By Bradley Harrington
“Not every item of news should be published. Rather must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose.” — Joseph Goebbels, “Diary,” 1943 —
As the United States collapses further and further into the social, political and economic chaos of collectivism that has been created by the destruction of its philosophical foundations, the first casualty in the waves of this decades-long process has been: The truth. And nowhere has this disintegration been more obvious, and horrifying, than in the field of journalism.
It should be obvious why despots and wanna-be dictators have no use for the accuracy of factual information, but — in the context of today’s intellectual chaos — perhaps we’d better spell it out.
Power-seekers hate the truth because it conflicts with and exposes their scramble to acquire more and more control over others; it inconveniently and constantly unmasks both their methodology as well as their ultimate goals. Censorship, therefore, both personal and institutional, is one of the first acts of aggression gangster governments seek to impose on their helpless (or soon-to-be helpless) victims.
On Jan. 11 -13, 1991, for instance, in the midst of the Eastern European collapse of communism, Soviet troops assaulted the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, and took over several city locations in an attempt to crush their anti-communist revolution. The targets? Not armories, nor troop concentrations — but the central publishing house, the Press Palace, and the Vilnius TV tower, in an attempt to suppress the nationalist media. The Soviets considered the unfettered transmission of information to be deadlier to their tyrannical ends than stockpiles of guns and bombs.
Now, then, with such thoughts in the backs of our minds, let us consider some of the fundamental tenets of objective journalism:
■ That a news story must consist solely of the presentation of factual and independently-verifiable information — that is, the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of an event;
■ That it must present this information, in a neutral fashion, as it relates to all sides involved in the story;
■ And that, when and where subjective assertions are made by the individuals or institutions involved, such quotes be accurate, not taken out-of-context, and properly attributed.
Opinions, as such, above and beyond the proper quoting and attribution of the opinions of the story’s participants, have absolutely no place in a news story; such utterances must be left to a clearly-labeled op-ed page where they are expressed as such.
Now then, with these thoughts also simmering away in the backs of our minds, let us examine the following Associated Press story (“Pro-Trump mob storms US Capitol in bid to overturn election,” Jan. 7, which ran on the front page of the local Wyoming Tribune Eagle on the same day, under the headline of “Chaos at the Capitol”:
“A violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and forced lawmakers into hiding, in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House.”
The big problem with this news lead is that it makes a subjective and unfounded assertion regarding the motivations of the rioters, yet you will search this entire story — all 1,303 words of it — for a quote from any of the riot’s participants. And this is a story that was written by not one but four “reporters,” with “contributions” made by another seven “reporters” on top of that.
Eleven reporters on this story … Yet not a one of them sought to back up this lead’s claim with an actual quote, from a rioter, that might possibly have verified the integrity of the lead’s assertion.
And yes, I get that that the rioters didn’t exactly make themselves available to these “reporters” to discuss their motivations (although many of them did hang around after the event, and other slightly-more-enterprising reporters were able to acquire such information) — but that’s not the point. The point is, that objective journalism does NOT consist of unfounded and unattributed assertions being pawned off to the reader as news!
Or, consider the following: “The rioters were egged on by Trump, who has spent weeks falsely attacking the integrity of the election and had urged his supporters to descend on Washington to protest Congress’ formal approval of Biden’s victory.” (Embedded link as part of the AP story, which the WTE ran under the headline of “Fact check: A look at some Trump claims from Wednesday” on page seven of the same issue.)
And what, one may reasonably ask, were the Capitol rioters “egged on” by Trump to do? To riot, obviously; what other conclusion is permitted by that statement to draw?
Yet one can listen to Trump’s entire speech, the entire 75 minutes of it, and search for such a statement in vain.
Here, however, is what Trump actually did say, at 18:12 in this video:
“I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard today.”
And, that, Dear Reader, is not “inciting a riot.” The word “peacefully” makes that so absolutely clear that you’d think that even a gaggle of AP “reporters” could figure it out, but you’d better not hold your breath while you wait for that to happen.
No, this particular gaggle of “reporters,” instead, merely continues the swill of demonstrably false “facts”:
“Protestors had fought past police and breached the building, shouting and waving Trump and American flags as they marched through the halls …”
In actuality, however, as this video showing the Capitol police opening the barricades for the protestors and then stepping out of their way makes perfectly clear, the protestors were initially allowed onto the grounds, with any resistance offered up by law enforcement only coming afterwards — and that, Dear Readers, is not the same thing either.
Nor does the AP’s “fact-check” on Trump’s “false” attacks on the “integrity of the election,” linked in their original story above, do much better at passing muster as neutral information. Regarding Trump’s speech to his supporters prior to the riot, that story states:
“Drawing on baseless conspiracies, Trump unleashed a torrent of misinformation to supporters already convinced that his defeat was unfair, unswayed by the sweeping verdict of election officials, judges and justices and Trump’s own officials in the departments of Justice and Homeland Security that the Nov. 3 election was cleanly run and fairly counted.”
