In 1807, then President Thomas Jefferson, late in his second term, wrote a letter to a friend, privately complaining about what he saw as a press that was totally divorced from speaking truth. A long time advocate of the Freedom of the Press, decades before the drafting of the Bill of Rights, he believed newspapers of his time had become so hopelessly biased that he posited in his letter that removing the protections of the press could do no more damage to freedom of information than the press had done itself.
That was over 200 years ago, and “the media“, including printed, broadcast, and even internet formats, has ever been a thorn in the side of politicians, even those whose values and political beliefs were inarguably at the foundation of the political theory of our national character. So when current politicians, pundit class, and rank and file voters mewl their angst and anger at the media, realize that everything they can ever say about the media has long since been said.
Yet people keep complaining, however, as almost every single day lately, there is an endless cycle of the media reporting something that then provokes a wave of nondenial denials from politicians and their pundit class, which then fuels a cascade of “fake news” from the rank and file voters. Over 200 years later, clearly someone hasn’t figured out something that should be obvious to everyone, especially those who claim to be “conservative“.
“It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more compleatly deprive the nation of it’s benefits, than is done by it’s abandoned prostitution to falsehood. Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.”
Those who embrace the ideology of individualism shouldn’t have to be told that the same First Amendment that protects Proverbs protects also the profane. They shouldn’t have to be told that the same First Amendment that protects comedy also protects tragedy. And they certainly shouldn’t have to be told that the same First Amendment that protects truth also protects fiction. So it is puzzling when people who profess to be conservative still manage to be so tilted by the media.
They can’t honestly be whining about the media being “fake news“, because that’s not even a new complaint, by more than a couple centuries. It’s not like anyone is seriously credibly arguing that the media’s reporting is false, because, instead of outright refutations, the loudest critics of the media have most recently resorted to “what-aboutisms“, which is the exact opposite of a denial: an admission of truth.
Aside from being the most adolescent of complaints, these “what-aboutisms“, unmask those who employ them. Actual Conservatives shouldn’t have to be told “two wrongs don’t make a right“, and, more importantly, an actual conservative shouldn’t desire nor need there to be a politically homogeneous press. Conservatives understand that pluralism is a necessary and proper component of Conservatism, because it is absolutely necessary to a just society.
At the heart of the whining about the media is a deep desire for thought conformity to a specific political philosophy. The desire for thought conformity has a name: Fascism. It is the opposite of Liberty.
Liberty is For The Win!