I recently watched the film “The Post”, a fictionalization of the Pentagon Papers scandal which, strangely, focuses on Katharine Graham, owner and publisher of the Washington Post, while skimming over the real story of courage in journalism exhibited by Daniel Ellsberg.
In light of the modern mainstream media, and its obsession with unsubstantiated Russian conspiracies, it was quite an odd film to watch; if anything, it seemed more like a propaganda piece meant to promote the image of the Washington Post for having “the first female publisher of a major newspaper” (despite the Washington Post being a relatively small paper at the time), and glossed over what I think would be more important --
the story of Daniel Ellsberg, the man who, over the span of months, stole the RAND Corporation’s copies of the 47-volume Report on United States-Vietnam Relations from the Vietnam Task Force, 1945-1967, now colloquially known as the Pentagon Papers, made photocopies, and distributed them to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many other newspapers, amidst a hostile Nixon Administration doing all in its power to hunt him down for it.
After watching the film, I went back and read up on the history of the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate scandal, two events which occurred nearly back-to-back, to get a better idea of the events occurring, and the evidence held against Nixon for the decades of dishonesty stretching from President Truman to President Johnson, and carried on by Nixon himself, regarding US involvement in Vietnam.
The film accents Supreme Court Justice Black’s opinion statement toward the end, which stated, “the press was to serve the governed, not the governors,” but this was not the entirety of his statement. In fact, his statement reads:
“In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the Free Press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people.
Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.
And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.”
The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government -- not the secrets of individuals within government for the purpose of instilling political bias against them, but the secrets of government itself -- and, only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government -- not only free and unrestrained by the government, but also free and unrestrained by the influences of lobbying corporations and pools of wealth.
Paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part -- ANY PART -- of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die… and while I apologise for having such a lengthy introduction to the point I intended to make, this is where I see the modern mainstream media has failed most.
After all, the same media who daily condemns Trump and Russia, who provoke a president through characterizations of mental instability, who undermine the highest office in our government from using diplomacy, rather than military means, to resolve potential crises, do nothing to expose the true deceptions that have been undertaken in the last ten years in our government, do nothing to prevent our government from sending our people off to foreign lands to die -- much to the contrary, they serve the interests of a wealthy and small group of elites who want nothing more than a war with Russia, in addition to our wars in Afghanistan and Syria.
After all, wars make great television, and even greater profits.
And they do so with complete contempt for the American voter -- the American voter who is, by the very foundational principles of our democratic republic, who we are to trust to make rational and legitimate decisions.
And yet, the media paints Americans as stupid, ignorant, as vessels waiting to be manipulated by “Russian disinformation” and needing to be told how to vote -- and I too have even succumbed to making this judgement.
I was wrong for it, and so are outlets like the Washington Post, the New York Times, and CNN -- the latter of which has actively gone out to find individuals who may have been misled by events arranged by the Russian “troll factory” in order to shame them on public television and release their personal information so that others can openly attack them as well.
If Americans are vulnerable to disinformation and manipulation by outside forces, it’s not the fault of the American voter: it’s the fault of the media who has made themselves complicit in it by not only turning a blind eye to the deceptions perpetrated by our government, but even taking part in them, making themselves what the Soviet Union’s Pravda could never be.
These are, after all, the best journalists and writers in our country, writing for the most-read publications in the country -- and yet, they hold “ordinary” American people, their very audience, in the same contempt once held by the Russian intelligentsia for their own people, perceiving themselves as the only light in the darkness by which the sheep can be led.
Journalistic standards be damned; if they must do away with the presumption of innocence, if they must ignore contrary sources, if they must expose their prejudices, if they must destroy the practice of journalism itself, they will, because to them, we are all ignorant and easily manipulated -- and they want to be the ones doing the manipulation. And in the last ten years alone, they have gotten a lot of practice at manipulating us.
The Drone War. Benghazi and Libya. The Uranium One scandal. The Clinton e-mail scandal. The now countless pay-to-play scandals. Guantanamo Bay. The IRS Targetting scandal. The Iran Nuclear Deal. The Syrian Intervention. The Fairview Surveillance Scandal. The Illegal Immigrant Voting scandals. The Snowden Affair. The Veteran’s Administration Scandals. And now, the Russian Collusion Scandal.
They have distracted from and ignored the real deceptions of the United States government across the last decade, while promoting and stating as blanket truth the unverifiable memos produced by a foreign operative, Christopher Steele, who himself received his information through what is unquestionably collusion with Russian operatives.
The media has picked a side, and moreso, has completely abandoned their duty in serving the governed, in order to serve the governors -- not the elected governors, but rather those who govern through bottomless wells of money.
The supposed two-party system is only two-partied in name alone; just as the media is bought and paid for by these wealthy financiers, so are our senators and representatives -- while we are pushed to think that it is a constant fight between the Democrats and Republicans, those in power hold exactly the same interests and conceal those similarities behind arguments about gun control and abortion.
The back-and-forth of the modern McCarthyism keeps the illusion alive, but if there are two parties in the nation, it is the Patriotic party, and the neo-Corporatist party, and unfortunately it is the latter which holds the money, holds the most seats in Congress, and holds the reigns of the mainstream media whose duty is to keep the government in check -- not condemn the American people for fulfilling their constitutional duties.
At the time of the Pentagon Papers, we had one courageous man who, disgusted with the two-faced nature of the Secretary of Defense, found a means by which to expose the deceptions the government had perpetrated against the American people.
But amongst those who stand from their privileged positions of power to push this Russian Collusion narrative, there is not one courageous individual. No, all we have are cowards and conformists, joining in on the song to be sure they’re welcome at the money-covered table.
And for the dozens of situations which the media suffixes with -gate every year now, none rise to the level of sheer deception and corruption of Watergate -- while the true story of corruption within the Clinton Campaign and Democratic National Committee in colluding with Crowdstrike and FusionGPS to pass unsubstantiated and unverifiable lies as the truth, in order to spy on a Presidential candidate and President-elect, is completely ignored.
This is far greater than a third-rate burglary of the Democratic National Committee Headquarters -- but unfortunately, the media has chosen not to serve the governed, so they will ignore it until we are at war with Russia.