Propagandizing the News Endangers America

Member Group : Jerry Shenk

I rarely watch Fox News, then usually for part of the 6:00 PM hour. But I have no problem with people who routinely watch Fox, or, for that matter, CNN or MSNBC. I occasionally tune those in, too, but only for the entertainment value.

My tolerance isn’t universally shared, though. Liberals despise Fox News, the preeminent cable news outlet which consistently outperforms its liberal competitors, often combined.

The Los Angeles Times’ Nicholas Goldberg laments that Fox News is “a danger to this country.” Goldberg: “We live in an era in which Americans are being encouraged to disregard or dismiss factual information, research and established sources of information in order to stay in ideological comfort zones. [President Donald] Trump encourages this, as does Fox, but Republicans in Congress do it too.”

By “established sources of information,” Goldberg means what he calls “mainstream institutions,” presumably such as the LA Times. By “factual information” Goldberg clearly means, “whatever mainstream institutions say it is.”

Goldberg feints toward “balance” by writing, “We live in an era of media polarization, in which too many people get their information from one-sided sources,” but, unsurprisingly, left-wing examples, CNN, MSNBC, Hillary Clinton and congressional Democrats – or the LA and New York Times — aren’t named in Goldberg’s portentous grumbling.

Goldberg’s tedious, tendentious affectations are typical of the American legacy media’s “rational, sensible, voice of reason” posturing, much of which isn’t demonstrably rational, sensible, reasonable – or factual.

Goldberg: “Obviously, if people can’t agree on basic truths (such as whether climate change exists…or whether immigrants are a net benefit or net loss for the country), they can’t work together toward substantive solutions.”

By “basic truths,” Goldberg means “whatever mainstream institutions say is true,” and by “solutions,” Goldberg means “policies of which we approve.”

But there is nothing “basic” or even straightforward about Goldberg’s ‘truths”: Climate changes, but its causes — and solutions, should there be any — are all subject to legitimate, methodical scientific research and dispute, climate alarmists’ protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. And the status of “immigrants” (Goldberg avoids the “illegal” antecedent) is a legal matter based upon longstanding United States immigration statutes.

The left-wing media’s tendency to oversimply, and transform into political terms, nearly every complex legal, scientific, economic and social/cultural topic in order to influence policy outcomes  — and, not coincidentally, to gain subscribers, on-line readers, page views, links, comments and advertisers — is “bad for democratic discourse,” arguably the lone, albeit inadvertent, truth in Goldberg’s piece.

What was once news reporting has become advocacy, both in the items selected for coverage and the manner in which they are presented. Propagandizing the news is, indeed, “a danger to this country.” Conservatives and liberals both do it, but Fox News is one outlet, a lonely fringe of a very broad left-wing media spectrum.

If viewers think of cable outlets as entertainment, perform their own due-diligence and think for themselves, what cable-news talking-heads think becomes as irrelevant as the heavily-biased LA and NY Times have made themselves.

 Contact Jerry Shenk: [email protected]