Mazzuca: The biggest lie of all
An honest media is absolutely essential to the health of the republic. An honest media informs the citizenry about public affairs and monitors the processes of government. The Founding Fathers understood when the press examines the actions of government — the nation benefits.
And in 21st century America, the purpose of news organizations should be to expose corruption and coverups, deceptions and deceits, illegal actions and unethical behavior — it’s their job to hold our leaders and our institutions accountable.
But who holds the media accountable when journalists are the ones perpetrating the deceptions and deceits? Journalists are supposed to be watchdogs — not cheerleaders. Thomas Jefferson told us “Our liberty depends on freedom of the press;” and I suspect if our third president were alive today, he would likely add that our liberty also depends upon on the honesty of the press.
Truth and the public’s right to information should be the foundation of all news reporting. And the reason this is so very critical is that it demonstrates respect for the citizenry as human beings rather than viewing them as tools to be manipulated. The Founding Fathers wanted a free, honest and vibrant press to inform society, not to influence or control it.
But on August 11, 2017, in Charlottesville Virginia, the media violated the Founding Fathers’ intentions and told one of the biggest lies of our time; a lie that has since become the cornerstone of the left’s anti-Trump narrative. Even more egregiously, after telling the lie the media actively promoted it and has never admitted to, nor apologized for the falsehood. The reason? Far too many people running the nation’s news organizations aren’t driven by the pursuit of truth; they’re driven by the pursuit of Donald Trump.
The president never said white supremacists and neo-Nazis were “very fine people.” When Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides,” he was referring to people demonstrating in Charlottesville for and against tearing down a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee — not the neo-Nazis and antifa — and the media knew it!
Nonetheless, the news media mendaciously seized upon the opportunity to distort context and lie to the American people. But don’t take my word for it; instead go to this link and see for yourself. As Vladimir Lenin proclaimed, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth,” and Lenin’s statement was never more applicable than with the media’s reporting in Charlottesville.
It’s not my intent to defend Donald Trump. Like many Americans, I don’t care for the inane and childish tweets, the egocentricity and his all-to-frequent boorish behavior. But none of those foibles qualifies as justification for the despicable lies the media, (with special attribution to CNN, NBC and MSNBC) has been complicit in perpetuating.
The president isn’t anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic or a racist. He married an immigrant, his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism and during a White House faith meeting on prison reform, Darrell Scott, a black pastor, referred to the president as the most pro-black president he’d seen in his lifetime — and the media knows that too.
Nevertheless, the distortions persist. Sharyl Attkisson, one of the nation’s most respected independent journalists, has documented how the media has repeatedly labeled many of the president’s claims lies when in fact they were matters of opinion or when the truth between conflicting sources was unknowable. She documents how Trump’s statements are continually taken out of context (as was done in Charlottesville) how the media has reported secondhand accounts without attribution, relied on untruthful and conflicted sources, and presented reporters’ opinions as news without labeling them as such — all of which are verboten in honest journalism.
I don’t shrink from my conservative/libertarian philosophy and believe in less government, not more, and that the closer we adhere to the notions of governance espoused by the likes of Adams, Jefferson and Madison the better off we are. It’s also a philosophy that prompts me to agree with more of Trump’s policies than with those I disagree.
But this commentary isn’t about Donald Trump; it’s about dishonesty in a media that’s allowed its biases to go unchecked — a situation that threatens the very essence of the republic. Charlottesville was just one of the more egregious examples.
Quote of the day: “A lie may have speed, but truth has endurance”—Edgar J. Mohn
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes biweekly for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.