In recent days, the mainstream American news media has inserted its proverbial foot deep into its mouth on two spectacular occasions, first re-broadcasting a bogus Buzzfeed story alleging that the president suborned perjury, then broadcasting a bogus allegation that a Native American man was assailed by “racist” Catholic high school students clothed in “MAGA” hats, “white privilege” (which doesn’t exist), and “toxic masculinity” (which also doesn’t exist, regardless of what the APA — the American Psychobabble Association — says).
And while most thinking Americans have long been aware that the mainstream national media leans politically left, many have been taken aback by such blatant and egregious displays of disregard for truth. So, concerned viewers, listeners, and readers have been asking me — a psychologist who has spent many years in the company of journalists — how the credibility of the once-noble journalism profession has gravitated to the point where it’s on par with that of used-car sales (no offense to used-car salesmen).
Here’s how: Previous generations of American journalists understood that it was fundamentally their job to tell people what others, particularly the powerful, were doing, and that the broadcast of that information, particularly when alerting the citizenry to corruption, had the potential to mobilize the citizenry to action, thereby operating as a check on power. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn went so far as to say, “For a country to have a great writer is to have another government” (a.k.a. a “Fourth Estate”).
Thus, those past generations of journalists strove to expose facts of public value to public view, fully and unadulterated, so that citizens could mobilize as they — the citizens — deemed necessary. In contrast, many of today’s “journalists” strive to expose “facts,” whether of public value or not, to public view, selectively and often adulterated, so that the citizens will mobilize as those journalists deem necessary. Hence, past generations of journalists would have classified much of what now passes for reportage as editorial.
If you had visited a university campus in 1950 and asked journalism students why they were studying journalism, you would’ve gotten answers like, “I want to give people accurate information so they can make informed decisions.” But if you visit a campus and ask that same question today, you’ll get answers like, “I want to change the world!” And if you then ask what it means to “change the world,” you’ll get answers like, “I want to make people understand that we must [insert leftist political objective here]!”
That difference in aspiring journalists’ motivations then and now, reinforced by left-leaning professors, has replaced a passion for precision with a passion for propaganda. Hence, for example, they’ll report the “fact” that “if you own a gun, you’re more likely to be killed than to kill an assailant with it,” shamelessly leaving out that that statistic is accurate only if you include suicides and cases in which one domestic partner murders the other (cases like the ones which I chronicle on my TV show).
And they’ll quote a source from the AMA — the “American Medical Activists” — who’ll proclaim that we healthcare professionals must question our patients about whether they have guns in their homes, shamelessly neglecting to ask the source if we must similarly question our patients about whether they have swimming pools, when, statistically speaking, in terms of saving lives, our time would be better spent questioning and counseling patients about water safety than about gun safety.
Similarly, they’ll report the “fact” that “immigrants are less likely than American citizens to commit crimes,” shamelessly leaving out that 1) they’re lumping legal immigrants, who respect American law, together with il-legal immigrants, whose first act in America was to dis-respect our law, 2) we really don’t know how many illegal immigrants are even in America, let alone how many crimes they’re committing, and 3) the number of illegal immigrants in our prisons is disproportionately high by even the most liberal estimates.
Sadly, if/as this conflation of reportage with editorial continues to pervade journalism, the credibility of the profession will continue to diminish, as will its efficacy as a check on power, leaving Americans either dismissive of all reportage, even when it’s accurate, or turning increasingly to highly-undisciplined sources like Buzzfeed. Thus, America desperately needs journalists who’ll disengage (at least on the job) from the pursuit of leftist political objectives and reengage in the noble pursuit of truth.
Brian Russell wanted to learn how people could live together as peacefully and prosperously as possible, so he studied what makes us tick (and got a Ph.D. in clinical psychology), how public policy keeps us in line (and got a law degree), and what motivates us to do our best (and got an M.B.A.). Then, he put theory to the test, practicing both psychology and law, starting his own small businesses, consulting with business leaders and lawmakers, and traveling the world comparing what does and doesn’t work in 40 societies. Now, he shares his expertise in people, public policy, and productivity on national television and radio, in his book, "Stop Moaning, Start Owning: How Entitlement Is Ruining America and How Personal Responsibility Can Fix It," and here on Newsmax. Learn more at DrBrianRussell.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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