This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published January 17, 2016 by The Washington Times.
At my very first reporting job, the editor had a banner above the newsroom that quoted humorist Finley Peter Dunne’s admonition to newspapers to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”
Thus, he trumpeted his view of the press as a vehicle by which to reform society. Reporting objectively? Surely you jest.
That pretty much sums up the media today, although they’re nowhere near as honest about their true calling as was my editor, an old-style liberal who was open about his biases but still actually attempted to provide fair and balanced coverage. Nowadays, they don’t even bother to pretend.
Nothing has exposed this more than the media’s servile stance toward the Obama administration, which can do no wrong except occasionally moving too slowly to the left for their taste. Newspapers, wire services and the major TV networks demonstrate the dangers of a Washington-based press gone native. Even Fox News, the exception to this rule, has only a few journalists who challenge the claims of the progressive social and cultural agenda.
The late Joseph Sobran warned us about not only errors to which a servile media are prone, but to the extent to which vanity plays a role, as journalists are seduced by the powerful, many of whom give them access only if they play ball.
Of the press, Sobran wrote: “Just because it creates a community of opinion it must never fall into the hands of the state entirely. The more you deplore it, in fact, the more ardently you must want to keep it separate from the reigning political power. Everything it does wrong it does worse when it becomes the organ of officialdom.”
A case in point was provided recently, courtesy of Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, who has slavishly “explained” every bizarre undertaking and failure of the Obama administration in a glowing context for the past seven years. When Mr. Obama takes a swing at someone, Mr. Dionne typically explodes with umbrage at the offending chin for hurting Mr. Obama’s knuckles.
His column last Thursday about the State of the Union address was almost a parody of mush served up by a servile media.
In “Obama Fights the GOP Fury,” Mr. Dionne began by portraying the most powerful man in the world as a victim:
“The most venomous part of the Republican Party has seized control of the national dialogue. This forced President Obama to use his final State of the Union message Tuesday to battle against intolerance, anger, pessimism and despair.”
Could it be that Mr. Obama’s disastrous and divisive policies have something to do with America’s surly mood? When you see your country dissected, piece by piece, by an ideologue who clearly hates American liberty and wants to reduce us to one of the world’s many failed social welfare states, it doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy.
Mr. Obama’s depredations against his fellow Americans are too numerous to chronicle in a column, but here are some reminders:
The imposition of Obamacare despite massive resistance and unconstitutional actions altering it.
Appointing lawless judges at every federal level, including the Supreme Court, which thumbed their noses at nature and nature’s God in creating faux marriage.
Economic policies that have led to the worst recovery from a recession in U.S. history.
Using the Internal Revenue Service as a brute squad to silence conservative and Tea Party groups.
Relentlessly favoring all things Islam while ignoring Muslim genocide of Christians in the Middle East.
Recurring hostility toward Israel while inking a treaty with Iran that will lead to America-hating mullahs possessing nuclear weapons.
Lying about the circumstances behind the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
Creating a magnet for illegal immigrants by refusing to enforce immigration law or protecting the U.S. border while exponentially expanding welfare programs.
Turning America’s U.N. presence into a promotional mouthpiece for abortion and the sexual revolution.
Eviscerating the armed forces and turning them into a social experiment, with women in combat and sanctions against chaplains for sharing their faith.
Issuing executive orders on guns that violate the Second Amendment and Congress’ legislative power.
Using the Justice Department to attack common-sense voter ID laws and other election integrity reforms.
Expanding the welfare state and the federal debt and adding millions to the food stamp rolls.
Packing the National Labor Relations Board with pro-union activists.
Pouring rhetorical gasoline on already inflamed race relations.
Remaking the Environmental Protection Agency into a quasi-fascistic enforcement arm of the global warming lobby.
Allowing the Federal Communications Commission to ignore Congress and court rulings in order to take authority over the Internet.
There’s much more, but let’s not forget the Republican-led Congress, which has posed no serious challenge to any of this. Voters gave the GOP the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014 to stop Mr. Obama’s radical agenda, and their leaders have caved whenever it mattered.
No wonder Mr. Dionne and the rest of the media blame outspoken conservative politicians and everyday Americans for “intolerance, anger, pessimism and despair.”
They’ve got to pin this mess on somebody.