There are so many things wrong with this sentence, as an “example” of supposedly “objective news reporting,” that it is difficult to know where to begin — so let’s just start at the beginning: “Drawing on baseless conspiracies …”
And how does this gaggle of AP “reporters” know that these “conspiracies” are “baseless”? Note that no actual proof of that is offered anywhere in the story — just the tacit, unfounded assertion that the “sweeping verdict” of “election officials, judges and justices,” along with “Trump’s own officials in the departments of Justice and Homeland Security,” who all deny any wrongdoing, somehow constitutes proof that “the Nov. 3 election was cleanly run and fairly counted.”
Yet 20 or 200 or 2,000 men can all be just as wrong as one man can, and often are, and how many of these “election officials, judges and justices” have actually even examined the evidence? Certainly not the Supreme Court, which rejected the Texas lawsuit against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin on the basis of “no standing” … Without even bothering to determine whether such evidence actually existed or not.
So, how does our gaggle of AP “reporters” even know that such evidence deserves qualification as a “torrent of misinformation”? Answer: They don’t, which means: They’re just parroting the same line of unverified “knowledge” that “everybody else knows,” which means: More propaganda being offered up as “objectively verifiable news” … Except that nowhere in that trail of echoes throughout today’s “journalist” chamber, or very little of it at any rate, will you find any “journalists” actually studying and asking about what the facts actually are.
Let me make my point here very clear: It is not a question of whether the facts support election fraud or not; rather, the question is: Should unfounded and unproven assertions on the part of news “reporters,” just because they think something is so, qualify as a “news story”?
And this, Dear Reader, is what passes for “objective journalism” in our nation today. Far from being people who report the news, the bulk of today’s “journalists” function as purveyors of unsubstantiated left-winger opinion masquerading as news, all tailor-written to achieve their agenda-driven goals of power, conquest and control.
Once the proud agents of “Just the facts, Ma’am,” the goal of “journalism” and “journalists” today has now become, not to inform and enlighten, but to mislead and misdirect … To wipe out both truth and certainty. It’s as if the proud citizens of Lithuania, desperately fighting for their freedom to be free, had awoken one morning to find that their Vilnius TV Tower and Press Palace were no longer covering the events of their anti-communist revolution, but had chosen to regurgitate the agitprop of Pravda instead.
And in that regard, Mr. Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda quoted at the top of this rant, would most definitely have been proud to have any of these AP fool “reporters,” as well as the editorial staff of the WTE that ran this pap, as his students.
Today’s Destruction of Journalism, Part II: The Takeover of Subjective State-Supported “Opinion”
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne and blogs at https://reignitinglibertystorch.com. Email: email@example.com.
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Objective analysis … delighted to see that you’re back, gs
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Glad to BE back … And, as usual, you can expect me to come out with guns blazing. Stay tuned for Parts II and III … Although I should be careful how I use that “guns blazing” phrase, some knuckleheaded left-winger might consider that to be “threat of domestic terrorism” … LOL … I see you have a blog of your own! I will check it out and see what you have to offer my friend! — Best Wishes, BTH
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Thanks, Brad, for writing again! Emailed Skip a couple weeks ago, telling him I missed your writing and wondered what happened to you. At this point in my life, I really need to see Liberty’s Torch reignited! Excellent, thought provoking piece. After Trump trying to make America great again, Biden will ruin everything.
On another note, have you seen the veteran cemetary Cheyenne finally got? It has to be the worst cemetary I have ever seen. My husband told me if he dies first, he’d rather have his ashes flushed down the toilet than interred at the National Cemetary west of town.
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I took a break … But vacation’s over … THANK YOU for the kind words, and I share your husband’s sentiments. I told Barbie years ago to just scatter me around her roses, that way I could actually contribute some to life and growth! — BTH
Excellent work! I enjoy your writing, too bad the local newspaper can’t print something original and objective…..but that’s why no one is subscribing any more. I can’t wait to read Parts II and III. Kristi
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I should have Part II ready in the next couple of days, and Part III by the weekend. If you thought Part I was good, stay tuned … The best is yet to come!!! Thanks again! — BTH
Excellent piece — as usual! Can’t wait for the next two parts.
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Thanks, Jeff … Great to hear from you in return! I am finishing up Part II as we speak. Like Germany in the early 1930s, we are now in uncharted territory, and the death of our Republic is now behind us … Killed by the same beast in both circumstances, as you know as well as I do … What remains to be seen, at this juncture, is simply whether we will ultimately experience a Second Renaissance — or complete our collapse into our potentially new status as the latest of human history’s ash heaps.
One way or the other, my friend, it will be OUR generation which makes that choice, right here, right now, and the flash point is nearly upon us which will determine whether we live as free men and women … Or as slaves … — BTH