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The fantasy of an ‘elite media’

By DOUG THOMPSON
A Capitol Hill Blue Commentary
March 24, 2012

Newt Gingrich: Spreading the 'elite media' myth

An overused stereotype in this year’s Presidential campaign is “elite media.” You hear it from right-wing Presidential candidates, tea party activists and a handful of posters on Capitol Hill Blue.

If you choose to believe the raving nonsense that comes out of the mouths of those obsessed with the fantasy of an “elite media” — and you need to be on Lithium if you do — there is a grand conspiracy among those of us who work in “mainstream media” to (pick one):

  1. Re-elect Barack Obama;
  2. Assure Mitt Romney of the GOP Presidential nomination;
  3. Cover-up every fantastic conspiracy theory promoted by the extreme fringes;
  4. Accept anything the government says as fact, or;
  5. All of the above.

Blame it on the Internet and the emergence of keyboard commandos who pass themselves off — often anonymously — as instant experts on the media and how journalism works.

While we do not — under any stretch of imagination — consider Capitol Hill Blue part of the mainstream media, the charge is often leveled against me personally because of more than 40 years of working for various media outlets and the fact that I freelance today for newspapers, magazines, television stations and networks and wire services.

So some want to line me up along the wall with all the other so-called “elite media” types and gun us down in a political firing squad for crimes drawn out of thin air by people with too much time on their hands and too little grey matter between the ears.

To accept the fantasy of an “elite media” that exists strictly to protect the status quo, you have to accept the ludicrous belief that those of us who toil in the profession would rather report pabulum and ignore juicy news stories.

In other words, we are — according to the grand “elite media” fantasy — more inclined to sit back and watch a failed President like Barack Obama succeed or an empty suit like Mitt Romney win the GOP nomination.

Hogwash.  Good journalists — and there are lot of them out there reporting every day for the so-called “establishment” media — would rather write about failure than success. Writing about Obama falling on his face is a better news story than a day when everything runs smoothly.  Reporting on an economy falling apart is better news than people going back to work.  Seeing a long-shot contender come out of nowhere to win an election is a hell of a lot more fun to write about than the frontrunner cruising to victory.

But so is uncovering fake populists like Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.  So is finding a lie in government-issued statistics or a campaign aide who screws up royally like the Romney senior aide and his “Etch a Sketch” skit.

The various competing news organizations don’t have a conference call every morning to decide how to slant the news against those who decry an “elite media.”  We don’t accept anything anyone tells us as fact.  We do what the critics don’t — we check things out before putting it out there for public consumption.

For most of these self-declared experts on the media, bias is when we print something that the other side says but we don’t print what they — the extremists — say.  There’s a good reason for that.  Most often, the other side’s story checked out and the fantasies pushed by the extremists did not.

The extremists would have us believe Texas Congressman Ron Paul stood a chance at winning of the GOP Presidential nomination and, ultimately, the Presidency.  The fact is that he didn’t stand a chance. Never has.  Paul is a fringe candidate with a small — but loud — following.  End of story  Move on  There’s nothing to see here.

If Mitt Romney wins the GOP nomination — and the numbers suggest he will — it will not come from any so-called “media conspiracy” to promote his candidacy over that of anyone else.  It will come from money, organization and the backing of the bulk of the GOP power structure.

No conspiracy. No manipulation of the news by an “elite media” or any other grand conspiracy — just cold, hard political fact.

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5 Responses to The fantasy of an ‘elite media’

  1. Sandy Price

    March 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Gosh, I’ve never passed myself off as an elite influence for a minute. What I try to do on the Internet is pass off my many years of working the campaigns.

    I have lost more elections than won and I have never blamed the media or my flat-out wanting what others do not want.

    If the GOP pulls off a win in November, I will have to locate a new home outside the borders of America. I can live under Socialism but never under a Theocracy.

  2. Bill Cravener

    March 25, 2012 at 5:43 am

    Paul is a fringe candidate with a small — but loud — following.

    Yep, made up of mostly anonymous keyboard commando cowards!

  3. Jon

    March 25, 2012 at 9:37 am

    They used to call it the “liberal media” until the idea that a multinational corporation bound and determined to make profit and only profit started to sound a little strange.

    Now they’ve a new term for… well, themselves.

    J.

  4. woody188

    March 26, 2012 at 9:32 am

    There was that little WMD in Iraq mistake. And then there was that fantasy of al Qaeda cave compounds that would make a James Bond nemesis proud. Then there is that DoD psyops created fantasy of Firdous Square, Iraq. Or that Jessica Lynch fantasy. Or that Pat Tillman fantasy. How many people have died in the War on Terror? Why doesn’t the Corporate media tell you?

    Right, it’s just bad news. That’s why the way to find out is the Internet.

    Let’s go back a few years. How about that Gulf Of Tonkin incident? How many of your friends paid for that lie in blood? Think about that on your next Rolling Thunder.

    Who told the truth about the USS Liberty incident?

    Who told the truth about Pearl Harbor? Pretty convenient how the newest tech, aircraft carriers, were all moved out to sea but all the obsolete battleships were left behind. If you know anything about naval warfare, you know aircraft carriers changed everything.

    Do you remember the USS Maine? The tax enacted to pay for the Spanish-American war lasted 107 years and generated $94 billion—more than 230 times the cost of the war.

    I’m afraid the evidence is pretty clear. There is no need to insinuate one is crazy for believing the truth and being grounded in reality. Corporate media has agendas and they promote causes and beliefs beneficial to themselves, which might be just to sell a few more papers or ads. Perhaps they are also mislead by our government at times, but they are all too eager to promote what the government says without verifying the facts. To believe otherwise is to ignore history and incredibly naive.

    Yes, I’m getting a little harsh and personal, but I don’t like being told I should be on lithium. I’m not the one with my head in the sand pretending things are different from reality.

  5. Almandine

    March 26, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    ELITE media… oxymoron?