by Mike Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:
Given the fact that I’m not a Trump supporter, a few people have informed me that my recent coverage has been very one-sided against Clinton. This is unquestionably true. Since I’m always trying to question myself and my motivations, I had to ask myself: Why is this the case?
Beyond the incredible torrent of factual revelations that have emerged which should disqualify her from being considered President, there’s something else going on. That something else is the mainstream media.
It all began during the Democratic primary when I noticed a very disturbing trend emerge. A trend which has only gotten worse in the subsequent months. As I noted in February’s piece, A Detailed Look at The New York Times’ Embarrassing, Deceitful and Illogical Endorsement of Hillary Clinton:
The New York Times’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary consists of an unreadable, illogical piece of fiction. In this post, I will critique the paper’s position in detail, but first I want to take a step back and explain to people what I think is going on in the bigger picture.
In its endorsement of Hillary, the New York Times editorial board did such a sloppy job I can’t help but think it may have done permanent damage to its brand. Upon reading it, my initial conclusion was that the editorial board was either suffering from Stockholm syndrome or merely concerned about losing advertising revenues should they endorse Sanders. Then I thought some more and I realized my initial conclusions were wrong. Something else is going on here, something far more subtle, subconscious and illuminating. The New York Times is defending the establishment candidate simply because the New York Times is the establishment.
One of the biggest trends of the post financial crisis period has been a plunge in the American public’s perception of the country’s powerful institutions. The establishment often admits this reality with a mixture of bewilderment and erroneous conclusions, ultimately settling on the idea people are upset because “Washington can’t get anything done.” However, nothing could be further from the truth. When it comes to corruption and serving big monied interests, both Congress and the President are very, very good at getting things done. Yes it’s true Congress doesn’t get anything done on behalf of the people, but this is no accident. The government doesn’t work for the people.
With its dishonest and shifty endorsement of Hillary Clinton, I believe the New York Times has finally come out of the closet as an unabashed gatekeeper of the status quo. I suppose this makes sense since the paper has become the ultimate status quo journalistic publication. The sad truth is the publication has been living on borrowed time and a borrowed reputation for a long time. Long on prestige, it remains very short on substance when it comes to fighting difficult battles in the public interest. Content with its position of power and influence within the current paradigm, the paper doesn’t want to rock the boat. What the New York Times is actually telling its readers with the Hillary Clinton endorsement is that it likes things just the way they are, and will fight hard to keep them that way. It is as much a part of the American establishment as any government institution.
So I already had a bone to pick with the New York Times for its key role is defeating the far more decent and genuine candidate in Bernie Sanders. Then a few months later, after Sanders had been successfully disposed of, the paper went ahead and printed a gushing pro-Hillary op-ed piece written by a former CIA director without disclosing the fact he currently works for Hillary Clinton’s “principal gatekeeper,” Beacon Global Strategies. See: New York Times Fails to Disclose Op-Ed Writer’s Ties to Hillary Clinton’s ‘Principal Gatekeeper’.
This is propaganda, not journalism.
While all of this was bad enough, things didn’t really get out of hand until “fringe” bloggers started asking questions about Hillary’s health. Sure, plenty of crazy stuff got floated around (this is the internet after all), but it became very clear, very quickly that asking questions about her health was not simply “conspiracy theory.”
Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson recently penned a perfect summary of the egregious journalistic malpractice committed by the mainstream media in that regard. Here’s her excellent piece, The News Media’s Miscalculation on Hillary’s Health:
I watched the video of Hillary Clinton as she faltered, slumped and then apparently got dragged into her van, and I felt awful. Public officials put themselves in the public eye, but to have every step and misstep analyzed the way we do today seems to be a no-win situation. I wouldn’t want someone videotaping me when I had a migraine headache or–as I did several times in my 20’s working in Florida–became faint and dehydrated. I join with many Americans who wish Clinton the best, and a speedy recovery from what her doctors say is a case of pneumonia and dehydration.
But the incident raises questions about the news media’s coverage surrounding Clinton’s health. Rather than reporting the facts, many in the media have taken it upon themselves to shout down the questions and to controversialize those asking them. On August 21, 2016, after Trump adviser Rudolph Giuliani suggested people research Clinton’s medical state on Google, a New York Times tech columnist retorted in a tweet:
“Google should fix this. It shouldn’t give quarter to conspiracy theorists.” Tweet by Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times, 8/21/2016.
I covered this exact episode in the post: Questioning Hillary’s Health is Not Conspiracy Theory
In other words, the columnist was advocating that a conspiracy be committed to stop people from researching Clinton’s health, which he labeled a conspiracy. Many others in the media also chimed in using the “conspiracy theory” moniker. It’s designed to convince the public to tune out the discussion, in much the same way as other common astroturf terms such as “debunked,” “bonkers,” “tin-foil hat,” “shoddy,” “discredited,” “quack,” “bogus,” “denier,” and “crank.”
Left-wing apparatus Vox chimed in with an article titled: “The bonkers conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton’s health.” The pro-Hillary Clinton smear machine, Media Matters, chided NBC News for “mainstreaming conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s health.” Vice picked up the theme writing, “How conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s health went mainstream.” CNNpublished an article “Debunking conspiracy theories” about her health. CNN media critic Brian Stelter urged the media: “Do Not Give Oxygen To ‘Conspiracy Theories’ That Hillary Clinton Is ‘Secretly Ill’.” HuffPost wrote, “Let’s call the conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health what they are…” ThinkProgress joined in with, “Trump campaign embraces conspiracy theory…” From MSNBC: “Trump, allies push conspiracy theory about Clinton’s health.” NPR: “Trump adds fuel to conspiracy theory about Clinton’s health.” You get the idea. Everybody’s on the same page.
In fact, questions about Clinton’s health, whether grounded or far-fetched, had little to do with supposed conspiracies.
Today, a Washington Post reporter acknowledged that he, too, had recently argued the discussion was “the stuff of conspiracy theorists.” But now, in the face of the obvious, he agrees there are legitimate concerns.
Coughing, I wrote, is simply not evidence enough of any sort of major illness that Clinton is assumed to be hiding. Neither, of course, is feeling “overheated.” But those two things happening within six days of each other to a candidate who is 68 years old makes talk of Clinton’s health no longer just the stuff of conspiracy theorists.–Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza
In other words, all this was “the stuff of conspiracy theorists” until the reporters who appear to have been proven wrong, decided it was not. It’s almost as if we in the media take an editorial position with no factual basis, dare critics to prove us wrong, and then when events do, we modify our stance.
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