The Real Media Scandal
The Real Media Scandal

The Real Media Scandal

I have often mentioned an important news story to dedicated news watchers, only to have them respond, “I didn’t know that.” They no doubt assume that if something important happens, it will be reported. Years ago that assumption was warranted. It no longer is. Many of today’s news organizations ignore stories that are unfavorable to the people or parties they support.

This is particularly true of the “mainstream media”—NBC, CBS, and ABC—and of important newspapers like the New York Times. Here are several examples:

  • When Spanish language television network Univision first reported in 2012 that the Obama administration had provided illegal guns to the Mexican drug cartels in an operation known as “Fast and Furious,” ABC, CBS, and NBC ignored the story. (In 2014 Emmy-award winner Sheryl Attkisson left CBS because, she claimed, they had stymied her investigative reporting on Fast and Furious and other scandals.)
  • The Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four Americans and which the Obama administration falsely blamed on an anti-Muslim video occurred six weeks before the 2012 election. Most pollsters agreed the story had the potential to undermine Obama’s reelection effort. Yet the mainstream media gave it only scant attention until after the election.
  • After covering the initial May 2013 report of the IRS scandal involving discrimination against conservative organizations, the major networks virtually ignored it for almost a year, despite the fact that it concerned gross violations of constitutional rights and had implications for all Americans. Some reporters for those networks even branded the story a Republican fabrication. Later, when the IRS announced it would conduct an internal investigation of the scandal, the New York Times buried the story on page A19, ensuring that few readers would see it. (In the same edition, they reported on page 1 that funds for a New Jersey bridge had been improperly diverted.)
  • It took the major networks a month and a half to give the VA hospital scandal the same amount of coverage they gave the New Jersey “Bridgegate” scandal in four and a half days. This despite the fact that “Bridgegate” merely brought unnecessary convenience to travelers who used one bridge while the VA scandal resulted in 1000 veterans’ deaths and immeasurable pain and suffering for tens of thousands of other veterans.
  • On June 23, 2014 the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA exceeded its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. CBS, ABC, NBC completely ignored the story. Instead, they covered stories of considerably less consequence—for example, NBC covered the reunion of a dog with its family.

If you know little or nothing about these scandals despite watching the news regularly, blame your news source. It has denied you significant information about developments at home and around the world.

Why would journalists deliberately cheat you of what you are paying for—indeed, what their very careers are premised on providing? Mainly because they grew up in the cultural climate established in the 1960s and they absorbed certain ideas, as did their journalism professors. Among those ideas are the following:

That they create their own truth.

That self-actualization should be their most important goal.

That maintaining their self-esteem is crucial.

These ideas are very different from the ones earlier generations of journalists were taught, and they produce very different thoughts and actions.

The idea that individuals create truth makes searching for facts and drawing careful conclusions irrelevant and unnecessary. Thus, journalists feel justified in embracing whatever opinions occur to them, with perfect confidence that they will automatically be true.

The idea that self-actualization is the most important goal encourages journalists to make self their primary focus. They therefore tend to see the reporting of facts as too confining a role, so instead they present their opinions, their “truth.” (Ironically, Viktor Frankl’s research, unparalleled in its breadth and depth, demonstrates that the very opposite focus—self-transcendence—is wiser and makes every human enterprise more meaningful.)

The idea that their self-esteem must be maintained makes journalists reject any suggestion that they are mistaken or wrong. They believe that stories they ignore deserve to be ignored and regard anyone who says otherwise as a threat. That explains why they call such stories “phony” and demonize those who report them.

Simply said, mainstream journalists’ inflated assessment of their importance and desire for self-aggrandizement lead them to report what flatters their perspective and to omit what does not. The result is to cheat the public of vital information.

What can you do if your news source is withholding important news? Find a more reliable news source. Two to consider are CNN and FNC (Fox News Channel). Neither is perfect, to be sure. Each has its own point of view and its contributors and guests may lean more heavily in one political direction than the other. However, both organizations endeavor to report the news regardless of whom it flatters.

Only when you know what is happening can you examine different points of view, decide which is most reasonable, and meet your responsibilities as a citizen. News organizations that present events selectively do you and the process of democracy a great disservice. They should not be allowed in your living room.

Copyright © 2014 by Vincent Ryan Ruggiero. All rights reserved

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Vincent Ryan Ruggiero