Obamacare has death panels. President Obama was born in Kenya. Taxing the top 2% will kill jobs. The Rich are the job creators. Obamacare throws grandma off the cliff. Obamacare increases the deficit. President Obama removed the work requirement from the food stamp program.
The current state of the press, the mainstream media, is described accurately if not sufficiently critical of in Dan Froomlin’s blog post at the Huffington Post titled “How the Mainstream Press Bungled the Single Biggest Story of the 2012 Campaign.”
Post-mortems of contemporary election coverage typically include regrets about horserace journalism, he-said-she-said stenography, and the lack of enlightening stories about the issues.
But according to longtime political observers Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, campaign coverage in 2012 was a particularly calamitous failure, almost entirely missing the single biggest story of the race: Namely, the radical right-wing, off-the-rails lurch of the Republican Party, both in terms of its agenda and its relationship to the truth.
Mann and Ornstein are two longtime centrist Washington fixtures who earlier this year dramatically rejected the strictures of false equivalency that bind so much of the capital’s media elite and publicly concluded that GOP leaders have become “ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”
The 2012 campaign further proved their point, they both said in recent interviews. It also exposed how fabulists and liars can exploit the elite media’s fear of being seen as taking sides.
The misinformation that the media have been complicit in making part of the political debate did not start with the 2012 election or with the election of President Obama. It has been ongoing at least since the 1980 elections. In the primaries between George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, the press was derelict by giving plausibility to Reagan’s supply-side economic policies which Bush coined as “voodoo economics.” The media was again derelict in not examining the inconsistency of the pairing of Reagan/Bush. This dereliction made Reagan/Bush plausible. Their win created the systematic decline of the middle class because the core of their policies was maintained.
Inasmuch as there is correlation between the decline of the middle class relative to the level of supply side policies in effect, the press has continued to give supply side credence even as it disregards economists like Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, and Richard Wolff, whose pronouncements match the realities of what actually occurred in the economy.
It is the purpose of the press to be the unbiased source of information for the citizenry to ensure that the government is transparent. While politicians controlled by corporate moneyed interests are responsible for the failure of government, it is the press that has allowed it to happen by keeping the citizenry misinformed and uninformed. This likely occurs either from an attempt to appear unbiased or simply for the sake of financial survival. After all, a free press dependent upon revenues from corporations – whose goal is to control government – cannot be a free press.
The paradigm shift of a less centralized media is the only solution to a negligent mainstream media. Luckily, with this election, that realization is starting to bear fruit. Inasmuch as corporations have spent an inordinate amount of money to influence the 2012 election, alternative message delivery played a strong role in preventing fallacies from both the mainstream media and corporate advertising to take significant effect. America dodged a bullet by having an open Internet where alternate messaging could be disseminated. Going forward it is imperative that one fight to keep this medium open. Its success may be its biggest danger.