Celebrate ‘Bastardized’ Media
February 14, 2013 by Sam Rolley
Vice President Joe Biden called on the “legitimate news media” Sunday to assist in furthering the President’s gun control agenda. But Biden’s call to action was less a directive for mainstream media to push gun control (as if he needed to ask) than it was a move to discredit any grass-roots information initiatives that have the potential to derail government propaganda.
“We’re counting on all of you, the legitimate news media, to cover these [gun policy] discussions because the truth is that times have changed,” Biden said during a press conference.
The Vice President also added that reports suggesting the Administration wished to take weapons away from gun owners were a “bunch of malarkey.”
Of course, Biden had no reason to beg media to jump on the gun control bandwagon. According to research conducted by the Media Research Center (full disclosure: MRC describes its mission as “holding the liberal media accountable for shamelessly advancing a left-wing agenda, distorting the truth, and vilifying the conservative movement”), analysis of 216 gun policy stories from the nightly news programming of NBC, ABC and CBS showed that coverage from those outlets favored more strident gun laws 8-1. FOX News was not included in the survey.
Here are some of the MRC numbers:
Evening Newscasts Slant 8-to-1 Against Gun Rights
Out of 92 evening news segments, anti-gun news stories outnumbered pro-gun stories by 46 to 6 (with 40 neutral stories), or an almost 8 to 1 ratio.
■ CBS’s Evening News was the most biased in favor of gun control, airing 19 anti-gun stories to only 1 pro-gun segment, with 20 neutral stories. Anti-gun talking heads (42) outnumbered pro-gun talking heads (21) by a 2 to 1 ratio, with 17 neutral soundbites.
■ ABC’s World News wasn’t much better, airing 15 anti-gun segments to just 2 pro-gun segments, with 8 neutral stories. Surprisingly, ABC’s World News did offer a fairer result when it came to soundbites as anti-talking heads (28) almost matched pro-talking heads (27) with 15 being neutral.
■ NBC’s Nightly News offered 12 anti-gun segments and delivered 3 pro-gun segments, with 12 neutral stories. On Nightly News, 51 talking heads supported gun control to just 29 opposed to more regulations, 20 soundbites were neutral.
Suffice it to say, the Vice President would certainly count any of the aforementioned networks in the “legitimate news media category.” Despite already appearing to have fallen in line with the Administration’s agenda, Biden’s call may be part of the reason NBC News programs, as well as MSNBC, CNBC and NBC News Digital, decided to launch a series of special reports called “Flashpoint: Guns in America.” The purpose of the network-wide initiative will be to examine gun violence, gun legislation and gun ownership, according to TVNEWSER.
But with little resistance from mainstream media against the Administration’s gun policy suggestions, why the need for the Vice President’s call to action? Unfortunately, it appears that the assault on the 2nd Amendment from the Administration of Barack Obama is lending itself to a more subtle assault on the 1st Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Despite the efforts of certain mainstream media outlets to further the agenda against the 2nd Amendment, a hearty backlash has been mounted by grass-roots, “fringe,” conservative and conspiratorial (whatever you want to call them) media outlets enabled by the ability to reach mass audiences via the Internet. Perhaps Biden would refer to these subversive and lesser-known outlets as the bastardized news media.
There is no guarantee that information provided by smaller news outlets is provided without political bias, and most of their consumers realize this. The problem for people like Biden is that the more grass-roots journalistic efforts require the information consumer to think critically about the claims made, a far departure from the automatic authority granted to the mainstream “legitimate news media” controlled by a handful of major news networks. The result is the need of statists like Biden to delegitimize those outlets that require thought. Unfortunately, in doing so the Vice President is granting himself the authority to do something that only the Supreme Court has the power to do: define the meaning of “press” in the 1st Amendment.
The Supreme Court has never explicitly defined the Free Press Clause or given any indication of whom or what comprises the “press.” Biden, in his quest to further limit the 2nd Amendment, is attempting to do it for the court by defining the press as “legitimate media” or, more accurately, as those news organizations that bend to the will of the Administration. There should be no expectation that mainstream media outlets would reject to Biden’s attempt to interpret the 1st Amendment; they’re in on it. Traditional media outlets have been trampled by grass-roots media and citizen journalism in recent years. The last power players in the mainstream media world are the biggest, and they will never cede legitimacy to small media organizations offering dissident opinions.
The 1st Amendment will remain intact only as long as the bastardized news media is allowed to continue to exist. But as witnessed in December, when in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy Connecticut cops warned that anyone posting so-called “misinformation” on the case was committing a crime, the battle for the airwaves is on.
Yesterday, Obama reportedly issued an executive order that is meant to provide critical infrastructure protections against cyberattack. The order, similar to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act that was scrapped in Congress after grass-roots media stirred public outcry, promises to grant the government expansive power over the Internet, the portal of uncensored information enabling bastardized media to spread uncensored information.
Oddly enough, the order was actually signed, effective immediately, on Tuesday. The Administration simply asked members of the legitimate media to withhold the information from the public until the day following the State of the Union address. The press complied.
Here’s BuzzFeed’s version of the story, published Wednesday:
The order — setting up new programs aimed at stopping online espionage and terrorism — was already the law of the land, signed by the president. But it was also secret.
The document was “embargoed until delivery of the President’s in the State of the Union address” — despite the fact it had already been signed.
Such embargoes — imposed unilaterally, rather than agreed-upon — are not binding on news organizations, which weigh the urgency of the news against the headache of, for instance, being dropped from the White House’s distribution list. BuzzFeed abided by the embargo, having participated in a background briefing on the move, but thought it appropriate to report on the unusual delay.
The media takeover is in its last and final stages. The last step for the statists is to do away with independent media outlets like Personal Liberty Digest™, The New American, Prison Planet and any others not fitting into Biden’s narrow “legitimate news media” category.
This isn’t the first time a government has attempted to obtain a monopoly on all information spread on American soil. The first multipage newspaper in America, Publick Occurrences, Both Forreign and Domestick, was printed by Richard Pierce and edited by Benjamin Harris in Boston on Sept. 25, 1690. The paper promised in the first — and what turned out to be the only — issue of the newspaper to publish “once a month, or, if any Glut of Occurrences happen, oftener.”
British colonial authorities didn’t feel the newspaper was legitimate news media and ordered the paper shut down:
Whereas some have lately presumed to Print and Disperse a Pamphlet, Entitled, Publick Occurrences, both Forreign and Domestick: Boston, Thursday, Septemb. 25th, 1690. Without the least Privity and Countenace of Authority. The Governour and Council having had the perusal of said Pamphlet, and finding that therein contained Reflections of a very high nature: As also sundry doubtful and uncertain Reports, do hereby manifest and declare their high Resentment and Disallowance of said Pamphlet, and Order that the same be Suppressed and called in; strickly forbidden any person or persons for the future to Set forth any thing in Print without License first obtained from those that are or shall be appointed by the Government to grant the same.
Media, it seems, has come full circle in America with Biden’s claim of “malarkey” spread by bastardized news media resembling the British Governor and Council finding “sundry doubtful and uncertain Reports” in Publick Occurrences. There is a reason words and weapons are the first issues covered in the U.S. Constitution: The men who wrote it lived in a time and place where both were outlawed, a time and place they never wanted another American citizen to experience.