Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The road to state-run media

There's not much that shocks me anymore when it comes to big media's support for Democrats and liberalism in general and the president in particular, but even my jaded sensibilities are rocked by ABC's decision to turn over its news organization to the Obama administration today for a day so that it can serve as a propaganda arm of the government.

Every news show, from Good Morning America to World News Tonight to a prime time puff special to Nightline, have been turned over to the administration for them to use to try to drum up support for the government takeover of roughly 1/6 of our economy.

You must understand the distinction here between mere advocacy, of the type that every television network does to one degree or another (Fox for Republicans; MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and PBS for Democrats), and the outright ceding of editorial control to the government. This is not the difference between an adversarial press and advocacy, this is the difference between an independent press and one that is an arm of the government. To call it a dangerous precedent is a massive understatement.

Since socialized medicine is a purely partisan political issue, you might think that ABC would give some time to a dissenting voice. But you would be disappointed; ABC is not allowing even the purchase of time to present an alternate point of view. Sorry, no dissent will be tolerated today!

What's in it for ABC is pretty obvious: the quid pro quo of being allowed more access to the White House than other outlets. Whether that's worth abdicating their objectivity and their responsibilities to the public as a journalistic organization is fodder for journalism schools, I suppose. Clearly ABC has decided that a transformation from news organization to propaganda tool is worth it if they can gain a few scoops in the bargain.

The implications for the broader media are more ominous. It's no secret that the newspaper industry is in trouble; most periodicals and television news divisions are not exactly printing money either.

With the expectation that the newspaper industry is gearing up to ask for a bailout of their own, we may be closer than you think to the nationalization of major newspapers, or at least conditional infusions of cash. And given that bank bailouts have come at the price of congressional micromanaging, and that the GM nationalization has come with administration strong-arming to force them to start making unprofitable vehicles the public does not want, does anybody really believe that media bailouts or nationalizations would be offered without some level of editorial control?

If you find press freedom to be a core principle of a free society, ABC's day of Utopian socialized medicine propaganda certainly must give you pause.

Addendum for any locals: there will be a protest of ABC's action outside the Channel 8 studios in Victory Park beginning at 5:30. Yes, it will be 100+ degrees today, but hope to see you there anyway.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home