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No, Pointing Out The Media’s Lies Does Not Threaten Democracy

Brian Stelter segment on trust in media
Image CreditCNN/YouTube

Journalists and organizations that decry the rise of ‘misinformation’ and being branded ‘fake news’ should look in the mirror.

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Last week, the University of Ottawa (yes, that Ottawa, where peaceful protesters were recently arrested and their bank accounts frozen without a court order) hosted a virtual event unironically named “Journalists Facing Mean Tweets: What It Means for Our Democracy.”

Its stated purpose was to “discuss online harassment, discrediting journalism, and what incivility means for our democratic systems.” The layers of irony are truly endless and speak to just how insular and self-aggrandizing corporate media has become.

To academic and media elites, average citizens who engage in constitutionally protected speech online represent a threat to “democratic systems” yet the federal government’s use of terrorist financing laws to quash domestic political dissent is totally fine; that’s democracy in action.

“From personal attacks to accusations of bias or being ‘fake news,’ negativity directed at journalists can have a serious impact on when and how credible information is shared and found,” claimed the university.

In other words, daring to notice the patently fraudulent tales spun by agenda-driven news outlets — then publicly voicing your displeasure with the propagandists responsible — is now deeply problematic.

It’s difficult to imagine any industry being more sanctimonious, out of touch, and lacking in self-awareness than the news media. But journalists and organizations that decry the rise of “misinformation” and being branded “fake news” should look in the mirror.

The past two years have absolutely exposed corporate media institutions in both Canada and the United States as purveyors not of mere bias but rather outright lies and falsehoods told in furtherance of a far-left political agenda. This isn’t hyperbole; it’s demonstrably true. And precisely because it’s true is why the press has grown so hysterical and defensive as of late.

It’s been well-documented on this website and elsewhere how leftist media entities spread actual fake news about Hunter Biden’s laptop in the weeks leading up to the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The New York Post’s accurate reporting on damning emails in which Joe Biden’s son sought lucrative business deals overseas, seemingly in exchange for access to his then-vice president father, was labeled a “hoax” and called “Russian disinformation” by CNN and countless others.

Big Tech censors went even further. Twitter suspended The Post’s account for nearly two weeks while Facebook throttled the reach of the story itself. All of this was done in an effort to bury news that was unfavorable to the Democratic presidential candidate and his chances of ousting then-President Donald Trump from the White House. The New York Times has all but admitted as much, acknowledging this month that the emails in question had been “authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation.”

This was not an isolated incident. In February 2020, Facebook censored the New York Post for an opinion column that calmly and rationally suggested Covid-19 “may have leaked from a lab” in Wuhan. Remember, at the time, you were ordered by “experts” and “fact-checkers” to believe that the virus originated from a Chinese wet market and any dissenting point of view was dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” cooked up by Republicans.

But in May 2021, Facebook finally announced it would no longer be removing these sorts of posts, after President Biden ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate the lab origin story more closely. By mid-summer, it was reported that officials in the Biden administration “now believe the theory that the virus accidentally escaped from a lab in Wuhan is at least as credible as the possibility that it emerged naturally in the wild.”

Translation: What was once deemed a “conspiracy theory” by the media and Big Tech is now an acceptable position for you to hold — not unlike the fact that Covid-19 vaccines don’t prevent transmission or infection, natural immunity is more effective than vaccine-induced immunity alone, and cloth masks don’t offer much protection against the virus.

But perhaps the most stunning example of media malpractice that’s come to light is with respect to the “Russian collusion” hoax that engulfed the country for more than five years. Thanks to breathless propaganda, there are likely still millions of Americans who believe the utter falsehood that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election from Hillary Clinton.

Of particular note: The Clinton-funded “Steele dossier,” which contained false and salacious claims about Trump, relied heavily on a “primary sub-source” now known to be — of all things — a Russian national named Igor Danchenko. Last November, as part of Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, Danchenko was arrested and charged with making false statements to the FBI. Unsurprisingly, this massive revelation received virtually no coverage in the mainstream press.

There are many journalists with platforms on cable news, social media, and beyond who lament what they perceive to be right-wing “misinformation.” In fairness, no one has a monopoly on lying. But what’s clear is that the most pernicious, divisive, and readily-accepted lies have indeed been coming from the left. Pointing them out in an unrelenting pursuit of the truth doesn’t imperil democracy — it strengthens it.