JUST THINKING: Media undermining our self-determination


February has arrived in Wallowa County, along with annual cases of cabin fever. We long for sunny, warmer days and the chance to get outside, but we must be patient. In the meantime, we celebrate Valentine’s Day and watch the State of the Union address. Instead of this yearly address, what many would prefer to hear is the State of the American Press address.

It is no accident when creating the foundation of a country “conceived in liberty,” that there is a close relationship between the Declaration of Independence proclaiming “all men are created equal” and the Bill of Rights giving us freedom of the press. The liberty of individuals will not long remain if our press fails to be equitably accessible to all political, ethnic and religious groups.

What is the state of the American press, more accurately described today as the “the media?” To be sure, today’s media wields great power alongside the three branches of government. Unlike the executive, legislative and judicial branches, however, there are no checks and balances on American’s media.

This unelected fourth branch has the power to control our mindset, to manipulate emotions, to incite a mob mentality, to influence, change and eventually cement a particular world view. We’ve watched as the media has implemented political correctness. Heavy prices are now paid by anyone knowingly or unknowingly who steps outside the media’s PC boundaries. One of the latest PC targets has been painted on the game of football. Time will decide how successful the media will be in taking down this sport.

The media are today’s power brokers. They can make or break a politician at their whim, decide which policies to promote, which to destroy. Recently, the media ignored the annual March for Life with over 500,000 participants yet the very next day hyped a march by a few thousands favoring gun control. Media’s perspective becomes reality.

Consider their role in Libya. History records in 1969 (I was a freshman in high school) Muammar Gaddafi staged a successful coup against a Libyan monarchy. The new government’s motto was “freedom, socialism and unity” and it pledged to remedy backwardness, promote social justice, non-exploitation and equitable distribution of wealth (all none of Americans’ business).

Liking power, Gaddafi became allied with terrorists. In 1986, a bomb brought down an airliner, killing all aboard; the Gaddafi government was implicated. (I was a young mother in my early 30s.) Now the U.S. was involved. Gaddafi was effectively neutered by agreements with both the Reagan and Bush administrations.

Twenty-five years later (I’m approaching 60), the American press began a drumbeat that Gaddafi must go for his involvement in the ’86 terror plot. Nothing would do but America spend billions to attack a country where we had NO vital interest. Gaddafi was forcefully removed; political instability followed. The American press and henceforth the American people cheered. Everyone knows the rest – the Obama administration put in an ambassador then refused pleas for adequate security.

The illusion, during the presidential campaign, had to be maintained that Obama had saved America from the threat of terrorism. Americans died and at each step the media wielded power, manipulating public opinion. The press that beat the drums to get America involved in a place we had no business, subsequently refused to cover the terror attack in Benghazi, thereby becoming compliant in the cover-up. No surprise when the media applauded Secretary of State Clinton’s testimony, “What difference does it make?”

How would one accurately describe the state of today’s press? Power without accountability. As Mark Twain observed, “There are laws to protect the freedom of the press’s speech but none that are worth anything to protect the people from the press.”

Individual liberty is closely linked to a free press. We have reason for concern when a media demonstrates open bias, willing to sacrifice truth to promote a progressive agenda.

Wallowa County conservative thinker Annette Lathrop has been involved with local children for decades – as a public school teacher, Sunday School teacher and through other pursuits.

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