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When the new media goes awry, we all lose

When the new media goes awry, we all lose

We have an idealized view of the American news media.  According to their own self-descriptions, that they are a bulwark of freedom – one of the essential and existential services of a free society.  As journalists, they are the common ground of events and opinions.  They are the honest brokers in charge of airing all sides of public debate and controversy.

It is a nice theory, but the truth be known – the American media is too often the communicators of partisan narratives, the creators of mendacious interpretations and the purveyors of propaganda.  In authoritarian nations, the news media is nothing more than the singular voice of the autocrats.

In America, we are blessed with a diversity of news that prevents any one political faction from gaining total dominance.  BUT … the news media itself can become the captive instrument of one faction, one ideology – or one political party.

In the days before radio and television – and the much-ignored cannons of journalistic ethics – pamphlets and news “papers” were shamelessly partisan.  They were expected to reflect the culture as determined by the owner/editor.  In an early example of truth in advertising, newspapers promoted their biases on the front page, with mastheads of “Democrat,” “Republican,” “Abolitionist” and “Negro World.”

But as media empires expanded – and the powerful radio/television networks developed – the control of the message fell into fewer and fewer hands.  The media did not chronicle events with an even hand but became the prime mover of policy by controlling the message.

In 1898, newspaperman William Randolph Hearst – and his fellow media mogul, Joseph Pulitzer – sent America spinning off into the Spanish American War by arousing public sentiment against Spain for the sinking of the battleship U.S.S. Maine – which was in Cuban waters in a show of support for the people’s revolt against Spain.

According to History Today magazine:

“The yellow press, led by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, proprietors of the New York Journal and the New York World, took every opportunity to inflame the situation with the exhortation to ‘Remember the Maine’, publicize the alleged cruelties of Spanish repression and encourage a belligerent hunger for action.” 

They created a widely held belief that the Maine had been bombed or hit a mine.  In fact, many historians today seem to believe that the blast was an accidental boiler explosion.

And how ironic that the man memorialized in journalisms highest reward – the Pulitzer Prize – was nothing more than a New York City news propagandist.  In a perverse way, it seems rather fitting.

Once again today, we have a conglomerate of news media, centered primarily in New York City functioning like Hearst and Pulitzer.  Though ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, New Yorker Magazine and a rash of other media platforms are not led by folks as public or fiery as Hearst and Pulitzer, the narrow views of the top echelon of those news services have stacked the deck in their news and editorial departments with birds of a feather – specifically far left-wing Democrats (or socialists).  They are a bubble-encased cabal of like-minded folks who see their job as forcing public opinion to bend to their narrow ideology.  They are a class of isolated and insulated multi-millionaires who have little in common – and even less understanding – of the average American or historic American values.

Like their professional forefathers – Hearst and Pulitzer – they use their platforms to “inflame the situation” against all things incompatible with their left-wing authoritarian ideology – specifically, President Trump, the Republican Party and the conservative movement — and they encourage “a belligerent hunger for action” against millions of Americans who do not submit to their dogma – their raison d’être.

The elitist major media is obsessed with influencing the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election.  Their goal is to defeat Trump and the GOP, and they exercise no professional restraints in pursuing that goal.  It goes beyond a bias in reporting to wholesale disinformation, deceit and lies.

While the left-wing news media is not literally owned or controlled by a despot or dictator – nor are they under the control of government – but they are no less aligned to a narrow political ideology and in support of a specific political structure – the Democratic Party.  Surveys and polls have revealed the pervasive partisan loyalty of the news media practitioners. The conclusive evidence is the daily output of their columns and broadcasts.

Just as an honest and fair news media is critical to the well-being of the Republic, a corrupt one is that much more a danger.  In his 1858 debate with Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln wisely stated that, “Public sentiment is everything.  Whoever can change public opinion can change the government.”

If we allow the opinions of a few millionaire newsies in New York City to displace the common sense and collective wisdom of the American people – or if the press continues to skew the opinions of the people with misinformation, disinformation and propaganda – we will have lost the Republic to a home-grown class of authoritarians.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Will R.

    Another classic example was John Newman Edward’s, the pro-South editor of the Kansas Ciy Times, who single-handedly transformed the image of Jesse James from a murderer and bank robber into a folk hero, a latter- day Robin Hood who supposedly stole from the rich and gave to the poor.

  2. Mike

    Thanks for the nice history lesson Larry-I remember learning about yellow journalism back in High school American history. And with some hand waving you attempt to imply that today’s reporting on Trump and conservatives is no different, without giving a single example. I offer an alternative explanation, that Republicans and trump are so damn stupid that they just make the headlines themselves. I will however provide examples, and since today is Tuesday, I will use two from today. First you have gym Jordan playing a video in the House of Representatives, going into the official record, with obvious violent protest, with overlays of reporters stating “peaceful protests”. While these words did come from the reporters, they were taken out of context and did not include the reporter’s entire statement, which followed up with “many of these protests turn violent after dark”. And then the buffoon in the WH (and his idiot offspring) posted a video of a “doctor” saying hydroxychloroquine was an effective treatment and masks were unnecessary. These posts were taken down since they contain false information pertaining to the pandemic, but not before they were viewed literally millions of times. When questioned why he was quoting a doctor who claims women can be impregnated by witches in their dreams, Trump’s reply was “I thought she sounded good”. So there tis, idiots being shown up by the media for what they are…

    • Larry Horist

      Just a quick response. Today the MSNBC reporter said their are more than 16=50,000 “confirmed dead from Covid-19. Actually, according to government stats a very high percentage are “assumed” with no evidence that the deceased even had the disease. In NY nursing homes, for example. 60 percent of the dead were assumed. They keep repeating that 4 million people “have: Covid-19 when in fact half that number are recovered. The said that Trump endorsed the crazy doctor when he actually said he did not know here. They took his quote completely out of context. The media has repeated talked of peaceful protesters even as they were shown to be violent. Velshi even called the protest peaceful even has the building behind him was aflame.The anti Trump bias in the press is unprecedented. It would take big book to document the examples.

  3. Mike

    Larry-You simply must face the fact that you are unwilling to face facts. If anything coronavirus cases are undercounted, since many, particularly in the earliest days, were untested. I think it is pretty logical to assume that if the President quotes someone on Twitter, he is endorsing them. To assume otherwise is just plain dumb-as dumb as the President is for not checking out who he is quoting. Republicans have made themselves very newsworthy in recent years by saying (and doing) very stupid things. Face the facts! So there tis…