Remember Snowden? Probably not. Edward Snowden- a former government contractor and computer technician- exposed a massive scheme conducted by the NSA and other government agencies to spy on American citizens. He revealed that our government is monitoring our phone calls, text messages, and emails, a direct violation of our Constitutional rights.
Despite this world-shaking revelation, Snowden is considered by many people in the mainstream media to be a traitor. That's because President Barack Obama- the man who is ultimately responsible for this NSA monitoring- took a stance against Snowden and his actions.
But let's look at it in another light. What if Snowden had exposed all this while Bush was president? What if the hated and reviled Republican was leading the country when we learned about the NSA spy ring? What if W called out Snowden and HIS security officials made him out to be a traitor?
You could bet that the media would be very eager to denounce the president under those circumstances. They would flock to Snowden's side, call for his pardon, and hang the president out to dry as an abuser of power and violator of the Constitution.
Yet after the revelations made by Snowden, the media presented a very mixed and ambivalent view of the entire fiasco. Government agencies are monitoring free Americans- and this doesn't upset news organizations?
Let's explore what the NSA is really doing.
The US government, with assistance from major telecommunications carriers including AT&T, has engaged in massive, illegal dragnet surveillance of the domestic communications and communications records of millions of ordinary Americans...
Secret government documents, published by the media in 2013, confirm the NSA obtains full copies of everything that is carried along major domestic fiber optic cable networks. In June 2013, the media, led by the Guardian and Washington Post started publishing a series of articles... The reports showed- and the government later admitted—that the government is mass collecting phone metadata of all US customers under the guise of the Patriot Act. Moreover, the media reports confirm that the government is collecting and analyzing the content of communications of foreigners talking to persons inside the United States, as well as collecting much more, without a probable cause warrant. (via EFF)
Abusing the Patriot Act, Obama's leaders have been collecting every last scrap of digital information about you. Who you talk to. When you talk to them. How long you talk to them. If you communicate with anyone outside of the United States (like a loved one or business partner) they are listening to the conversation. This without a warrant or oversight from the courts.
This kind of surveillance was once reserved for crime lords like Al Capone. Now, under President Obama's watch, the government is watching all of us.
Why is this such a problem? Because the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects us from this kind of illegal violation of our freedom and privacy:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
"Persons, houses, papers, and effects" include your means of communication, like phone calls and email.
This is to protect us from a tyrannical government from taking major control over our personal lives. Even in the name of fighting terrorism, they cannot do this. It is also a violation of our Freedom of Speech, as people will be afraid to speak their minds if they know some faceless government agent is listening.
Yes, this monitoring began under the Bush administration. That was wrong. But it was greatly expanded under President Obama. Yet the media has not hung Obama out for this unprecedented and disgusting violation of our Constitutional freedoms.
Why? Because the liberal media has become the PR arm of the Democratic Party. They are so determined to protect their liberal interests, they have betrayed any journalistic ethics they once had.
What Obama's administration did was unforgivable. With Snowden's revelations, the media should have led the charge to hold Obama and the NSA (as well as the CIA and other intelligence agencies) accountable- demanding immediate reform and the firing of top officials. Nothing close to that happened. The media seemed to downplay the entire fiasco and made Snowden out to be a traitor.
It's the media's job to hold our leaders accountable. Or, at the very least, report the facts so we the citizens can hold them accountable. But when journalists indulge in gross biases, they become unable to do their job. They sacrifice integrity for the satisfaction of helping their preferred politicians, even when those politicians break the law.
I talked about how the media's continued bias against Trump will ultimately destroy the free press. His administration will circumvent them entirely, releasing news via social media and their own websites. This will prevent unbiased information from being released to the public. It will help Trump, yes, but it will erode the ability for the public to hold his administration accountable. Simply because the mainstream media has become entrenched against the right.
We're already seeing the depths the MSM will go to discredit the incoming President. Much of the Russian hacking fiasco has been propagated by the Washington Post, who have published two articles recently "exposing" Russia's involvement in our country. Both were proven to be false.
In the past six weeks, the Washington Post published two blockbuster stories about the Russian threat that went viral: one on how Russia is behind a massive explosion of “fake news,” the other on how it invaded the U.S. electric grid. Both articles were fundamentally false. Each now bears a humiliating editor’s note grudgingly acknowledging that the core claims of the story were fiction: The first note was posted a full two weeks later to the top of the original article; the other was buried the following day at the bottom. (via The Intercept)
Both stories were proven to be complete fabrications, fictions, lies. Yet all the Post did was place editor's notes, and they got a pass. Such disgusting abuse of influence and power should have cost them much more. Yet in our toxic media landscape, the Post and other dishonest outlets are actually rewarded for this kind of behavior.
But while these debacles are embarrassing for the paper, they are also richly rewarding. That’s because journalists — including those at the Post — aggressively hype and promote the original, sensationalistic false stories, ensuring that they go viral, generating massive traffic for the Post (the paper’s executive editor, Marty Baron, recently boasted about how profitable the paper has become).
We've seen how disinformation can spread so easily online. Anything can become viral and spread out of control. These made up stories by the Post will appear before millions of people around the world; they will believe it regardless of their validity. The retractions will not get the same kind of exposure.
So the Post has more incentive to lie than tell the truth.
We are now living in an age where real journalism is no longer needed. Papers can spread open lies, get the clicks and ad dollars they want, and not even pay for their crimes.
But how long will this last? Can the mainstream media continue this behavior of covering up the truth to protect their favored personalities, while spreading open lies about the people they hate? We saw it work during Obama's time in office; all of his scandals and missteps were covered up. But that kind of thing won't work under President Trump.
Trump seems to be immune to the media's attacks. They tried during the election to destroy him, but they failed. Once in power, he can continue to reach the American people directly, without their help. They will try to double down on the dishonest coverage- as the Washington Post did- but there are too many alternatives to major news for that to work forever.
The two-faced approach of the liberal media will come to an end. Readers simply have too many choices today. Their love of Obama caused them to ignore many of his abuses; now that Trump's in power, it's too late to pedal back. Their hypocrisy has been exposed. It's too deep and systemic to repair.
The future of journalism is uncertain. Can mainstream outlets right the ship and return to honest reporting? Right now that seems unlikely. But can independent websites and alternative news fill the gap, or will they end up becoming just as corrupt as their big brothers? Will they ever be able to gain the reach of a New York Times or CNN?
Perhaps time will tell.
All I can say is, stay tuned to Trigtent for the latest news and coverage.
See what I did there?