Benjamin Disraeli once observed, "As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information." It occurs to me that the corollary of that is also true. Geoff Metcalf says, "As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who can control the best information."
I write this from Washington, D.C., where I am attending Judicial Watch's "Ethics in Government 2000." I know it sounds like an oxymoron.
I have often complained about the apparent malfeasance of the mainstream media. I believe strongly that the routine refusal of the mainstream to honor their obligation to report facts, without regard for who suffers or benefits, has significantly contributed to many of the most onerous abuses of power under the color of authority.
Once upon a time, it was a big deal -- a primary goal and objective or journalists -- to find the scoop. Get it right, and get it first, although not infrequently the priorities of those two would change.
Thomas Jefferson said, "In a republican nation whose citizens are to be led by reason and persuasion and not by force, the art of reasoning becomes of first importance." But how can one persuade using reason if the most significant facts are intentionally denied to the citizens?
The competitive, adversarial pursuit of facts has atrophied as personal, political and philosophic prejudices have been allowed to mitigate almost everything and anything written or reported.
The biggest story of 1998 -- was a buried lead. The Monica Lewinsky scandal which precipitated the impeachment of a U.S. president was partially overshadowed by the Matt Drudge exclusive (scoop) that Newsweek had spiked (delayed, killed, refused to publish) the enterprising work of Michael Isikoff. The "story" wasn't the facts concerning a sitting president's grossly inappropriate sexual misconduct with a young intern; the initial story was the refusal of a presumably venerable newsmagazine to print it.
I am proud to be associated with WorldNetDaily for a variety of reasons personal and professional. However, I also take hope and satisfaction that WorldNetDaily continues to do what we hope more media will do. By kicking over rocks, peeling the onion and opening doors (and files) that others eschew, WorldNetDaily in a relatively short period of time has developed a long (and growing) list of scoops: Know Your Customer, Executive Order 13083 on Federalism, the CNN "Tailwind" debacle, the betrayal of the Hmong tribesmen, National ID plans and assorted attacks on privacy, Digital Angel's subdermal biochip implant nightmare and the developing White House e-mail scandal.
Why is the mainstream AWOL on these stories? Why have they become co-conspirators with those who would abuse the power we the people have loaned them?
And the mainstream's lack is not just what they do and don't choose to share with their audience; the prejudice is seen in how they do say what they choose to tell you.
Regarding the current presidential campaign, John McIntyre recently observed, "There seems to be a consistent tendency for the national media to overstate Gore's real level of support." He is spot on the money. It isn't just what facts the mainstream chooses to report, but how they present, color and frame those statistics. "If Gore's up 5 in the polls, the press reports that the election is over and the Democrats have won. If the race is truly tied in the polls, the press acts as if Gore is up 5 points and Bush has big problems. When Bush is up 5 points, however, the press tells us that the race is a dead heat."
The examples of the mainstream prejudice are not anecdotal or sporadic; it is ubiquitous -- like pigeon droppings in Trafalgar Square. Former Congressman Hal Boggs' little girl, Cokie Roberts of ABC told her audience, "I mean, look at this. We have, today, yet another spate of polls showing this essentially a dead even race." Judy Woodruff of The Clinton News Network introduced a segment by saying, "With the Presidential race still deadlocked."
McIntyre observes, an average of all the major polls shows Bush is up 3-5 points.
Prejudiced media pundits pontificate about how Bush-Gore is the closest election since 1976 and 1960. Partisan prognosticators claim a different reality and suggest in many ways this election is developing to be very similar to Reagan in 1980. "All Reagan had to do in his debate with Jimmy Carter was convince the country he wasn't a warmonger. This year, Bush had to convince the country he is not an idiot. So far, he has succeeded."
Conversely, despite the best efforts of the mainstream, Al Gore's biggest liability seems to be Al Gore, and an annoying ability of the American people to see him as dissembling, duplicitous, and mean.
When I interviewed Gen. Krulak he made a good observation in the form of a question to would-be Gore voters. "Which Al Gore will you vote for?" We have seen the many faces of Al, and even the staunchest Gore wannabe voter has to be confused. Add to that the growing uneasiness that regardless of whatever Gore may say (contingent on the phase of the moon and the particular audience to which he is speaking), the chilling reality is, the end product could and very probably would be the author of "Earth In the Balance."
long ago and far away, wrote, "There is one safeguard known generally to
the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to
democracies as against despots. What is it? Distrust." The blessing of
a free press is skepticism. The practice of asking questions and
demanding answers has sadly become the exception rather than the perfumed,
powdered, and stage-managed rule.