In spite of a recent survey published Friday indicating that Americans’ distrust of the news media has reached an all time high, the mainstream media largely gets a pass from the public on the untruthful stories it often propagates as “news.”
According to the latest Gallup poll, 60 percent of Americans say they have little or no trust in the media to report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly.”
At the same time, however, Americans apparently do very little to express their discontent with the major offenders at ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, and CNN. In spite of plummeting ratings, which suggests that citizens are at least doing something to express their disapproval, little has changed at the major media outlets. If anything, the bias has gotten worse, not better.
For example, during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, N.C. a few weeks ago, the media passed along to the public without question or doubt the official Obama campaign talking points concerning the now-infamous change of venue for President Obama’s acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination.
Each of the major television news networks, with the exception of Fox, reported that the change was due to “inclement weather.” Local news outlets in the greater Charlotte area reported the very same thing, again without raising a single question as to validity of the Obama campaign’s claims.
But the problem was that everyone in the immediate vicinity of Charlotte knew that there was only a 20 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms that day, a common forecast in the southeast and one that rarely produces widespread inclement weather.
At the time of Obama’s speech, which had been moved to the 20,000 seat Time Warner Arena from the 70,000 seat Bank of America Stadium, there was hardly a cloud in the sky and not a drop of rain was noted by anyone in the region of the stadium.
Local residents in the Charlotte area were left scratching their heads as to why the DNC would move the event indoors when there was such a low chance of storms, particularly when it became clear on the evening of the speech the weather was nearly perfect.
The real story behind the change of venue had become evident even as the Obama team prepared to announce the change fully 32 hours prior to the president’s speech. DNC organizers feared that there would not be enough attendees in the stands at the Bank of America Stadium, based upon their internal projections.
In short, Democratic officials did not want the president to suffer the embarrassment of having to speak before a half empty house.
The truth about the change of venue became evident early on to most residents of Charlotte who were paying attention. Yet many local news outlets persisted in parroting the official DNC explanation, in spite of the incredulity on the part of the local viewing public.
The question, thus, becomes why did media outlets continue to tell such an obvious whopper of an untruth even when it became clear that most astute residents knew it was a lie, an Obama campaign talking point. They persist in this journalistic malpractice because they know they can get away with it. Americans may quit watching and do something else. But in the end citizens do very little to put teeth to their discontent by forcing media outlets to pay a heavy price for reporting such blatant untruths.
Another factor which contributes to the persistence of the mainstream media’s practice of slanting the news is the short attention spans of most modern Americans. Media outlets know that most Americans have become accustomed to the nine-second sound bite, the short, choppy news morsel that is reported quickly before moving on to the next story, before the listener has the chance to fully digest what was just reported.
The listener hears the brief sound bite, and at some level fully takes it in and processes it internally in spite of the fact that the next news story is already in progress. But it does not take long for the listener to key into the new story at which time the previous story is left behind. The listener may have noted that something about the previous story did not ring true but has little time to fully process that fact and consider the broad ramifications of it. But most of the time the information, though wrong, is stored away somewhere in the recesses of the mind and accepted as factual even though there is no factual basis for doing so.
By the time CBS News anchor Scott Pelley went on the air at 10 p.m. on the night of Obama’s acceptance speech, it was clear that the DNC’s explanation for the change of venue had already become somewhat of a joke. Pelley stated wryly that they all were gathered in the smaller indoor arena to hear Obama, and that “there is not a drop of rain in sight.”
But by then it was too late to undo the impression made on most Americans’ minds by 32 straight hours of hearing the mainstream media claim that the speech was moved indoors “due to the threat of bad weather.” Most viewers who do not live in the Charlotte area had no reason whatsoever to doubt the weather mantra, and thus, for them the entire thing was weather-driven although such a notion was nowhere near the truth.
In recent days the media and the Obama administration have found themselves under the gun once again for reporting blatant untruths about the Middle East attacks on U.S. embassies. Finally, after days of reporting that the murders and violence were due to an American film that criticized Islam, the truth began to trickle out that the attacks had nothing to do with the film at all. The attacks were terror related and were planned well in advance to coincide with the U.S. commemoration of 9/11.
But for a vast number of citizens the narrative had already been solidified in their minds early on, that a film made by “misguided, hate-driven, Islamophobic Americans” led to several murders and mass violence all over the Middle East.
Thus, the mainstream media gets yet another pass for reporting erroneous information. Most Americans who get their news in nine-second sound bites had already decided early on that the attacks had nothing to do with terrorism and were not directed against most U.S. citizens, although the facts show that such a view is false.
As expected the media is now attempting to justify its erroneous reports by claiming it was only passing along the information provided by the administration. And herein lies one of the key problems with the modern news media. In a free society the media’s task is not to serve as the mouthpiece for the government’s propaganda but to question it, investigate it, and relentlessly pursue the real truth no matter what government officials say.
Widespread reports now indicate that the administration knew in advance that the Egyptian and Libyan embassies were vulnerable and were targeted for a possible terrorist attack. Had the media done its job, this information would have been provided on the same day that the Obama team attempted to deny any terrorist connection and place all of the blame on an anti-Islamic film.
Perhaps the only way the media outlets will get the message concerning Americans’ discontent with their bias and journalistic malpractice is for citizens to stop watching en masse. For 20 years Americans have gradually turned away from the mainstream media but apparently not in sufficient numbers to shake up the corporate moguls who allow the talking heads to get away with presenting government propaganda as news.
Nothing will change, therefore, until Americans change their viewing habits en masse.
ALERT! BRAND NEW!!
A new entry in my regular series Musings After Midnight is now posted at my blog, The Liberty Sphere. It’s titled “Why Are We Even Having This Debate in the United States of America?” Read it if you dare.
Visit my ministry site at Martin Christian Ministries.
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