The End of American Politics

When the media simply repeats leftist lies, what can the right do?

For several years now, our elites have been complaining about the death of civility in our national political discourse.  In the past half-decade, we've seen movies made and articles written fantasizing about our President being assassinated; conspiracy theories concocted accusing sitting Presidents of monstrous crimes and total fraud; and, most recently, we saw a congressman stand up in the middle of a major Presidential speech and shout, "You lie!"  Collegial and amicable the atmosphere is not.

Perhaps there was once a time where both parties took tea together and hashed out solutions to our national problems in a spirit of patriotism and amity, but that certainly hasn't been the case for most of our history.

During the 1800 election campaign, Thomas Jefferson condemned John Adams as having a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman" which a few minutes' research will disclose was an insult as bloodcurdling as it was erudite.

In 1856, one Senator beat another Senator with his cane on the floor of the Senate, injuring him so badly that he didn't recover for three years.  That ongoing debate eventually resulted in the Civil War.

You might regard that issue as exceptional, but contending Senators came to blows and drew blood in 1902.  One could argue that bipartisanship is an ideal that has never been seen in real life.

Respect for the Presidency?  Both during his campaign and after his election, Grover Cleveland's opponents derided him for having an illegitimate child committed to an orphanage with the ditty, "Ma Ma, Where's my Pa?  Gone to the White House, ha ha ha!"  Franklin Roosevelt was accused of seeking dictatorial powers - not unreasonably, since many of his supporters wanted him to do just that and historical papers reveal that he considered it.

Through all these times of wholehearted conflict and heated debate, however, America has had an anchor: the Truth.  People felt strongly about various issues and disputed them vigorously.  There were lies, of course, as politicians have always lied and always will as they see fit to advance their interests.

Lies used to have to be handled carefully, however.  Tell too many lies, and an individual politician or even his cause might gain a reputation as untruthful.  Then people would stop listening, and power and influence would vanish away.

That's how we developed the modern art of "spin" - telling the truth, more or less, but shaded in such a way as to make people sympathetic to you.  Spin may involve dishonesty, but when properly done it doesn't deal in bold-faced lies.

Whither the Referee?

Who enforced the rule of Truth?  Our Founders knew that our nation could select wise leaders only insofar as the people were informed of what was really going on.  They established freedom of the press, with the idea that if anyone could say whatever they pleased, surely someone would detect the lies and say so, thus getting the truth out one way or another.

For most of our history, this worked well.  During the 1800s, few if any papers would be considered "honest" by modern standards of journalism, but all were honest in a way that the modern media is not: each paper proudly proclaimed its bias.

Most were associated with a specific political party; all major cities and most minor ones had at least two newspapers, the Democratic paper and the Republican paper.  Some of this history survives to this day in the names of newspaper titles - the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Tallahassee Democrat, and so on.

Obviously, the Democratic newspaper printed glorification of Democrats and vilification of Republicans.  Equally obviously, the Republican newspaper did the opposite.  Anybody who wished to be well informed had only to subscribe to both papers and follow the arguments back and forth - and both papers were on every newsstand and in every barbershop and library.

Not so today.  For three generations, our mainstream media has created an aura of impartiality while, in actual fact, being heavily biased towards the furthest-left viable candidate or policy.  In recent years, this has become transparently obvious; in the 2008 election, the open partisanship of the media establishment stood nakedly revealed.

Since Mr. Obama assumed the presidency, the bias has gotten even worse.  Mr. Obama was perhaps the first Democrat politician who realized that he no longer even needed to spin: he could simply lie, which is a lot more convenient, and nobody in the media would call him on it.

He said he'd never heard the odious Rev. Wright say anything offensive - and the fact that he'd attended the church for twenty years, been married there, and had his kids baptized there vanished down the memory hole.

He said that terrorist Bill Ayers was just some guy that lived down the street - and the fact that Ayers had arranged Mr. Obama's political "coming-out," served on multi-million-dollar organization boards with him, and, new evidence shows, ghost-written his bestselling book, counted for nothing.

He appoints crooks and criminals to high positions by the paddy-wagon-load, and when their crimes later come to light, they simply disappear into the breeze.  No matter how many corrupt friends Obama has, it doesn't matter because the news never reports it.

Mainstream media still reports Rep. Joe Wilson's famous "You lie!" to itself be a lie.  It wasn't - in fact, Mr. Obama's speech was riddled with transparent untruths.  Mr. Obama lied with a straight face; Rep. Wilson called him on it; and the media reports Wilson as the liar.

We still have free speech today, and the truth can still get out; the very fact that you are reading this article proves it.  But, alas, Scragged has not the audience nor the reach of ABC, CBS, or even NBC.

Conservative views are aired on talk radio, are present on the Internet, and get a fair hearing on Fox News; otherwise, all other sources of news and opinion are universally liberal, universally shilling for Mr. Obama, and now, universally lying to cover for him too.

