It’s the 4th of July and time to recognize and celebrate a free press, unencumbered by any hint of partisanship and taking their responsibility as “The Guardians of Democracy” and “The Gatekeepers” with all the reverence they believe it deserves.
Well, maybe next year, huh?
It’s George Orwell’s world and we’re just living in it. It’s astonishing how quickly dead-certain “facts” suddenly disappear down the memory hole. And it isn’t just that the “facts” are wrong. It’s how many in the media pretend they weren’t “facts” in the first place.
It hardly matters. Like in the old Soviet Union, “history” is a frangible thing. If it doesn’t suit the overall narrative, the “inconvenient” facts (i.e., the “truth”) are dutifully scrubbed and replaced with something equally palliative, aligning the “new” facts with the old narrative. The result is a seamless transition from lie to lie.
For example, Donald Trump was warning for months about the growing humanitarian crisis on the border. It should be noted that this was not a state secret. It wasn’t locked away and guarded 24 hours a day by CIA agents. In fact, any reasonably ambitious reporter could have gone to the source of the story — our southern border with Mexico — and seen for themselves what was happening.
But we don’t have ambitious reporters anymore — at least, ambitious about revealing the true facts of a story. Most reporters’ ambitions today center on getting face time on CNN or MSNBC to show how clever and erudite they are.
No matter. Trump’s warnings went unheeded because the media had developed an alternate narrative. “Kids in cages” was the crisis and not hundreds of thousands of refugees crowding our border, crossing illegally, and putting an enormous strain on the limited humanitarian resources available to immigration authorities.
It wasn’t the record number of families trying to reach the U.S. border or the “caravans” of migrants looking to push their way into the country that was the problem. It’s that Trump is a racist who hates Hispanics so much he makes them suffer.
That was the narrative faithfully pushed by the media.
“It’s humanitarian aid, it’s very important and I think that a lot of people are starting to realize that I was right when I said we have a crisis at the border,” Trump said. “…A crisis at the border wasn’t a manufactured crisis, which they were saying, it wasn’t manufactured at all. We have a crisis at the border.”
So who are the people he’s referring to? Many of the journalism world’s favorite pundits and media institutions.
Here’s a hilarious tweet from CNN’s Jim Acosta:
I found some steel slats down on the border. But I don’t see anything resembling a national emergency situation.. at least not in the McAllen TX area of the border where Trump will be today. pic.twitter.com/KRoLdszLUu
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) January 10, 2019
Don’t forget the meme that the president of the United States is a racist:
This is a completely manufactured crisis driven by the racism of POTUS. It enrages me. https://t.co/NtNMzeouhx
— Eddie S. Glaude Jr. (@esglaude) November 25, 2018
There was even talk of delaying Trump’s speech on the border crisis so that the media could substitute their own version of the facts.
CNN’s Don Lemon is worried people will believe Trump’s speech on the southern border crisis: “But do you think it should be — I don’t know — a delay of some sort, and then you can — because people believe it. Trump will say what he has to say. People will believe it…” pic.twitter.com/H91aHzuxU4
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) January 8, 2019
Anderson Cooper really put his foot in it when he claimed in January 2018 that migrants arriving at the border had “slowed to a trickle.”
“Now, it’s not our job to advocate for or against a given policy,” Cooper said on Jan. 8.
“It’s our job to call out the dishonest pursuit of it. So, as we wait for the president to speak about what he calls the crisis on the border, we’re starting with the crisis of credibility he’s created for himself.”
How much of the “credibility crisis” has been created by Trump’s lack of truthfulness, and how much of the crisis is the media’s absolute refusal to believe anything Trump says?
It’s the chicken and the egg parable. Trump deserves to be doubted but the press could have easily confirmed what the U.S. government — and not just Trump — was saying: there’s a crisis at the border and something has got to be done.
None of the “facts” reported at the time have survived the imposition of a new immigration narrative. All of the above may still exist on the internet, but no one really cares to check. The media knows this, which allows them to make a U-Turn and report on Trump’s “inaction” on the border crisis.
Believe it. It’s true. Are you sure?