I have been watching and listening to the news during President Donald Trump’s entire administration and I’m done. Break out the honey-do list at home, save me a seat at the library, and open the trails in the mountains for hiking because I can no longer watch, read or listen to this cacophony of liberal voices. Their reality is not mine and here is why.
I watched a recent interview of Jackie Gingrich Cushman whose book, Our Broken America: Why Both Sides Need to Stop Ranting and Start Listening just hit the shelves in stores. She notes that liberals (~65%) and conservatives (~52%) have no friends on the other side of the political spectrum and therefore are isolated from differing views.
Former President George W. Bush and Ellen Degeneres, seen together at a recent Dallas Cowboys game, are evidence of a unique friendship and the virulent reaction of the left, which collectively shamed Degeneres for daring to sit with the devil himself, as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez described Bush at the United Nations in 2006.
Cushman nobly said that Americans need to talk openly and calmly using facts to guide us, a lucid if idealistic statement. But this cannot happen because liberals don’t function within a factual construct. One cannot debate someone if each cannot agree on what is truly real.
In the 4th century BC, Aristotle theorized that a thing is real if it can be detected with sensory perception. To touch, hear, see or smell a thing means it’s real. Then in the 17th century, Rene Descartes theorized that there is not only sensory perception but also the conscious mind. “I think, therefore I am,” or cogito ergo sum, described his supposition that human consciousness helps interpret reality. His wax test was evidentiary. When we see a burning wick change wax from solid to liquid, it is still wax – it physically changed according to perception, but our conscious thought tells us it is still the same thing.
Our collective perceptions of the world changed more with three developments in the early 20th century – Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and World War I. Freud weakened the moralistic Judeo-Christian world by authoring the ideas of psychological inquiry into childhood experience. His id and ego became the new satans, so to speak. But his supposed answers were not scientific at all, but instead subjective and even mystical.
Einstein’s theory of relativity revised Newton’s linear views of the universe. The linear and unlimited power of the scientific revolution seemed a relic of the past. Archimedes’ quote, “If you give me a lever and a place to stand, I can move the world,” no longer held sway. The world in the 20th century was becoming not more known, but instead more ambiguous.
Add to that the unmitigated human disaster of World War I that killed over 17 million people and absolutely annihilated Victorian ideals of progress through technology. Dadaism and cubism in artistic expression reflected this new chaos in the 1920s and 1930s as did the Lost Generation in literature whose stories reflected a perceived lack of meaning in a materialistic and flawed world.
Finally, the emergence of post-modernism opened Pandora’s Box to the extent that one’s own perception of anything gives that thing legitimacy. What is red, is pink to me. What is male is actually female, vice versa or even neither. College costs money. But wait, if I perceive that the government can pay for it that makes it free to me – that’s my perception, therefore that’s my reality. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and their ilk are evidence of thinking things into existence in their own ontological process. The Green New Deal is a compelling example of this alternate reality.
Universal truth, scientific inquiry, logic and reason are dead to these people. And the most damning example of this is the media. Facts and truth are lost to the news channels. Jim Accosta, Jake Tapper, Chris Cuomo and on and on – they are so obsessed with damning Donald Trump that they have lost all integrity and reality. Their news coverage is beyond biased, it is propagandistic to its core.
The American, French and Russian Revolutions were all highly influenced by the press. Revolutionaries seized the papers first – the Jacobins in 1792 in Paris, the Bolsheviks established Isvestia and Pravda in Moscow in late 1917 and lastly newspapers and pamphleteers, namely Thomas Paine, supported Washington, Jefferson and Adams from 1775-1783. Having a compelling voice in media is paramount, especially in a republican democracy.
Traditionally, our own media has been regulated, generally speaking, by an academic urge to inform the people. That’s not to say that early republican newspapers were not biased – they were. Editors shilling for a certain party were commonplace. But into the mid-20th century, a clear line existed between editorial and news or journalism and the latter was a product sold in a competitive market. People needed to trust that product and so journalists needed to strive for honesty. Then three things occurred that forever changed that: the 1960s counterculture movement, the Vietnam War and Watergate.
The counterculture movement is the seed of the radicalization of the Democrat Party. The baby boomer generation, coming of age in the 1960s, rebelled against their parents, social norms, the government and anything else they deemed unjust. The Vietnam War seemed to legitimize the radicals’ theory that the government was by nature conservative, secretive and most of all, self-serving to the point of seeking its own ends at the cost of the people.
The Defense Department under Robert McNamara and Lyndon Johnson lied to Americans many times – initially saying that the US was decisively winning the war. This all changed in 1968 with the Tet Offensive, which was a strategic defeat and a shock to the folks at home because of the claims of the Johnson administration. On Febraury 27, 1968, Walter Cronkite delivered his editorial stating that the war was unwinnable. While Cronkite was right in his characterization, this event on CBS was a turning point when the media began to create its own subjective reality.
Then came Watergate, an absolute paradigm shift in American History. After Watergate, Americans and especially the media no longer trusted the government and especially the president. The lies of Vietnam and Richard Nixon catapulted Americans into a new reality. And journalists discovered the “gotcha” moment for which they would collectively thirst – a career-making event that could earn them a Pulitzer, a la Woodward and Bernstein.
Today, this news media – now in a 24/7 cycle and all over the internet – is influenced by these formative events as well as some new ones. Postmodernism, political correctness and identity politics are now their guiding lights. A rabid progressivism has been unleashed and freedom of speech is under attack daily. Saying or writing anything that is illogically deemed racist, judgmental or insensitive can be deemed as “violent” by the left and result in professional censure. The press is the new Jacobin guillotine and their reign of terror has only just begun.
Cushman’s ideas of cross-pollination are noble and well-meaning, but unrealistic. In order for one to debate in the realm of ideas, the participants must agree on what is real, what is indeed factual. Right now the media is so explosively and virulently blinded by its own rage and monolithic group-think that facts are no longer tangible. They are phantoms. Consult any of a hundred interviews by Dale Jackson of Clete Whetli on WVNN … the latter will never acknowledge simple facts and so he is not housed in the arena of ideas (The same could be said of Dr. Waymon Burke).
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is a perfect example. After a distinguished career in jurisprudence, Trump nominated him to the Supreme Court. Enter Christine Blassey Ford. Her story defied logic and ran counter to all other evidence about Kavanaugh’s past. Indeed, he had been investigated several times in previous nomination processes and his past was “uneventful.” But, because he was Trump’s nominee and because the left is irrationally protective of Roe vs. Wade, all logic and reason died along with Kavanaugh’s reputation.
The media seems to think, if I print it, it is so, or scribo, ergo est, or I write, therefore it is.
Here are some hard facts. Donald Trump can be megalomaniacal. He often acts like a petulant child. His lack of decorum can be embarrassing. He often acts unpresidential, if that is even a word. But he was preferred in 2016 to Hillary Clinton, who as secretary of State can absolutely be considered responsible for the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. She also clearly violated the law governing the safeguarding of classified information and then later attempted to hide it. These facts are incontrovertible.
However, Democrats and the media continue to write their own agenda into what they consider to be fact. And though they may look friendly, cheerful, well-meaning and truthful on their countless news shows on all the different channels, they are actually Robespierre holding the trigger line to drop the heavy blade, delivering their own tyranny of virtue, their own liberal reality. Their true nature is clear to see to anyone willing to think, as Aristotle and Descartes may say if only they were here.
Kenneth B. Moore is a missile defense engineer and college history teacher