Journalism isn’t just dead — it’s decomposed.
When Chris Wallace — in all Deep State unctuousness — asked Mick Mulvaney on Fox News Sunday to comment on a “well-connected Republican” who allegedly told Wallace there was a 20 percent chance the GOP would vote to remove the president from office, he not only was aiding in that decomposition, he was picking up a shovel and helping dig its grave.
Wallace didn’t identify who this “well-connected Republican” is or what he actually said in context, just the tidbit the host wanted to tell us. What Wallace was doing was engaging in propaganda, creating a smear based on the flimsiest hearsay.
But, as we all know, he’s not alone. This was only one of a myriad of cases and far from the worst. The employment of anonymous sources by media has been debated (and attacked) for years but since Trump was elected, their use has escalated into the stratosphere. Barely a day goes by that we don’t hear something from some “source close to someone or other” or a “person in position to know” about things we learn, sooner or later, to be lies or, at best, half truths. Other times we read “experts agree” or other such terms of non-art. What we are really getting are leaks that are supposedly illegal but almost never prosecuted.
Almost all of our leading newspapers and networks engage in this activity, some pretending to have checks and balances that are inscrutable from the outside and likely conveniently fudged from the inside. To name a few outlets that come immediately to mind, the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal (in its front section), NBC, CBS, ABC and, of course, CNN are frequent culprits in this reliance on the anonymous. They do this repeatedly and win Pulitzers for the ensuing lies and misrepresentations. It’s an old tradition, stemming back to the days when Walter Duranty lied about Stalin in the New York Times.
Trump made a mistake in labeling this “fake news.” Besides being too colloquial, the term is too generic and allows for the possibility that in some cases at least this dishonesty may be an accident. People make mistakes, after all. Yes, but it’s hardly ever true in these cases. It’s usually quite deliberate deception. A much, much more accurate term would be disinformation, a technique frequently employed by intelligence agencies. It’s a safe bet that many of these leaks arrived from ours. In that, our intelligence agencies were following in a grand tradition. The Soviets were experts at it. They wrote the book on disinformation.
Now the disinformation that is being put out is that Trump is on the rocks with Republicans. Mitt Romney may vote to impeach. Both The Washington Post and theWSJ have new stories warning of — or more properly “concern trolling” about — this disaffection. The word must be out. Chris Wallace was echoing the same narrative. The newly-minted NeverTrumper Matt Drudge is linking all this.
But is it true or is it disinfo? I’ll go with the latter. In fact, given Trump’s popularity with the Republican rank-and-file, it would be suicidal for incumbent Republican politicians to vote him out. They’d be out themselves at the next primary. And reporters at the WaPo and WSJ know that, unless they’ve been living under the proverbial rock or are willfully disregarding last week’s Trump rally in Dallas that had more supporters standing outside the venue than any political candidate in recent memory has had inside. (I know–the polls say he’s in trouble. Have you ever done a poll yourself? I have, several, for this website years ago, and learned some interesting things. Just as freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one, the results of a poll belong to the man who sets it up, i. e. asks the questions.)
What our media is doing is lying unabashedly as it has been doing since the outset of the Russia probe. Every one of the respected outlets listed above repeatedly reported the existence or the imminent proof of Trump-Russia collusion based on anonymous leaks. None of it ever happened. It would be interesting to know what percentage of those leaks came from members of intelligence agencies. I suspect it would be a scary number.
Those same media outlets are now making a big deal out of the Ukraine, even though Trump was obviously trying to figure out who had instigated the Russia probe in the first place. Wouldn’t you? And as for Biden, media have known about the humungous corruption of Biden, Hunter, and Burisma since 2015 and barely reported it. It was clearly of no interest to them because the right people, their people, were the ones being corrupt.
The newspapers above should all have a stamp on the front pages “CAUTION- -DISINFORMATION.” The networks should lose their licenses. They have abused their near-monopoly statuses.
PJ Media co-founder Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist and an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter. His new book is The GOAT.