OBAMA SIGNALED A PLAN
FOR OUR MEDIA FUTURE
Like myself, you’re probably appalled at the American media’s shameless whoring for Hillary Clinton, asking yourself why they would so thoroughly debase their much-touted journalistic ethics. President Obama has answered that question.
“We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function that people agree to.
“There has to be, I think, some sort of way in which we can sort through information that passes some basic truthiness tests and those that we have to discard, because they just don’t have any basis in anything that’s actually happening in the world.”
Set aside the outrageous, un-American gall in proposing that any central authority should “curate” information put out to the public, and walk with me for a minute down a meandering path of speculation.
It is, or course, the World Wide Web in which Obama’s informational “wild-wild west” exists. This is the realm of Breitbart, Cybercast News Service, the Drudge Report, World Net Daily, American Thinker, and other non-establishment outlets that persist in making the President uncomfortable.
And what has happened recently to affect the World Wide Web? The U.S. government has handed over control to ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the nonprofit agency that assigns website domain names.
Is it in the President’s mind that ICANN might someday assume the “curating function” he sees as necessary to insure “truthiness” in web-based news reporting?
Well, according to ICANN Board Chair Stephen D. Crocker, diverse membership in the organization makes such a thing unthinkable. Quoted by the tech site C/NET, Crocker said…
“This community validated the multistakeholder model of internet governance. It has shown that a governance model defined by the inclusion of all voices, including business, academics, technical experts, civil society, governments and many others is the best way to assure that the internet of tomorrow remains as free, open and accessible as the internet of today.”
His confidence is echoed by the Internet Governance Coalition, a group of technology firms that includes Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Verizon, among others. They issued a statement that lauds ICANN’s “strong accountability measures” and upholds “the bottom-up approach that embodies the very nature of the open internet we experience today.…”
Pardon the skepticism to which I’ve become increasingly prone, but this sounds very much like the “collaborative” concept of governance that prevails in the academic world.
If you’ve ever applied for a position at a college or university, you know that what a search committee wants most urgently to know about you is whether you have a “collaborative style” of working.
What exactly is a “collaborative style,” as understood in today’s academic world? It means that you won’t do anything to contradict the orthodoxy in thought and procedure reigning on campus — in other words, that you are “politically correct” in your outlook.
Despite all the assurances about ICANN, it seems to me that the possibility of pressure (if not outright restrictions) being placed on Internet content providers is very great. Especially so, given the “inclusion” of foreign governments in ICANN’s “multistakeholder model of internet governance.”
And what does this have to do with the mainstream media and their devotion to Hillary Clinton?
The Internet has wreaked havoc on the media. It has robbed audience and ad revenue from broadcast outlets. It has destroyed newspapers in every part of the country. In combination with overall decreased literacy, it has reduced book publishing to a shadow of its once-great self.
Only a handful of very large and diversified media conglomerates are thriving. And the various mergers, reductions and recombinations that have taken place among them suggest that their long-term prospects are far from assured.
While the American press has always been partisan — and in latter decades predominantly liberal — journalists and their management have tried to make at least token efforts at evenhandedness, in appearance anyway.
Not so this election.
The wanton suppression of negative stories on Clinton (these they leave to the National Enquirer and the British press); the virtual blackout of the Wikileaks disclosures; the constant drumbeat of stupid, overblown “revelations” about Trump (including the most lurid and petty irrelevancies); the underreporting of the extent of his popularity; the mischaracterization of poll results; the mysterious technical difficulties that interrupt radio and TV interviews; and much more — all of this leaves no doubt that the media are willing to abandon every last shred of professional ethics to put Hillary in the White House.
I — and probably you — have generally chalked it all up to the pervasive ideological madness of our time. But that’s not a sufficient explanation. It doesn’t ring true to my experience.
Having begun my career as a reporter and then practiced public relations and institutional communications, I’ve worked with news people throughout my professional life. I’ve known many fine men and women in the field — moral, diligent, ethically sound — many of whom I’ve disagreed with politically but admired nonetheless.
The explanation for the gross malfeasance we see today — being carried out on an industry-wide scale — does not lie primarily with the ideological predilections of journalists.
The key is what Obama said about “curating” the news. He was signaling a promise to the mainstream media organizations — a promise which the politics of this moment don’t permit Hillary to make openly herself:
The Internet will be “curated.” The non-establishment news providers will be squeezed out. The mainstream conglomerates will regain their traditional exclusive control over the informational gates and the revenues they generate.
That’s the plan.
It will take time, of course. It may be done with the connivance of ICANN. It may be done through the imposition of censorship laws such as those that already exist in Europe, Canada and other places around the world. It may require a combination of both avenues.
But that’s the plan.
There’s an old gag line among journalists. It’s a play on the famous slogan of The New York Times, “All the news that’s fit to print.” Reporters and editors turn that around and say jokingly…
“All the news that fits, we print.”
Nowadays, it’s safe to assume that the only news we’re getting from the mainstream media is news that fits the plan.
A slightly edited version of this essay is currently appearing on American Thinker…
Writing on Mediaite, Jordan Chariton, who covers media for a variety of outlets off toward the left end of the journalistic spectrum, considers the wild frenzy over Donald Trump’s alleged sexual crudities versus the comparative silence on the Wikileaks revelations about Hillary Clinton’s cozy relationship with corporate interests…
“CBS, ABC, and NBC’s morning and evening shows spent 4 hours and 13 minutes on Trump’s sexual assault allegations vs. 36 minutes on the Wikileaks emails between Oct. 7th and 13th….”
He maintains that journalists — those all-knowing folks who are supposed to keep the rest of us informed — are as out of touch as anybody in the New York-Washington power bubble…
Sharyl Attkisson, whose dedication to objectivity put her at odds with former employer, CBS, goes farther, asserting that the collapse of journalistic integrity rates its own scandalous designation: “Newsgate”…
“it’s easy to see how we as journalists have done a poor job protecting ourselves from being co-opted by organized interests, often ones that are paid and politically-motivated…. It implies a broad and growing trend that has seriously undermined the credibility of the news industry.”
Writing on her own website, Attkisson is kickin’ ass and namin’ names with a revealing list of ethical breaches…
Polling organizations have also come under strong pressure to cut ethical corners — as made clear in emails revealed by Wikileaks. The financial news website Zero Hedge notes recommendations by Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta to nudge poll results in Hillary’s direction by oversampling certain dependable groups of respondents…
David Goldman, the great “Spengler,” lays out the sad consequences of all this moral compromise…
“There’s no way to tell what people think. It’s impossible for most Americans to form a judgment with which they feel comfortable, because they do not have sources of information they can trust…. Only 32% of Americans said they had ‘a great deal’ or ‘a fair amount’ of confidence in the news media in a September Gallup poll survey. That’s the lowest level in history, and should be no surprise: the major media has to spin a new cover-up every couple of days, before it is finished putting the previous set of lies to bed.”
Whoever wins the election, dare we hope that journalistic ethics will reassert itself and encourage honorable news folks to push for reform in their profession? Good luck with that.
Writing on the Observer news site, New York Post press critic Evan Gahr reports that collusion with the Clinton campaign doesn’t seem to have any significant cost attached so far. So what the heck?…