By Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
During the past few days, I have heard some of the most unpalatable utterances from renowned, national news outlets.
Following a week where a foolish and hateful idiot sent more than 10 bombs to various Democrat leaders; where a demonic lunatic in Pittsburgh mowed down some of the most peaceful, loving people in our society; and where a man with a gun prevented another massacre from being perpetrated by an armed gunman, some in the press are making the case that these acts, unlinkable as they may be, are primarily due to the political utterances of the President of the United States.
To these people facts have no bearing in the formulation of their opinion. To them, if the perpetrator of the injustice worships the President, his actions are the fault of the President of the United States. If, on the other hand, the perpetrator hates the President of the United States, his actions are still the President’s fault. And if there is no identifiable political slant to the perpetrator, the defender, or the victims — the President is still to blame.
Make no mistake, the President of the United States can no more be blamed for the illegal and violent acts of a crazed lunatic than can my dog’s mere existence.
The President has fired back by once again calling the fake press the enemy of the people. I, for one, think the President has a point, as does a substantial portion of the electorate.
Let’s start by acknowledging that calling out the press’s hypocritical and reckless conduct is just as valid a political observation, when true, as any other; and perhaps even more necessary. (The press does not call out their own.)
In a panel discussion on CNN, Julia Ioffe of GQ Magazine actually said, “This President has radicalized so many more people than ISIS ever did.” ISIS: the evil, vial, and murderous organization that almost radicalized a continent. ISIS: the organization that owes its success at radicalizing hundreds of thousands of individuals to the passive and permissive posture of President Barack Obama. ISIS: the organization whose radicalization consisted of justifying the decapitation of thousands and the capture and rape of countless women. And ISIS: the organization whose existence was essentially terminated by the actions of President Trump.
That such patently and absurdly unjustifiable comments are allowed to fly without admonition from CNN nor sanction from GQ is utterly atrocious, yet the comments flow through the airwaves and the internet, decorated with stamps of authenticity from CNN, GQ and most of the rest of the media.
During the same weekend, Joe Scarborough said that for the President to have tweeted comments about baseball and his hair “was done intentionally to send a message to white nationalists; ‘this doesn’t bug me that much.'” Again the comment represented a despicable, open, and wholly unsubstantiated attack, not just on the President’s actions, but also on his intent. What scintilla of evidence does Scarborough have that the President was sending a signal to anyone, much less white nationalists? Of course, he has none. The allegation was completely fabricated by one whose animus against the President of the United States is so intense he can’t see straight. And predictably, there was no correction from MSNBC — because this irresponsbility is now simply an accepted part of the mainstream media.
And on Sunday, on MSNBC, Malcolm Nance said about the President, “He uses megaphones to tell these tribes that they belong to him, and this is leading to violence,” a purely hysterical, hateful, and wholly unsubstantiated comment that was once again allowed to persist by a network without retort or correction.
Then there’s John Heilemann, who charged during an appearance on MSNBC, “The President is obviously a racist. He’s obviously a demagogue. He obviously condones anti-Semitism. Stokes up nationalist hatred.” Yet no president has shown greater support for Israel nor has done more to support Jewish rights and the Jewish Community than President Donald J. Trump — his own daughter and son-in-law are Jewish.
When outlandish charges such as these are recurrently allowed entry into the national forum under the guise of serious political discussion by news outlets that neither provide substantiation, reprimand, or correction, the presence of an underlying biased, political agenda is revealed. And when such a bias commands a greater priority than truth in reporting, the reporters or networks stop serving the needs of the people and start working against the people.
Clearly, the press as an institution has an immeasurably important role to play in a democracy, and in particular, in the United States of America. That role is centered upon the delivery of information regarding the events of the day, inclusive of thoughtful, substantiated, and well-researched analysis. Yes, the news is biased, but that is to be expected, as we are all biased. But we expect the press to attempt to be responsible and fair.
Make no mistake, when the press is delivering stories and opinions on a national level with the primary purpose of undermining the President of the United States regardless of the truth of the matter asserted, it is acting against the interests of the people who elected the President. When it spreads lies, or paints stories in a deceitful light so as to forward an institutionalized political agenda at the expense of the truth, it is acting against the interests of the people. When it purposefully conflates hyperbolic political rhetoric delivered during a campaign despite the office holder’s actual performance demonstrating the contrary, it is acting against the interests of the people.
When the press stops acting as an objective deliverer of facts and instead acts as a propaganda machine, it acts against the interest of the people. When the press allows its news programs to be used as platforms by political hacks to foment vitriol and lies without retort or correction from the network, it acts against the interests of the people. And when a person or institution consistently and recurrently acts against the interest of the American people, it becomes the enemy of the people.
In either case, as demonstrated by its disgraceful performance this week, the disservice the press is presently providing our Republic and our democracy vastly outweighs its benefit. It is clearly time for the press, as an institution, to reassess the job it is doing on behalf of the people of the United States. If it does, and if it were to provide more objective and substantiated coverage of the day’s events, I am certain it would stop being viewed as an enemy of the people by nearly half the country and will reassert its position as the indispensible ally to our republic that it needs to be — cut currently constituted is not.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and cohost of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod. Dr. Gonzalez is presently serving in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.
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