When USA Today reported that Romney supporters were deliberately tuning out the published polls showing him falling ever further behind Barack Obama observers should have seen it as a warning that one the pillars of American political legitimacy was about to collapse.
A shared belief in the unimpeachability of certain institutions is the keystone of political legitimacy. The most obvious example is the electoral process and the courts. The media -- along with associated institutions like the academy and Hollywood -- are lesser, but similar examples. If the public don't 'believe' in their judgments then all hope for a suspension of the political season until the next campaign are lost.
Maybe even the phrase "next campaign" is obsolete. Today's campaign never ends. Harlan Ullman, writing a guest editorial for the UPI says that modern political campaigns never come to a halt. The United States has now entered the era of the 'perpetual campaign'. It is all spin, all the time.
This is disorienting to an older generation whose standard of truth was that "it's in the papers" or "it's on TV". In those days the media had the aura of automatic truthfulness. That reputation is now sadly tarnishd. Even the movies are now regarded as propaganda. A new film arguing against domestic oil production -- like this anti-Fracking movie -- turn out to be partly paid for by Middle Eastern potentates. What has it come to when you can't even trust your favorite actor? If we "wake the f*** up" are we still in Kansas?
Christopher Horner in a forthcoming book titled The Liberal War on Transparency argues that lies are now big business. Honesty has served its purpose for liberals. Having used it to defeat their enemies to come within sight of what they believe is a permanent majority they now have a vested interest in spin and secrecy.
Now that transparency threatens liberals’ use of government and other taxpayer-financed institutions, it is a problem to rein in; we’ve started asking questions and obtaining embarrassing answers, meaning the wrong kind of people are using transparency laws to the wrong ends. Other voices have also entered the political debate. Thanks to transparency and a more engaged public the liberal agenda is being impeded, and passage of laws they disfavor is made more likely. So the threat liberals now see is not misuse of public institutions, including publicly funded universities, a key ally in designing and expanding liberal government. Instead, the threat is exposure of how these institutions are being used, and the ability to spread the word of these abuses far and wide ...
This book relates my own experience and the experience of others with this campaign to deny access to information about the activities of government, to bar access for those people viewed as a threat to what one character repeatedly called “the cause,” just one of many causes liberals use government and academia to advance. I relate these experiences to expose how liberals are trying to stop us from seeing what else they are up to, and how to take them on.
Douglas McKinnon, writing for Investors.com put it succinctly: "the media are a real threat to security". How could that be? The reason, as Lord Acton a 19th century British politician might have put it is that "power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." The media/academic/entertainment complex now jointly wields with the liberal left an enormous amount of power. And as per Acton it is now almost inevitably corrupt.
The media is part of the political system now; part of the spoils game too and sadly, part of the process of putting in "the fix". The unavoidable consequence of this is that beneath the smokescreen of the formal Presidential election the media is also running for re-election just like any other candidate.
The institution that has been called the Fourth Branch of Government wants a new mandate. And though it will get one even with a Romney victory, it get a far bigger one under Barack Obama. The media is not on the ballot, but they are the running mates of Barack Obama in a much more meaningful sense that Joseph Biden.
Maybe it would be better to group the media companies into parties so that if the one party wins, the associated ticket of media entities getting the highest number of votes gets 70% of the access by law and the losing media ticket 30%. That would make the press no more honest than most politicians. But like politicians at least you could remove them from office every four years.