One has to tread carefully in the ceaseless postmodernist battle to frame words as weapons and use the power to define language as a means to stop political debate. A perfect example of that has arisen via a brief report from the Associated Press that was published on Katie Couric’s favorite website, Yahoo!
"Hatred of Journalists on The Rise Worldwide, Watchdog Says” is the title of it, which implies that we shouldn’t even bother questioning it. After all, it’s from a “watchdog group," so you know it’s gotta be the definitive word.
The story cited the “international” group Journalists Without Borders (JWB) as finding big threats for journalists in its “Annual Global Index” of “media freedom.” Indeed, according to the AP, the JWB discovered:
…an overall rise in animosity toward reporters and a drop in freedoms, notably in former Soviet states but also in countries from the U.S. to the Philippines.
And, get this, DWB says it wasn’t just political leaders who were bad-mouthing reporters.
It says hate speech targeting journalists is amplified on social networks by government-friendly trolls…
Let’s lay out a valid analysis of these claims.
The first claim is clearly meant to slam Donald Trump for his mockery of “Fake News” reports on media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, the Washington Post, New York Times, and others. But not only was Trump right, he was using a pejorative that leftist journalists and interest groups coined prior to him picking it up and turning it against them. It was during the summer of 2016, when a combination of stories reported by conservative and libertarian alternative media were revealing the perfidy of the DNC, the Obama regime, and Hillary Clinton, that the left began to bandy about the term “fake news”.
This was done in conjunction with a move to pass a bill in Congress called the Portman-Murphy Anti-Propaganda Act, which, no surprise, lets the feds label media outlets as “foreign propaganda” and shower money on old-guard, leftist media dinosaurs to “fight” the propagandistic message.
It also occurred at a time when the DNC saw internal e-mails leaked, e-mails that revealed that big-time corrupt dealings were happening there, things such as CNN reporter (and former DNC head) Donna Brazile giving CNN debate questions to Hillary Clinton prior to the debates, and a general hatred of the Sanders campaign at the DNC overall. This was that wonderful period when Hillary Clinton was clearly ill, taking many days off the campaign trial, coughing for three to four minutes at a whack while standing in front of crowds, and yet alternative media sites that reported on it were slammed as “fake news.”
It is a time when Barack Obama called for a “truthiness test” to be imposed by the government on journalists and their stories.
And it is a time when the Washington Post published a completely erroneous, politically-targeted blacklist from a nebulous leftist organization called “Prop-or-Not” claiming a long list of libertarian, conservative, and anti-war websites were “Russian Propaganda”. This list included such paragons of Russian ideology as RonPaul.com and Anti-War.com (both of which happen to be run by people I know, and I can tell you, they’re not Russian propagandists).
But remember, Donald Trump’s “right-back-at-ya” use of the term “Fake News” is unwarranted when applied to the media dinosaurs who can now be bailed out by the feds thanks to Portman-Murphy, which passed and was signed by Obama on December 23, 2016. Bet you didn’t hear about that in the pop media during the run-up to Christmas.
And this criticism of Trump’s mere words not only misses the difference between his rhetoric and the actions of the government under Obama to push the “Fake News” narrative, it misses the fact that Obama actually used the Espionage Act to try to imprison more reporters and whistleblowers than not only any President prior to him, but all the Presidents combined who could use the unconstitutional, anti-free speech World War One-era law.
There is a profound difference between Trump’s rhetoric and the reality of what the previous Chief Executive actually did.
And then there are the social media and info titans, Facebook, Twitter, and Google/Youtube/Alphabet, which have all been shown to suppress conservative, libertarian, and anti-war journalists and social posts.
The second point to make here is this: what is “hateful” speech? Who defines that? As Antifa and other postmodernist groups have shown over the past hundred years, it is the mission of the collectivists to define the “meaning” of their opponents’ speech, allowing the left to demonize and ostracize their opponents and stop them from engaging in any debate at all.
And what if someone’s criticism of journalists were “hateful,” but correct? Aren’t people who experienced hardship at the hands of the USSR, China, Cuba, or any other state – even the US or UK (which recently prosecuted a Scotsman for posting a humorous video, calling it “hate speech”) -- allowed to vent? Aren’t those people allowed to express their anger, perhaps even express hatred, leveled toward fawning, pro-regime news organizations that don’t cover the loss of their liberties with nearly as much alacrity as they praise the latest snowflake-PC-SJW fad like genderless pronoun mandates in Canada?
This is not to say that one overlooks problems with Trump’s administration. But one has to tread carefully when seeing reports from “watchdog groups” like “Journalists Without Borders.” They have done good work in the past, and perhaps they’ll do good work exposing government suppression of free speech in the future, but, the group recently was exposed for taking cash from the National Endowment for Democracy, an organization sponsored by, yeah, you guessed it, the US State Department.
Ahh, journalistic ethics. No wonder some of us get frustrated with the pop media and speak out.
We must be so, so hateful.
(Cover Photo: Roberto Ferrari)