Establishment News Media Is Asking For Special Treatment From the Feds

P. Gardner Goldsmith | July 13, 2017
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Before we dive into the breaking story, let’s step back a few months.

Canny observers of political events often have the capacity to act like seasoned trackers from stories of the American Old West. They kneel, put an ear to the news landscape, hear rumbling, and tell you precisely how many political bison are charging over the plains to crush your wagon train.

And late last summer, a confluence of unfounded dinosaur media news stories, rhetoric from politicians in D.C., and nonsensical accusations from leftist professors came together to ring the alarms of political trackers. As alternative media reporters noted the easily observable problems with Hillary Clinton’s health during the summer of 2016, old guard news outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post derided and lampooned such reports as “fake.” 

Of course, when she appeared at a World Trade Center memorial last September and collapsed, the upstart reporters were proven right.

As DNC e-mails, Hillary's emails, and Podesta e-mails got leaked to the public, those reporters told us, in essence, to “pay no attention,” and to avert our eyes. CNN’s Chris Cuomo actually took his foot out of his mouth long enough to try to tell viewers that they would be breaking the law if they checked out the documents on Wikileaks -- a claim that was, of course, completely false.

Shortly thereafter, the “Russia” hack canard became their spoon-feed du jour. And in consort, we began to hear utterly nonsensical claims from the Washington Post that free market libertarian websites like RonPaul Dot Com and Anti-War Dot Com were “Russian Propaganda”, and leftist Merrimack College “media studies” professor Melissa Zimdars created a list of sites she doesn’t like, awkwardly labeling them “fake news”.

In the meantime, a bill, originally introduced in 2016, quietly made its way through Congress for a final vote at the end of the year.

Now a law, the bill was called the Portman-Murphy Counter-Propaganda Bill, and it was co-sponsored by those shining paragons of constitutionalism: Sen. Rob Portman (R, Ohio), and his “across-the-aisle” pal, Sen. Chris Murphy (D, Conn). It was wrapped into the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act and pushed by President Obama at precisely the same time as all these collectivist mill-grinders were pumping out fake stories about “fake news” and “Russian propaganda.”

The Portman-Murphy legislation gave the federal government the ability to “develop, integrate, and synchronize whole-of-government initiatives to expose and counter foreign disinformation operations by our enemies and proactively advance fact-based narratives that support U.S. allies and interests.”

In other words, it increases the resources of the U.S. government, particularly the State Department, to create propaganda.

But it does more than that. The law actually gives the federal government the power to work with and fund non-governmental agencies and news organizations in their great quest to cleanse our news of “unwanted” information that doesn’t jive with the government/media narrative. The law actually gives the feds the power to bail out failing news agencies under the guise of "partnerships."

In the old days, that was called "fascism." Now, it’s called “fighting propaganda” – with government propaganda.

Which brings us to the news, here at the end of the piece. As the New York Sun recently reported, a consortium of media moguls called The News Media Alliance (NMA) is now calling on the federal government to give them an exemption to antitrust laws, allowing them to collectively negotiate against their now-dominant competitors in news dissemination, Facebook and Google.

In a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, NMA President and CEO David Chavern actually likened these top-heavy, stodgy news sources to “serfs” of Facebook and Google, despite the fact that their owners include people like Jeff Bezos (owner of the Washington Post, and Amazon, whose net worth is about $84 billion, and whose Amazon has a $600 million contract with the CIA to handle CIA data), Carlos Slim (owner of the New York Times, whose net worth is estimated at $61.1 billion), and Warren Buffet (net worth: $76.9 billion).

I have no problem with allowing interested parties to collectively negotiate with other parties. But to ask for special exemptions from the government, while not asking for other antitrust laws to be torn down, is hypocritical – precisely what one might expect from the media.

The dying dinosaur media are becoming desperate. As the snooty NYT and its leftist old guard pals are exposed for publishing more and more false stories, they act more like social justice warrior snowflakes, exhibiting illogical, hypocritical, inverted, and aggressive pathology that many people shun.

The way to help themselves is not to get government assistance, or blame Google or Facebook or the consumers for going elsewhere to get information. The solution is to improve their products by rejecting the political agendas that have driven their news and editorial slants for decades.

Anyone want to lay bets on them getting the message?