Watching the performance “journalism” of the supposed ‘Mainstream’ media during Trump’s presidency often evokes reactions from laughter to rage among supporters of the President. However, this is a significant moment in the history of journalism itself, for we are witnessing the death knell of the MSM, and are on the precipice of an entirely new era of media journalism which is rising to fill the void.
The fall of MSM journalism began in earnest a little more than a half-century ago during the turbulent decade of the 1960s. The event that became the impetus for journalism’s wholesale embrace of Leftist activism was the Vietnam War.
Leftist Journalism and The War in Vietnam
The Vietnam War was unique in the annals of journalism in that it was the first time journalists could cover a war in close to real-time and deliver that coverage to the entirety of America via video reports on television. Prior to this, most news was disseminated via the newspaper and on the radio or in short news clips that preceded a movie showing at the theater.
This meant that the destruction and horror of war were starting to be beamed into living rooms across the nation and the globe on an almost daily basis. Moreover, the analysis and commentary of media stars such as Walter Cronkite began charting a leftward media course that was instrumental in ignominiously ending the Vietnam War.
The February 1968 assessment by Walter Cronkite, the anchor of the CBS Evening News (known as “the most trusted man in America”), that the conflict was “mired in stalemate” was seen by many as the signal of a sea change in reporting about Vietnam, and it is said to have inspired Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson to state, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”
The influence of network journalists on the “big three” alphabet stations, CBS, ABC, and NBC continued to grow and continued to inch ever-leftward through the 1970s. The Watergate hearings in 1974 seemed to permanently place MSM journalism as the news authority and raised the Washington Post to greater fame than ever after reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein broke the story wide open with information obtained by a secret informant known then as ‘Deep Throat.’
However, that dominance was soon to become threatened by the advent of cable television, and the innovative and determined mind of a media mogul named Ted Turner. His creation of a 24-hour news channel was a brand new invention that changed the journalistic landscape forever.
The Emergence of Cable News and the Case of Richard Jewell
The original Cable News Network, CNN, was the brainchild of Ted Turner and came meekly onto the media scene in 1980.
CNN was created by maverick broadcasting executive Ted Turner as part of his Turner Broadcasting System (TBS), allegedly because industry professionals had told him it could not be done. After four years in development, CNN signed on the air June 1, 1980, with a news telecast anchored by the husband-and-wife team of Dave Walker and Lois Hart.
Ted Turner was enamored of Leftist causes throughout his career, most notably as a champion of ‘environmentalism.’ Early hints of other left-wing views like globalism emerged right from the beginning of CNN’s existence.
Endeavouring to accommodate its worldwide audience, CNN adopted a policy of banning such exclusionary words and phrases as “foreign” and “here at home” from its newscasts.
The fledgling news network struggled to gain much of an audience for the first few years after its premiere. CNN began to climb in the ratings when it scooped the networks on the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster in 1986, and especially with its in-country coverage of the Gulf War in the early 1990s.
The world got a glimpse of the power of the leftist MSM and how that power can be abused on July 27, 1996, with the bombing at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. A man by the name of Richard Jewell discovered the bomb, notified law enforcement and helped clear the area before the bomb detonated.
However, within two days Jewell went from hero to prime suspect of the FBI, which was reported first in headlines from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on July 30. The networks and print media began to descend upon Jewell like a pack of ravenous wolves, beginning with Atlanta-based CNN.
For the next few months, Jewell was hounded by reporters from all three national networks as well as CNN and vilified in national newspapers as the likely bomber. In one particularly egregious case of journalistic overreach, an August 1, 1996 column by David Kindred of the AJC linked Jewell to a convicted murderer.
Once upon a terrible time, federal agents came to this town to deal with another suspect who lived with his mother. Like this one, that suspect was drawn to the blue lights and sirens of police work. Like this one, he became famous in the aftermath of murder. His name was Wayne Williams. This one is Richard Jewell. …Richard Jewell sits in the shadows today. Wayne Williams sits in prison forever.
It wasn’t until October 26 that Jewell was officially cleared. Years later the actual bomber was arrested and convicted of the Olympic bombing as well as several other bombings in the area.
The Rise of Social Media
During this same period, another technological breakthrough took place which would change the media universe and bring a host of other players outside the normal circle of journalism into play. That was the ascendance of the internet and the subsequent explosion of ‘social media’ onto the scene.
The development of the internet began in the 1960s as an American military effort to link computers together in the event that a nuclear attack destroyed the telephone-based communications of the time. However, the internet as we know it today came about in 1991.
That year, a computer programmer in Switzerland named Tim Berners-Lee introduced the World Wide Web: an internet that was not simply a way to send files from one place to another but was itself a “web” of information that anyone on the Internet could retrieve. Berners-Lee created the Internet that we know today.
Six years later the first ‘social media’ network was launched. It was known as “Six Degrees.”
