Apparently this took place a week ago Saturday. It’s a speech Caddell, the former Jimmy Carter pollster-turned-Fox News contributor, gave at a symposium put on by Accuracy In Media, and it’s a must-see.
AIM put it up on their website Friday, and it’s going viral this weekend.
Caddell isn’t just disgusted with media bias. Caddell isn’t even a Republican, so he doesn’t really care so much that the media is overwhelmingly Left.
What he says is that this business of the mainstream media going overboard with their favoritism of one side of the political spectrum, to such an extent that it won’t even investigate the Obama administration’s lies about foreign policy in Libya and Egypt, has made that mainstream media a threat to American freedom. Because, he says, our system was designed to give the press a free hand to hold the government and the powerful accountable.
But when the press refuses to do that, when the press fails to do its job in cases when those it is charged with investigating are corrupt or incompetent, it’s a matter of time before people start asking why the media is allowed a free hand – and why they aren’t regulated the same as everybody else is.
The public knows the media isn’t doing its job. What’s more, the public has grown to hate the media even more than it hates politicians. So, as Caddell predicts, it might be inevitable that someone who’s a cross between George Wallace and Huey Long will come along and be the first to savage these people as they should be savaged for their current performance – but instead of shaming them into doing their job, Caddell’s demagogue is more likely to just call for using the power of the government to bring them to heel. And be successful in doing so – because like Caddell says, when the media isn’t doing its job it makes the First Amendment less valuable.
Is he right? To an extent, yes. When an Ezra Klein can get caught running Journolist – a naked program intended to rig media coverage in favor of a political party – and he’s still at the Washington Post, it’s clear that the corruption has reduced the entities covered in it incapable of fulfilling their proper roles.
The answer, of course, is to put these people out of business. The market can solve this problem if the American people are willing to participate.
Or even if they don’t actually get run out of business, so long as the alphabet-soup networks and the legacy newspapers lose enough market share to no longer dominate public opinion – which is, thankfully, happening – the market can fix this problem.
Unfortunately, the market may not be moving fast enough to keep us from sustaining significant long-term damage. Because even if Romney beats Obama – if he does he’ll certainly govern better than Obama is governing; no president in American history is as corrupt, mendacious, incompetent and deficient in its respect for the nation’s people and traditions as this one, so the bar is awfully low – a media which fails to hold Obama to account will have no credibility if it opts to hold Romney to account.
This, of course, is another example of a wide problem in America; namely, the fundamental corruption of our cultural institutions from academia to the news media to entertainment. In every case, those institutions are actively working to hollow out individual freedom and community values. I’m not even talking about all those icky sex issues here, though things like abortion and gay marriage are certainly factors. I’m talking about a lack of commitment to the truth. A loss of universal definitions of class and character we used to all share. A loss of standards. An acceptance of less than excellence. A celebration of celebrity for its own sake rather than the insistence that fame and fortune be preceded by quality. All of these things are being lost.
We’ve got to regain them. We’re losing our country. Caddell is right to note just one element of our decline, but the problem is even bigger than what he’s justifiably sounding the alarm bells against.