The feeding frenzy over the Dick Cheney hunting incident was one of the last gasps of the major media, as they desperately try to hold on to their privileged position. They wanted the politicians and the public to know that they are still a force to be reckoned with, and that you must deal with them first if you are to avoid being scandalized on a national basis. In the end, Cheney was forced to respond to their temper tantrum, but he did so through an interview with Brit Hume of Fox News Channel. It was Cheney’s way of saying that the old media don’t matter as much anymore. Good for him.
The administration is sending another message to the media with the investigation of the illegal leak of classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen about the NSA surveillance program into planned al-Qaeda operations on U.S. soil.
We’re not the only ones calling for Risen to be sent to jail if he doesn’t identify his “sources.” The audience at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was very angry over what the Times had done. Many applauded when I called for Risen to be prosecuted for publishing information benefiting al Qaeda. They also applauded when I said the major media didn’t deserve to have their sources protected by a proposed federal media shield bill.
One of our readers, Steve Ralston, has captured the essence of the controversy in some remarks he sent to me. With his permission I am quoting them here. He understands what the major media are up to in demanding special rights and protection in the form of a federal shield law. He also understands that the push for a shield law goes hand-in-hand with liberal efforts to put the brakes on the developing of alternative media.
“The actions of the New York Times were, in my opinion, reprehensible and they probably destroyed one of the most effective means of capturing information about terrorism-related activities our government had available,” he notes. “The disingenuous responses and comments by the editorial staff regarding their reasoning for disclosure of this NSA program, appear to be after the fact attempts to legally justify their irresponsible publication of classified secret intelligence related to communications monitoring. Obfuscation cannot be allowed to cover for the actions that may have violated the law.”
On the matter of a federal media shield law, he makes the essential point that “The media are braying for ‘special constitutional protections,’ so they can protect confidential sources. I feel this is a ruse. Those pushing for this special constitutional protection, are really looking for a legal excuse for reporting issues that may do serious harm to national security. While few may want to harm national security, it certainly appears a large segment of the media are so blinded by politically partisan feelings, they fail to recognize their actions are detrimental to national security. Additionally, based on an attitude many would call anti-American, some in the media may actually want to impede, impair, or totally stymie national security efforts.
“With special constitutional protection assured, I feel those opposed to America or the current administration may attempt to use that protection as a means of legally asserting a right to demand prosecution of any who may challenge their activities?”
He’s referring, of course, to efforts underway to “throttle competition of alternative or opposing media methods.”
He explains, “The Internet and Blogosphere have enjoyed tremendous success by countering perceived political partisanship of the old establishment mainstream media. Based on tremendous defeats at the election polls in ’04 and ’06, opponents of this administration were apoplectic. Rather than learn to use the medium effectively as the supposed ‘right’ did, the supposed ‘left’ has attacked the medium. Efforts bankrolled by wealthy financiers of administration opponents are actively working on plans to ‘regulate’ (read-control), the Internet and Blogsphere. The support of the old establishment mainstream media to create this regulation, can be reasonably suspected, as they flounder financially due to perceived partisanship.”
“Honor, truthfulness, respect, and credibility are all related. Once these virtues are lost, stolen, sold, or given away, in the name of partisanship, there is no way back to public trust. I seriously suspect the old establishment mainstream media have already sacrificed and/or lost this trust. I also seriously suspect they will do almost anything to regain it, even lend support to or actively push for any advantage, under any circumstances.
“I feel the New York Times, along with numerous other print medium and visual medium systems, have sacrificed their public trust in favor of a political ideal that a majority of the public disdains. Worse, many in the media condescendingly imply they are ‘entitled’ to be treated specially. They feel their opinions and interpretations of events must be accepted by all as true and correct, and any who disagree are to be mocked, disparaged, humiliated, and discredited.”
This helps explain the feeding frenzy over Dick Cheney and NBC News White House reporter David Gregory calling White House spokesman Scott McClellan a “jerk.”