Roger L. Simon

The Media Is The (Non) Message

Instapundit has it just right this morning when he writes that mainstream media coverage and accuracy is a bigger issue than the election itself.

Elections come and go, politicians come and go, and pretty much all of them turn out to be disappointments one way or another. But the “Fourth Estate” is a big part of the unelected Permanent Government that in many ways does more to run the country than the politicians. And it’s unravelling before our very eyes, which I think is the biggest story of the election so far.

Is this blogger triumphalism? Maybe, but a chink in the armor of information control has been created — and it’s growing. “Information control?” you ask. Isn’t that a bit of an exaggeration? Well, consider this: the major television networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) and The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times (not to mention others less important) all work from substantially the same world view with only the most minor variations. Some would call this “liberal.” I don’t at all, but never mind. It is nigh onto monolithic (with obvious exceptions) and it is protecting jobs, status, etc. as much as ideology. In fact, more than ideology, which seems to shift from day to day for pragmatic reasons. In that sense, these groups reflect the major political parties, which also appear more intent on winning, creating jobs for themselves, etc., than projecting specific policy.

This makes John Kerry the perfect modern candidate for the media because he is willing to switch views at the drop of the hat to preserve victory and his “culture.” The most recent example is his attack yesterday on Bush’s troop withdrawal plan, an idea which Kerry himself was backing less than a month ago. One wonders if he even remembers. Meanwhile, the major media continue to ignore the substance of the Swift Boat veterans accusations about Kerry’s “grade inflation” in Vietnam. They do this despite the almost universal belief that a presidential election is greatly about the candidate’s character and this speaks to that question in the most specific manner. Which makes the mainstream media propagandists, essentially, if you think about it.

So that leaves us renegades on the Internet. We’re propagandists too. Big time. But at least we admit it. Judge us how you will. But judge the mainstream media the same way. And, yes, there is probably a war on between us of sorts. Let’s hope it stays non-violent.

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt has more on press malfeasance here.

MORE: Just for the record, the WaPo and others are casting aspersions on one of the Swift Boat Vets Larry Thurlow. They may be right. But frankly I don’t care. That’s about medals, arguably a pompous and silly side issue. (In warfare, they’re given out by the bucketful anyway). What is not pompous and silly is a Senator lying on the floor of that institution in order to advance his foreign policy position. Cambodia, Mon Amour… Until the WaPo et al deal with that, they remain reified. And if they don’t know what that means, they can look it up.