“As for what is not true, you will always find abundance in the newspapers.”—Thomas Jefferson to Barnabas Bidwell, 1806.
Tragically, today we could substitute (the entire) “mainstream media” for “newspapers” in the above quote. The network newscasts along with CNN, MSNBC and nearly all big city newspapers have completely taken sides. It couldn’t be clearer. When Democrats, particularly liberal ones, are in power, the media love the establishment and emphasize (or manufacture) any good news. When Republicans are in power, particularly conservative ones, they stress any bad news they can find, as well as their own importance in holding the powerful’s feet to the fire, speaking truth to power, speaking up for the downtrodden, etc., etc., ad nauseum.
Never before has their hypocrisy reached this level of insanity. CNN and the Washington Post, for instance, have failed to vet stories that are demonstrably untrue. Made up. Constructed out of whole cloth.
And now we have CNN giving over extensive broadcast time to speculation about who’s in line for succession if Trump should be assassinated before he is sworn in. This is in conjunction with their almost gleeful reporting on how many protesters will be in Washington, D.C. attempting to threaten, intimidate and overwhelm Trump’s supporters, as well as those simply there to witness history.
This is in stark contrast to the prior two inaugurals. The press breathlessly fawned over Obama and made remarks such as “there he is now, at this historic moment, about to be sworn in, along with all of our dreams for hope and change.” Can anyone imagine the media openly speculating about the assassination of Barack Obama in the hours leading up to his immaculation(s)? “Bob, if Obama were to be assassinated before he takes office (obviously by some crazy, gun-besotted right-wing extremist), could a member of the Bush administration be in line to succeed him?”
Can you imagine if Fox News had run stories speculating about Obama’s pre-inaugural demise? Or Rush Limbaugh talked at length about it? They would have been boycotted and subjected to all kinds of vile social-media threats…at the bare minimum. There would have been even more talk about permanently forcing them off of the air.
Thomas Jefferson had a great deal to say about freedom of speech, the press, its importance and abuses. Here are a few more of his thoughts, with my comments after each:
“The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure." --Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1823. (Political correctness is rapidly robbing us of our ability to freely express ourselves).
"The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves, nor can they be safe with them without information. Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. (The mainstream media is, without question, now engaged in coloring, altering and hiding information they believe is contrary to their own interests and opinions, while openly aiding those who share them).
“ [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper." --Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp, Oct. 13, 1785. (Exactly. This is why the “old media” tries to belittle and place shackles on the internet, talk radio, etc.).
"To preserve the freedom of the human mind... and freedom of the press, every spirit should be ready to devote itself to martyrdom; for as long as we may think as we will and speak as we think, the condition of man will proceed in improvement." Thomas Jefferson to William Green Munford, 1799. (Just so. If you are conservative, ask yourself if you- and those that represent you- can always truly think as you will and speak as you think. You certainly can’t on college campuses these days).
If you examine these quotes, you will realize why Trump won. He gave voice to the muzzled.