“First, let’s stipulate to an undeniable truth of history,” writes talk host, Steve Deace in a series of Twitter messages about the media, “whoever has control over the flow of information in any society ultimately has control.” And it’s why Mark Zuckerberg and his cronies want to have a bigger stake in local news.
During the last couple of days, PJ Media has highlighted an effort by the Facebook (now Meta) founder and other moneyed interests and foundations to save local newspapers and local news sources. Their idea has been to spend millions of dollars to embed reporters, in a program called Report for America (RFA), in America’s newspapers and public radio stations. Their stated objective is to tell “under-covered” stories in those cities, hamlets, and burgs out of the goodness of their hearts.
RFA reporters, called “corps members,” in the paramilitary parlance the Left so often labels its foot soldiers, will tell these stories which have been circumscribed for them by the publications and the RFA.
But Zuckerberg’s overtures via the Report for America program can’t help but remind us of what Journalist H.L. Mencken is credited with once saying. “The urge to save humanity,” he said, “is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.” He continued in the lesser-known second part of his axiom saying, “Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve.” And so it is here.
And they use the one thing from which all local news sources suffer: a lack of money.
Because the news outlets must come up with only 25% of the salary of the Report for America soldier at first, the bait goes down easily. But, if past is prologue, there’s a hook. As I’ve forecasted, there will be trade-offs like there were when Democrats allowed Zuckerberg’s “Zuck Bucks” to buy their way into local election offices before the 2020 elections.
Zuckerberg and the Center for Tech and Civic Life claimed that the infusion of cash to elections offices was to help with COVID issues. As Mollie Hemingway wrote in her book on the election, Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections, “only 1.3 percent of that funding [was spent] on personal protective equipment.” Indeed, she reported that the rest was spent to set up a Joe Biden turnout machine featuring “salaries, laptops, vehicle rentals, attorneys’ fees for public records requests, mail-in balloting and other measures that allowed elections offices to hire activists to work the election.”
Do you think for one moment this Zuckerberg initiative would be any different?
Their bias isn’t in favor of objectivity or what we used to know as media fairness; it goes only one way. Their goal is to achieve political objectives, which they frame as the only true “democracy.” The term is being redefined in real-time.
Washington Post columnist Perry Bacon, Jr. in a Washington Post piece called “The rise of pro-democracy media” claims that “America’s news media is increasingly covering the growing radicalism of the Republican Party and its democracy-eroding behavior.” [emphasis added]
Canadian lawyer and popular YouTuber David Freihart has a term for that. He calls it “confession through projection.”
Now, what is this “democracy-eroding behavior”?
Well, coincidentally, it turns out that “democracy” is what the Left wants! This appears to be the destruction of norms, voting sanctity, borders, traditions, institutions, faith, the individual, the Constitution, and objective truth. For the moment, it is, Bacon claims, the “questioning of election results, targeting of election officials and push to ban discussions of race relations in schools [critical race theory, DEI] … and support for voting restrictions as the dangers to democracy that they are.”
The “pro-democracy” news media, Bacon says, is therefore no longer wasting time doing “a problematic ‘both sides’ approach to covering politics.” He says that the media could dispense with that “after Donald Trump became president,” because he claimed, reporters “couldn’t avoid covering him very negatively.”
Indeed, the Old Gray Lady herself, The New York Times, declared objectivity unnecessary with the election of Donald Trump. The New York Post actually broke that news. Don’t fret, President Trump, if it hadn’t been you, these stoolies would have blamed any other Republican as they do every four years. (See 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012). They would have found someone else on whom to blame their planned lack of objectivity and full embrace of the Left. Your bombast just made it easier. You were the excuse.
Oregon GOP State Rep. Mike Nearman became concerned about this Left turn when The Northwest Observer reported that the state newspaper of record, The Oregonian, was participating in the RFA program. Alarm bells went off when he learned that not only was it a Zuckerberg pet program, but “a joint project of Google News Lab and The GroundTruth Project, both organizations associated with the political left-of-center.” He knew that there was only one way coverage would go from there — further Left. Indeed, the “beats” these Oregon RFA reporters are planning to cover read like a radical Leftist’s wish list.
“Project Klamath” explores the future of the Klamath Basin in the era of climate change. It’s the result of a months-long collaboration between @report4america/@heraldandnews corps members @alexpshorts and @arden_barnes ⤵️ https://t.co/aCGAFC0y6i https://t.co/wnHoJmBy9d
— Report for America (@Report4America) January 5, 2022
The Oregonian’s “corps member” will be reporting on “early childhood education,” which, just spitballing here, probably has something to do with a free government program. At the Klamath Falls Herald and News, these tinhorns just out of college will be reporting on economic development, endangered species, and dam removal — an ardent dream of the Left in order to “save” St. Salmon and starve farmers of water. At the state capital, a reporter will be reporting on agricultural workers.
Washington state is covered from stem-to-stern with RPA reporters, on farming, schools, immigrants, and even features a national reporter at The Spokesman-Review, who works from Washington, D.C. to “cover legislation affecting the Northwest.” Sure, that’s “local.”
This RFA story touts vaccines.
— Tina Rosenberg (@tirosenberg) January 21, 2021
In Pittsburgh, one of these newbie reporters will be tasked with reporting about “climate change.” Spoiler alert: oil and natural gas will be vilified.
In West Virginia, one of the RFA reporters is assigned to the “White supremacy groups in Appalachia” beat. Another reporter will be covering public health threats in the state, so expect a series on how horrible coal mining is for the lungs. Just a guess.
In Texas, a reporter will report on “news deserts in exurban and rural Texas.” “The status of women” will be the beat for an El Paso Report for America newbie. In Austin, an RFA reporter will give them the lowdown on how bad suburbs are.
In Madison, Wisc., an RFA reporter will delve exclusively into “criminal justice misconduct.”
One of these kids got a gig to take pretty pictures in Montana — like that’s hard.
Missouri will be covered with RFA reporters whose job it will be to cover “gun violence.”
Chicago’s RFA reporter will have nothing to do with “gun violence” and has been tasked with reporting on “injustice.”
I have no doubt that some good coverage will come from this program, but let’s not kid ourselves; don’t expect any reportage on the “under-covered” areas of any western faith, preserving private property rights, border security, the U.S. Constitution, how farmers use water to grow food for the world, heroism, or individual freedom.
The erosion of trust in the Fourth Estate has been coming for a while as the mainstream media adopted a change in the way it does business.
The embrace of one-sided journalism by news outlets over the years has fostered a deep mistrust to those right of center. Polls by Gallup, ABC News, I&I/TIPP show a steady erosion in the trust of what was once the Fourth Estate. Now the Fourth Estate is as trustworthy and real as Joe Biden’s Oval Office Hollywood set that “fact-checkers” assured us was a right-wing conspiracy theory.
Expect it to get worse.
In the name of “democracy,” you understand.