Friday, September 12, 2008

What Does Gotcha Journalism Get?

Gotcha journalism is nothing new. The volume — and the degree of vitriol and reaching — is higher than usual, because of the targets they aim at this campaign season. But for decades the press has been a part of the group I call "the Anti(s)."

But just what are they against and why does this pit them against people like John McCain and Sarah Palin, and a great many Americans besides?

Look for an explanation among the 'liberal' press and their supporters and all you'll find are statements to the effect that the members of the Fourth Estate are simply doing their jobs. Their role, so these pundits say, is to ask tough questions. Review conservative newspapers and blogs and you will read that those questions are 'liberal' and 'biased'.

The conservatives are right, but they rarely explain what they mean.

It's true that a lot of people in this country are Christians and the press sometimes mocks them. But Barack Obama is a Christian and endures no such contempt from newspapermen. Many people own guns. But, the press rarely has anything to say about the subject unless some specific hand-gun control legislation is up for debate. And, being a patriot means different things to different people. Journalists and their Democratic brethren often cry they are as patriotic as the next guy.

Neither does calling reporters and so-called liberal intellectuals 'elitists' really tell us much.

Warren Buffett is among the elite, in that he is both extremely rich, and extremely skilled at his profession. Yet, he is admired by both contemporary liberals and conservatives, despite being a consistent supporter of Democratic candidates. Albert Einstein is one of the most elite humans ever to have lived and no one cared much during his lifetime or now that he was an all-but avowed socialist. He has always been regarded as a great genius, and rightly so.

Bias is only part of the explanation, too. It is hoped even when it isn't expected that journalists will be fair and objective. But when they are not there is little outrage when news reports are slanted the way their readership prefers. Only a small percentage of the American people demand that the press be unbiased. If they had, the major news outlets would already be out of business.

No, none of those are the fundamental reason so many people mistrust the major news outlets and their employees (their approval ratings are about equal to the current single-digit Congress). Nor do they explain why the press is so hostile to conservatives or Republicans.

The answer involves what lies within the meaning of the phrase I used earlier: the Anti(s). Just what is it that the overwhelming majority of the major news outlets' journalists are anti? American values. Independence of thought, individual freedom, a desire for material success.

The conservatives despise 'the media' because they know what the Anti(s) want: to do what they can to transform America into something other than what it has been, a free country. The media despise the conservatives because their plans are meeting determined opposition.

What are those plans?

They want an end to private property freely exercised in ways the Anti(s) disapprove. They want markets controlled because they want individual economic choices they dislike controlled. They want the money spent as they wish, rather than as those who earned it would otherwise spend it. They want a foreign policy, which however misguided still aims at American self-interest, run in a humbler fashion because American self-interest is anathema to them.

As a fundamental means to those ends, they want to control who speaks what, where, and how.

They favor the speech codes that infest so many American campuses. They look with favor on proposals to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, a disguised form of controlling speech in the name of making it 'fair' (similar to the way antitrust laws distort markets to make them 'fair'). They ridicule or shout down anyone with a contrary opinion and they do so with little regard to objectivity. They avoid a full display of the relevant facts. They give Obama a pass when he tries to use the DOJ to shut down investigation of his association with domestic terrorist William Ayers.

They are, to borrow a phrase from Ayn Rand's For The New Intellectual, the Witch Doctors to the politician's Attila. They want to say how things will be run, and they want them run according to their values, values which are much closer to those of Sweden today than to the U.S. of the 1890s.

They have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Speech codes are nearly universal on major campuses. It would be a trivial task to name a dozen major Anti news organizations off the top of ones head, with only one pathetically weak and often silly outlet on the other side. They nearly succeeded in getting the U.S. to lose the Iraq war against the jihadists by reporting only the bad news and ignoring the good. They have persuaded nearly everyone to accept an untenable theory about global warming and the virtues of the vicious environmental philosophy behind it.

But a determined minority is fighting back. Liberty-loving bloggers, conservative and libertarian newspapers, Objectivists, and speakers from a growing pro-freedom cadre are pushing back. Hard. The Anti(s) are on the run and they know it. That's why they are so angry right now. They see their domain and their plans threatened and they're not about to go down without a fight after so many years of fighting to transform America in their image.

They are going to lose. The Pro(s) are on the move.

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