For well over a century the press in our country has gone unchallenged for the most part.
From the “First Newspapers in America pdf“: John Zenger began publication of the New York Weekly Journal 1733 and published scathing articles in opposition to the policies of then Gov. William Cosby. Zenger’s newspaper, backed by several prominent lawyers and merchants, relentlessly attacked the administration. Although most of the articles were written by Zenger’s backers, Zenger was legally responsible and was arrested on libel charges and imprisoned (1734). In the celebrated trial that followed (1735), Zenger was defended by Andrew Hamilton, who established truth as a defense in cases of libel. The trial, which resulted in the publisher’s acquittal, helped to establish freedom of the press in America.
Arguably the first media mogul in America was the famed publishing giant William Randolph Hearst. Hearst built an empire that controlled newspapers from coast to coast. He owned seven dailies, five magazines, two news services, and a film company. It is widely known that Hearst used his media power to vault himself into a Congressional seat for two terms in Washington, D. C. History also is ripe with stories of how Hearst used his media power to destroy political opponents or those he did not happen to care for.
Probably the most infamous story of the power of the press in modern times happened back in the early 1970’s. Two reporters from the Washington Post almost single handily brought down the Nixon Administration. Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward began following leads and tips of a back page story about a little-reported tale of the nighttime break-in of the Democrat National Committee’s headquarters. This old-fashioned shoe-leather, pencil, and notepad investigation of the hapless burglars ultimately led straight to the Oval Office, erased tapes of phone conversations, and guilty pleas by Administration officials. In the end, we were left with the images of Richard Nixon flashing two peace signs from the steps of Marine One on the White House lawn.
For decades America got their news from trusted television anchors by the names of Brinkley, Huntley, and Cronkite. Then came Reasoner, Rather, Koppel, and Brokaw. These were news talents that we knew we could trust to bring us the truth. No spin, no bias, the truth and nothing but the truth. Then came the late 1980’s and the rise of prime-time afternoon talk radio. We all know the voice today. The deep baritone voice of non-other than Rush Limbaugh. Premier radio network decided to try an experiment with a firebreathing Sacramento, California radio talk-show host. Premier decided to contract with Limbaugh and syndicate his show far and wide. Rush at his peak ended up on over 600 stations with some 20-million listeners weekly. Limbaugh’s conservatism could be heard on small and large stations alike everywhere from Seattle to Miami. His excoriating demolishing of Democrats like former Senator Ted Kennedy was being listened to from Portland, Maine to San Diego, California. Even small heartland communities like Rapid City, South Dakota got their daily dose of “The Limbaugh Institute for Conservative Studies.”
The day’s of Woodstock, rock music, pot-smoking liberal youth culminated in the 1992 election of a youthful, and vibrant President Bill Clinton. The same young people who had protested LBJ and Nixon’s involvement in Vietnam with riots across America were now in charge of the government. Beginning in the late 1960’s, shifts started happening on our college campuses to a more ‘liberal’ ideology. Journalism degrees have long been known to be one of the major’s that typically attract a more “open-minded” and liberal type of mindset.
Considering that some 85-90% of our media in this nation are registered Democrats, it is actually not surprising that much of the political news we receive would have a liberal slant to it. Those teens who were once students at Harvard, Princeton, Kent State, UCLA, and Stanford are now in their 40’s-50’s, and 60’s and possess anchor jobs on major networks. When the Clinton’s moved into the White House, the young media folks gravitated ideologically with the new president. Clinton quickly recognized that he had allies and began his alliance with them which of course only fueled their self-confidence to believe that they could now manipulate the news to benefit Democrat causes.
For those that think Trump is the only President to be grilled by the media, take a few moments and watch this Ronald Reagan news conference.
When comparing the press of old versus the new modern-day media, the only comparison between the two are, the press of old happened to be a bit more polite when on White House property. Chris Wallace and Sam Donaldson in the above clip are and do have Reagan on his heals, but they did so in a very polite manner. The Jim Acosta’s of today are missing the importance of being gracious to our leaders. The evidence is this next clip from just two days ago at the daily White House briefing with Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
I do not often disagree with President Trump, and anyone who reads me knows this. However, regarding this labeling the media “Fake News,” in my opinion, is wrong. Feel free to disagree if you like, but this is why I say this. Just because CNN is opposed to our particular political ideology doesn’t make them “FAKE.” Just because Morning Joe is a turncoat Republican and is now a Mika “kiss up artist,” doesn’t make him evil or fake or anything of the sort. He happens not to like Trump, it is evident, and he espouses his position daily on his morning show.
The Tweet the President put out yesterday in my “never to be humble” opinion was wrong. Here is my issue with this. The President of the United States should be able to take very harsh criticism. Ronald Reagan faced daily assaults for 8-long years. President George W. Bush faced brutal treatment from the media almost as a daily occurrence on many levels. Bush was railed on for the Gulf War, attacking in the Gulf-based upon weak evidence of biological and chemical weapons. He was blasted for going after Saddam, then was hammered for his showing up in a flight suit claiming “Mission Accomplished” on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
Thinking back; nearly every president has been the target of the media. This is what they do America! This is what they’re supposed to do America! The media is the “people’s tool” to keep Capitol Hill in tow. If we have a media that all they do is kowtow to whoever is in that Oval Office and the Speaker, Vice-President, Senate Majority Leader, etc., then do we really have Freedom of the Press?
I think it is time the President get some thicker skin, stop calling the media “Fake News” and let’s get on with it. If he doesn’t want to answer any questions by the press, then leave them alone. He has plenty of pit bulls to keep them at bay. But for the President of the United States to attack our purveyor’s of the 1st Amendment is not only wrong, it is dangerous!