In what is becoming a frightening trend for lovers of liberty, Republicans and Democrats have been engaged in a war against “misinformation,” not because they stand for truth, but because they want to use misinformation as propaganda to control the agenda for their personal and political benefit.
For example, shortly after the events of January 6, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez AOC suggested adding “media literacy” as a requirement for creating a congressional “truth and reconciliation” committee. “We’re going to have to figure out how we rein in our media environment so that you can’t just spew disinformation and misinformation,” she insisted in a tweet. (emphasis mine)
In July last year, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced a plan to target social media for their part in spreading “misinformation” about COVID. “We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation,” the White House press secretary said at the time.
Psaki said that Senior Biden administration staff and members of the COVID-19 team would target misinformation, specifically on coronavirus vaccines and the pandemic, by keeping “in regular touch” with social media platforms. (emphasis mine)
Most recently, Biden blamed his plummeting approval ratings on media misinformation, saying news organizations have been unfairly covering the White House, thus contributing to his fragile public standing nearly a year into his presidency.
Now, I have very little sympathy for the dysfunctional and badly broken mainstream media, particularly after the eight-year slobbering love affair (H/T Bernard Goldberg) between Obama and the press. Likewise, I reject the liberty-killing “fake news” spiel of Donald Trump, who once proclaimed (ala Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels) that the “FAKE NEWS” media was the “enemy of the American people.”
Here's the tweet Trump deleted—he's seriously calling the media "the enemy of the American people" pic.twitter.com/TxhnjuNL7q
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 17, 2017
Besides the ironic fact that Trump was seeking the same relationship with the media that Obama enjoyed — a subservient propaganda machine providing only positive, non-critical coverage of his administration — his “fake news” agenda was a serious threat to the survival of liberty and our republic.
Near the end of his third year in office, Trump was so dedicated to controlling media information that he had lawyers representing him and his reelection campaign (Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.) send a letter to CNN threatening to sue the network for its so-called anti-Trump bias.
Further evidence of the duopoly’s shared goal to control misinformation and not eliminate it was evident shortly after Democrats assumed control of Washington after beating Republicans in the 2020 election.
Taking a page from Trump’s “Fake News” playbook, Democrat leaders sent letters to the presidents of Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Cox, Dish, and other cable and satellite companies suggesting that they stop carrying Fox News, One America News Network, and Newsmax. According to the Democrat lawmakers, these “conservative” channels were promotors of misinformation and political violence. (emphasis mine)
Neither Republicans nor Democrats really care about “misinformation” or “disinformation” in the media; they only care about having control of it so they can manipulate it to suit the agenda of the duopoly (via Reason.com):
At a moment when too many media outlets see their role as working with the state to reinforce official narratives, one advocate of press freedom reminds us that the struggle isn’t over the “disinformation” and “misinformation” called out by opportunistic politicians, it’s over control of information. Will people be free in the future to decide for themselves what’s truth and what’s BS? Or will we be spoon-fed whatever the powers-that-be endorse?
“Governments realize that they are in an existential battle over who controls information, who controls the narrative, and they are waging a frontal assault against independent journalism around the world,” Joel Simon, the exiting head of the Committee to Protects Journalists (CPJ), told CNN’s Brian Stelter.
“This is the information age, and we are in a kind of millennial battle over who controls information,” he added. “Who controls it? That’s the power struggle. And so, governments recognize—repressive governments, but even democratic governments—that this is an essential tool that they need to maintain power and journalists are their adversaries.” (emphasis mine)
Republicans claim that the press and social media companies are censoring free speech while Democrats claim they aren’t censoring enough free speech. Either way, the duopoly would like nothing more than to destroy free speech for political benefit.
The motivation behind the duopoly’s war on “misinformation” and “disinformation” has nothing to do with protecting the truth or our God-given rights and everything to do with their desire to control information by silencing the voices of their opposition.
Media bias is real, but it’s not unconstitutional. What IS unconstitutional is any attempt by Republicans and Democrats to control “misinformation” and “disinformation” by silencing the press simply because what’s being reported doesn’t fit the duopoly’s agenda.
From the very beginning, the Founding Fathers considered the free press a bulwark against out-of-control government, and they believed that citizens should be free to use the press to criticize the government without interference:
“I am … for freedom of the press, and against all violations of the Constitution to silence by force and not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
A free press, even a biased and imperfect one, is vital for holding government accountable . . . and for securing liberty in America.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.