It was officially launched in 1997, and it lasted until about 2001. It’s number of users peaked at around 3.5 million. It was bought out by YouthStream Media Networks in 1999 for $125 million, but it shut down just one year later.
The next social media platform came out in 2002 and was called “Friendster.” It became the first such site to claim over 100 million users but eventually went bust in 2015.
Then the floodgates began to open. In 2003 it was “MySpace,” followed by “Facebook” in 2004 which grew to the largest social media platform ever with 2.45 billion active monthly users so far in 2019. “Twitter” came along in 2006 and has now grown to 330 million monthly active users according to figures from the first quarter of 2019.
This explosive growth did more than simply make people like Mark Zuckerburg and Jim Dorsey extremely wealthy. It opened up a brand new media arena for journalism in the digital age and the Leftmedia quickly took full advantage of that.
The fact that the heads of the social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter were also of Leftist persuasions tended to favor a Leftmedia slant toward what has been allowed and what has not on both these platforms. This slant remained relatively unnoticed until the 2016 election of Donald Trump.
The 2016 Election, the Birth of ‘Fake News’, and TDS
Donald Trump became the GOP nominee for President in July of 2016, and the Leftmedia hasn’t stopped howling about him ever since. However, since most of the “experts” gave Trump no chance to defeat Hillary Clinton, that howling was a mere murmur compared to what was to come.
Since the election of Donald Trump, the Leftmedia has earned the label of “fake news” that the President employs with such success. However, the term was not one he invented.
In the 2016 campaign for President, the term “fake news” was first used by the Clinton camp speaking about the Wikileaks release of emails from Hillary’s campaign manager John Podesta. They claimed these released emails were not authentic and called them “fake news.”
President Trump masterfully appropriated and used this term to reveal bit-by-bit the duplicity of the Leftmedia as a whole for the last three years. Moreover, it likely contributed to the creation and spread of another term used to describe the anti-Trump crowd in society as suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome or TDS.
I have written about the reality, danger, and spread of TDS on several occasions in this journal. Though this pernicious disease is not limited to Leftmedia ‘journalism’, TDS is expressed there more starkly and in more abundance than anywhere else.
The relationship between TDS and “fake news” as one of its symptoms can be demonstrated through a “thread” which I found while sifting through the muck on my Twitter feed. A “thread” is a series of posts from one user concerning the same subject.
Since Twitter has a strict limit on how many characters a person is allowed to put into one post, a “thread” is a way to write a longer story with a series of shorter ‘chapters’, so to speak. These are employed by most who use Twitter, however, this “thread” was unusual for both its length and content.
It consisted of over 100 postings and the content was mainly side-by-side screenshots of headlines from both digital and print Leftmedia ‘news’ stories highlighting the hypocrisy and deception employed by their ilk.
Here is how this posting by user “Incarcerated_ET” begins:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Anons present to you:
THE FAKE NEWS
-their coordinated efforts
-and out right lies
>>side by side for easy dissemination
>>just like Q asked
This example is a mild introduction beginning with the obvious TDS of Ms. Wellington gushing over the “dream come true” of HRC in a plain white pantsuit and then declaring that Melania’s white dress was equivalent to the GOP being for whites only!
These instructive comparisons continue on and reveal many which seem petty, like the one above, and others that are outright furious and hostile towards the President or anything associated with him.
Here is one item in the same stream from the Leftist site “Slate,” on why the electoral college is a great idea, and then why it is not only terrible but was a racist idea from the beginning.
Note how Slate’s opinion changed dramatically when it was Obama winning in 2012 versus when Trump won in 2016. Here is another example of the 100+ samples in the thread from dear old reliable CNN.
CNN begins with the assertion that “paid family leave” is a wonderful concept which should be embraced by everyone. But then, Trump agrees and places it in his budget and viola, “paid family leave” is suddenly a bad thing!
Here is the last piece I will share from the thread demonstrating both TDS and “fake news” on the very same page.
The “fake news” was the large headline printed directly under the actual truth about the President’s statement which did condemn “white supremacists” and everyone else involved in the violent protests at Charlottesville. Guess which one of these assertions is still being used as ammunition against President Trump even today.
TDS and “fake news” have been the SOP of the Left from the very start of Trump’s presidency, including the failed “Mueller Report,” and has continued into the current phony “impeachment inquiry” in the House of Representatives. Here is a brief video ensemble showing why this is simply another dose of “fake news” and TDS by the Leftmedia.
What is also being slowly realized by those same people is that the “media” is no longer what is spoon-fed to us by the elites in the mainstream. We will explore the recent declaration of this new phenomenon by the phrase, “We are the media now,” in part two of this series.
“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:13-18 [ESV]
Featured and Top Image courtesy of Jose Martins’ Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of manhhai’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Abbott’s Patch Collection’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Paul Inkles’ Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Christoph Scholz’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
All other sources linked or cited in the text
Originally published in TIL Journal