Saturday, May 11, 2013

Media Malpractice?

The security of Constitutionally guaranteed individual liberty and personal freedom has always rested on the actions of a well educated and well informed public.  To that end, the establishment of the Bill of Rights.  Chief of which is the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech and freedom of the press.  A free press, protected from interference or influence by wealthy, powerful and politically connected interests, is of crucial importance when it comes to the creation and maintenance of a well educated and well informed public.  Lately, we have been witness to increasingly blatant evidence of politically biased coverages and "slants" to news stories, as well as what seem to have been political calculations as to what stories were deemed "newsworthy".  There used to be a name for such practices:  Yellow Journalism.

There is no doubt of a liberal bent to most mainstream media news outlets.  Surveys have shown a tilt as great as 70-80% when it comes to personally held political views, as well as a similar percentage contributing to liberal, Democratic/Progressive causes, politicians, and political parties.  It was accepted that the editorial pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Los Angeles Times, etc., etc. were liberal in tone, just as the editorials in their counterparts, The New York Post, Washington Times, The Weekly Standard, etc., were seen as conservative.  The First Amendment specifically protects such opinion, as it should.  The problem arises when the line between news and opinion becomes blurred.  When personal political opinion and ideological agendas are presented as news fact, and certain other, perhaps contradictory, information  is not given full disclosure, or is omitted altogether in furtherance of such agendas we lose something of incalculable value. 

The "papers of record" get replaced by a Pravda-style State controlled or influenced propaganda outlets whose purpose is to mold public opinion in favor of a certain political point of view, rather than a source of impartial information through which people can form their own conclusions, and use those conclusions to inform their own political choices.

Benghazi is back in the news.  Belatedly, insofar as the mainstream media is concerned.  It isn't looking good for either the administration, or the media that has seemingly been complacent in the administration's attempt to keep certain information from coming to light.

Thanks to some truly courageous whistle blowers, earlier "conspiracy theories" concerning the Obama administration's manipulation of the information coming out of Benghazi, Libya after the attacks on our diplomatic outpost there and the murder of Ambassador Stevens, a member of his staff and two brave former SEALs who attempted to come to their aid, have been borne out as not as outlandish as the administration's representatives would have had us believe. 

Information in the form of direct Congressional testimony by high ranking career State Department officials involved has contradicted the Obama administration's claims.  Almost point for point.  From information revealing that it was known almost immediately that the attack was a well planned assault staged by the Al Aqsa Brigade, a well known Al Qaida group operating in the region (NOT a spontaneous response to some third rate YouTube video), along with the revelation that the CIA talking points given to the administration included references to that fact, as well as information that they had advance warning concerning possible attacks on our facility and concerns about security well before the attacks occurred; to confirmation of claims by others that military assistance had been called for, repeatedly and desperately, and had been denied by someone high up in the administration.  It has since been confirmed by ABC News that the administration had re-edited the talking points as many as 12 times before UN Ambassador Susan Rice was sent out on 5 of the Sunday talk shows with her since-debunked claims of the video being the root cause of the attacks, scrubbing any and all references to Al Qaida and terrorism.  One internal email from the State Department made reference to the need to avoid the possibility that revealing potential terrorist involvement would be used by the political enemies of the administration.

None of this is news to people who have been paying attention to something other than the network news outlets.  People have been demanding answers for Benghazi since the attacks, refusing to accept the inconsistencies of the government's declarations and questioning the missing information.  Unanswered questions, such as: "Who pushed the video?" as the officially named cause of the attack, in the face of any evidence supporting such an assertion, and continued to stand by the official line long after the claim had been discredited?  "Who was ultimately responsible for ordering military responders to 'Stand Down' when they requested authority to mount a rescue attempt?"  This one is still largely unanswered, with contradictory statements being offered at different times.  One thing is clear, when it comes to authorizing military action into another sovereign country there is only one individual who has the responsibility and authority:  the Commander-in-Chief.  Which brings up the biggest and most serious unanswered question: "Where was Obama during the 7 hours the attack was ongoing?"  This is the biggie, but don't expect anyone from the mainstream media, or even Fox News for that matter, to press the president or his administration for the answer to this one.  Don't look for the announcement of any press conference.  Not only has this President shown a marked aversion to unscripted question and answer sessions, but given the prominence of the Benghazi testimony in the current news cycle, he will be certain to face potentially awkward questions, at least one of which will concern his activity and location during the assault.  The White House published photos of our "courageous" President surrounded by his advisers in the Situation Room during the operation to take out Osama bin Laden, where are the photos of similar meetings and monitoring of the situation during Benghazi?

Our primary sources of news and information, our free press, our "unbiased" news media, has shown itself to be, instead of a servant of the people and of the people's "right to know", largely a propaganda machine promoting certain political causes and protecting the image of certain politicians.  However, some of these outlets--those for whom it's not too late--may be forced by circumstances to finally begin to fulfill their obligation to inform the American people and to provide them with the unbiased "who? what? when? where? how?" information they are supposed to.  Any who fail to do so, who continue to suppress information in service to any party's political agenda or President, is guilty of media malpractice

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