By way of example, the recent resignation of Van Jones was mentioned in the New York Times, but they didn't bother to say that he resigned because he was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party; similarly, the Times reported Congress' vote to strip left-wing pressure group ACORN of federal funds, but didn't consider it worth mentioning that they did that because multiple ACORN offices nationwide were videotaped advising criminals how to commit tax fraud and get away with child sexual slavery.

Most Americans are not political junkies.  Most Americans want to be left alone and to surface every two or four years just enough to make a quick decision as to whom to pull the lever for.

Naturally, most Americans absorb only the news that is commonly available - on TV, in the major newspapers, being talked about in their office.  Political junkies nowadays know where to go on the Internet to find the whole story, but most people don't.

Impossible Politics

For a democracy to work, public debates are essential.  That means people need to argue their views and voters need to hear the arguments and make a decision.

If it no longer matters what the politicians say - if they can say anything, and then do anything else without ever being called on their lie, as Mr. Obama is doing with Afghanistan - then politics is no longer possible.

If politicians can negotiate an agreement between different parties and then abandon the terms of the deal, as Mr. Obama is doing with the drug companies, who will be willing to negotiate?  Normally, such perfidy would be reported in the news and the liar's political capital would erode.  If nobody knows about it, however, did it ever happen?

On the floor of the House, Rep. Alan Grayson (D, FL) said that the Republican health care plan consisted of getting people to die quickly.  This is not only a slanderous lie, it's the exact opposite of the truth: Obamacare will by its very nature lead to rationing, and to government "encouragement" of people to die quickly, exactly as has happened in other socialized health care systems.

Do journalists condemn Grayson?  No, of course not; they pass on his lies without challenge.

Republicans are reported nightly to have no health care plan.  In fact, during Mr. Obama's very speech multiple Republican congressmen waved printed copies of not one but several Republican health-care proposals; being deemed unworthy of media notice, they may as well not exist.  Grayson's lie becomes received "truth."

How is it possible to have politics if one side can lie, cheat, and steal with impunity?  It simply isn't, as Thomas Jefferson knew full well:

Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.

The American people are not being well informed.  They aren't being informed at all anymore.  Is it any wonder that they elected a corrupt Chicago machine politician whose friends are the enemies of everything American stands for?

That's not what they voted for, because that's not how Barack Obama was portrayed by the media; but it's what he was, and anybody who was well-informed should have instantly seen it.  Except few were.

If your message is being silenced, the first reaction is to scream louder, as conservatives are doing.  It's working a bit, as most Americans are not so blinded that they can't see at least a few of the lies - e.g., the recession is far from over and the stimulus didn't stimulate anything no matter what Mr. Obama says.  Most of the time, alas, swimming upstream against the overpowering leftist current is both exhausting and not very productive.

Last Resorts?

Eventually there comes a point where the perennially abused side concludes that the deck is too heavily stacked against them: not only can they not win, they are not being allowed even to make their argument.  In such a case of hopelessness, history shows, people turn to the last resort - armed revolution.

We've never had a Communist revolution in this country because Communists have always been free to make their arguments - which the more clearly they are made, the more firmly America rejects them.  Today's Communists have learned their lesson: lie about your goals, and let the media cover for you.  Armed revolution not required!

Today's ruling Democrats are clearly not satisfied with mere victory over their opponents.  They don't want conservatism defeated fairly at the polls; they want it banned from public discourse and institutional memory altogether.  We've talked before about the Fairness Doctrine and leftist plans to get rid of conservative talk radio; we've seen how radio ratings are rigged to minimize the ad revenues of conservative shows.

The reporting of the recent massive Tea Party March on Washington demonstrated how heavily the scale is tipped: the New York Times all but ignored it, giving it the same amount of coverage it gives to leftist demonstrations a tenth of the size.  How long will conservatives put up with this?

What will happen when they decide the old Constitutional way is no longer being permitted to work?  The great German strategist Clausewitz said, "War is a continuation of politics by other means."

By closing off the normal avenues of politics, Barack Obama's Democrats and their allies in the media are playing with forces they don't comprehend.  We may all pay a heavy, heavy price.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Politics.
Reader Comments
Brilliant, I couldn't agree more. Saying "You lie!" or even challenging a Senator to a duel on the White House lawn isn't necessarily less civilized than the odius spin going on now. The intent is what matters.
October 15, 2009 9:12 AM
Suggesting the press is Liberal is to imply a deeper association: "conspiracy" is too much an emotional trigger...elaborate?
When listening to Conservation talk show hosts one is disturbed by their vitriolic vehemence and high-pitched outcries: where were they when foreign nationals were being imprisoned and tortured at the past Administrations insistence?
One is more reassured listening to a calming, sincere vocal quality.. it is mesmerising, hypnotic and soothing.. and certainly civil.
The Congressman from South Carolina would have better advanced his cause not by being like a unruly child- which reputation he now enjoys- but either by totally disrupting Mr Obama's lecture or by walking out: such a momentary outburst as occurred served no strategic advantage.
oh.. save the "Obamination" and "Nobama" for the masses.. us intellectuals prefer the formal address...

October 15, 2009 2:30 PM
Add Your Comment...
4000 characters remaining
Loading question...