Civics 101

Here’s a free civics lesson for fake news organs like CNN:

“Freedom of the Press” means that you can print and broadcast whatever you like — short of outright libel or slander — and can’t be arrested or charged for it, or have your business shut down.  It doesn’t mean anyone is required to talk to you or pay any attention to you.  If someone refuses to answer your questions or kicks you out of an interview session, your freedoms have not been violated, only your pride.  The reporters at my local newspaper and TV stations out here in flyover country don’t have White House press passes, so why should you?  Because you’re a Big Cheese in the Beltway?  Give us a break.

Your dominance of the political conversation was an historical accident arising from the centralized mass communications of radio and television in the mid-20th century.  FDR was the first president to invite a select group of reporters into the White House for regular interviews.  He thought that by flattering the major news outlets in this way, he could guide the message they put out — and he was right.  Subsequent presidents followed suit.  When there were only a few TV networks, it made a certain amount of sense to bring them all in and let them carry the news out to others.

That doesn’t make sense anymore.  We don’t need you.  If I want to know what a politician said about something, I can watch the video of him speaking.  If I want to know what happened at a riot, I can watch video taken from a bystander’s phone and make my own conclusions.  I don’t need you to tell me it was actually a peaceful protest — or bury the story altogether if it doesn’t fit your narrative.  If I want to know what’s happening in Sweden these days, I can ask some Swedes.

Not only don’t we need you, but we don’t trust you.  Your approval levels are at an all-time low because Americans are tired of your lies.  Even leftists don’t trust you; they just like the lies you tell.  Generation X, my generation, never learned to trust you in the first place.  Millenials never even learned to pay attention to you.

If you were smart, you’d purge your organizations of people dedicated to pushing a political narrative and replace them with people who only care about discovering and reporting the truth.  You’d dedicate yourself to hard-nosed but fair journalism, and work on earning back the trust of the American people by adding something to the conversation instead of trying to control and suppress it.  Give that a decade or two, and you might gain back some ground.

You won’t do that.  You’ll double-down, because that’s what you do.  You’ll complain, lie more about your non-existent rights, and throw around words like “fascist” and “racist” twice as much, not realizing that no one cares about your shrieking anymore.  You’ll still be shrieking as you file bankruptcy, and no tears will be shed for you.

Along the way, you’ll also try to get your buddies at big Internet corps like Google and Facebook to help you out by shutting down your competition online.  This will be the best part, because it’ll be like watching a sumo wrestler wearing oven mitts try to catch a greased pig.  We can’t wait.

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