas Jefferson who wrote, in 1787, that if he had to choose between government with no newspapers, or newspapers with no government, he’d chose the latter. We must have, and protect, a free press.
And if, by “free press”, we mean that the American news industry is free of government interference, censorship and other prior restraints; isn’t subject to legal codes defining what is politically permissible to print or broadcast, or a mandate that only government or specific entities may offer “news” to its people, then, yes, we certainly have a free press. There’s no question about it.
But if, by “free press”, we mean an unregulated community where actual news is presented objectively by journalists who zealously guard their reputations for objectivity, and where a wide variety of voices is not only heard but encouraged, and where those voices, even within the same newsroom, represent the gamut of political viewpoints without a single political philosophy dominating a firm, a station or a publication, then, unfortunately, we don’t have that. “Free” is one thing; “fair” is something else altogether.
Having worked in broadcasting since 1972, I know that political thinking from non-leftist perspectives is neither welcomed nor encouraged in most places in this business. At most TV stations, everybody from the general manager to the janitor is an outspoken liberal Democrat. Thankfully, it isn’t that way in radio, but in larger markets my industry has more than its share of leftists. The left’s domination of most print and TV in America is so tight that de facto censorship is alive and well; at TV stations and newspapers, no conservatives need apply.
We Americans expect unbiased, objective journalism from our Constitutionally-protected media, but, in fact, most ‘journalists’ today are actually political operatives working as journalists. Larger segments of the Fourth and Fifth Estates have become a Fifth Column; I’ve heard too much leftist dogma too often at too many newsroom water coolers to pretend that American “journalism” is objective in any real sense of the word.
Of course, freedom of the press isn’t limited only to scribblers and talking heads, just as freedom of speech doesn’t end for Americans when they’re elected to public office. I’m a proudly irredeemable, deplorable Fifth Estater who cheers wildly when the president hits back at the media. After all, it’s not like they don’t deserve it.