The Founders believed a free press was critical to the success of the American experiment and envisioned it as the unofficial fourth branch of government. Jefferson & Madison in particular wanted the press to act as a watchdog to keep the government in check by informing the citizenry of potential abuses to our liberties.
And in a 1787 letter to Edward Carrington, a Virginia representative to the Continental Congress, Jefferson wrote that the role of a free press in keeping government power in check was so important he would prefer “newspapers without government” to “government without newspapers,” warning that even the new American government, unless checked by a knowledgeable citizenry, would inevitably be the cause of its own demise.
Which brings us to the saddest and most dangerous aspect of today’s American political scene, i.e., the legacy media has been less than a faithful arbiter of ideas and information, and as a result we have lost what was perhaps our most effective check against the abuses and deceits of government—exactly what Jefferson feared.
There’s a word for what’s occurring in this country; it’s called “gaslighting,” a term originated in the 1944 film Gaslight staring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, where a murdering husband (Boyer) manipulates and confuses his wife (Bergman) by dimming the gas lights in their home and then denying it’s happening.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group. It makes them question their own memory, perception and sanity. The tactic relies on persistent contradiction and lying in an attempt to delegitimize the victim’s belief. But gaslighting is just another way of saying, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” a statement made by Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister of Hitler’s Third Reich.
Goebbels went on to say, “The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the…consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Gaslighting has become a way of life in American politics and the prime perpetrator is the legacy media. The media relentlessly excoriated Ted Cruz for taking his family to Cancun, Mexico during the power outages in Texas (as if vacationing in Cancun were a crime) while there was a virtual media blackout regarding New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s role in directing thousands of recovering COVID patients into nursing homes, which by some counts caused as many as 10,000 unnecessary deaths. At the same time, does anyone recall hearing or reading anything from Saint Anthony Fauci about how the falsified information regarding those deaths affected the CDC’s efforts to assess the spread of the virus? I didn’t think so.
And speaking of Cuomo, recall when the NY governor, referring to Brett Kavanaugh, called for “zero tolerance” regarding allegations of sexual misconduct, a statement echoed by every major media outlet. But now that the governor has been accused, the media is strangely silent.
In another instance, the Atlantic Magazine reported that 800 people stormed the Capitol on January 6th. Yet the media “gaslighted” the American people by comparing the Capitol riot to the Antifa/Black Lives Matter riots that occurred in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.
True, the majority of this past summer’s protests were peaceful, but according to the National Association of Police Chiefs, of the 8,700 protests that took place, 574 were actual riots killing 27 people and injuring more than 2,000 police officers. Additionally, according to insurance industry statistics, the BLM riots caused $2 billion in property damage. But the only story the left wants kept alive is the one about 800 miscreants storming the Capitol.
And finally, in what is the most insidious instance of gaslighting is what our kids are being taught regarding white privilege and how America was built on the backs of slaves, in spite of the fact that scholars on both sides have eviscerated the NY Times for the fallaciousness of its 1619 Project.
Today more than any other factor, gaslighting, by the legacy media represents the most significant threat to what the Founders envisioned for America.,
Quote of the day: “I do not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.”—Abraham Lincoln