Don't Be Stupefied by the Mantra
My Dad was one to say, "Don't believe everything you hear and only half of what you see." It was good advice then, good advice now, for today our airwaves are being assaulted by the drone of Orwellian Newspeak.
A friend posted this link to a Deadspin Article today. TV mogul, Sinclair, required it's 144 local stations to broadcast a statement, affirming their commitment to truthful news. At first look, the statement appears to be pretty innocuous.
Hi, I’m(A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…
(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our Northwest communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that KOMO News produces.
(A) But we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.
(B) More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories… stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.
(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.
(B) At KOMO it’s our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left nor right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.
(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair please reach out to us by going to KOMOnews.com and clicking on CONTENT CONCERNS. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.
(B) We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual… We consider it our honor, our privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day.
(A) Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback.
How is that statement dangerous if it is sincere? After all, Fox News made its name with the slogan "fair and balanced" and it worked for them until the time their viewers saw that it was a joke and the joke was on the American public.
On its own the statement seems reasonable, but when voiced by Sinclair's dozens of news anchors, it becomes a mind-numbing mantra. It sounds more like the mass confession of hostages than the voices of journalists.
In another era this would not be possible. Freedom of speech and of the press are vital to our democracy. The U.K. Times says:
Orwell is everywhere: in the flood of deliberate misinformation and propaganda from the Russian government designed to undermine democracy; in the sustained assault on media impartiality from the Trump White House;
George Orwell, the author of 1984, was ahead of his time, just not far enough ahead. It is hard to pin down when U.S. democracy began to give way to the pressure of ideology. Big Brother was only the bogeyman in the closet until the Trump administration came into power. They have pushed him out and he walks among us. We can not allow ideology to crush us. We must say "no" to Orwellian propaganda wherever it rears its ugly head. We must say "no" to Trumpism.