The UK Guardian deactivated its online poll that asked readers to vote for their ‘Person of the Year’. The reason? J.K. Rowling, who has breached the safe space of the Woke by daring to say that biological sex is ‘a thing’, was allegedly looming in to take the top spot.
While defenders of the publication have denied this narrative, The Guardian released a list of people on the last day of 2021 detailing who their readers had voted for as Person of the Year. It mentions Rowling in the lead-up, and also in the same breath as ‘gender issues’. However, the article does not present the number of votes that each nominee had received, making the poll – as a reflection of their readers’ views – more or less pointless.
While such efforts to manufacture consensus are not atypical of left-wing media, the deeper question posed by such examples is the old one asked by the Roman poet Juvenal: ‘Who will guard the guardians?’
While given the moniker The Fourth Estate, a large swathe of the press has abandoned their job of informing the public with facts and instead are acting as the PR wing of their chosen political side. Given the significant leftward shift of the media in recent decades, the problem is most acute on the left.
Trump’s presidency and the Covid pandemic have precipitated the ironic and disdainful behaviour of the media for all to see.
For example, the media was only too happy to advocate the idea that the Covid vaccines developed under Trump’s presidency in record time were ‘rushed and unsafe’ before the 2020 election. Whereas after the election, with the Democrats in power, the media did a 180. They now admonish anyone who might hesitate to take up the very same vaccines without so much as a blush.
While the media incessantly reported on Trump’s supposed Russia collusion during his presidency, they remain mute on recent investigations that found the entire thing to be a political deceit with worrying connections to the Clinton campaign. Recently, Charlie Chester, a CNN director, was filmed confessing that, ‘Our focus was to get Trump out of office.’ This is perhaps the most honest thing said by left-wing corporate media about themselves in recent memory.
These once august media outlets have ensured that the landscape looks like what W. H. Auden wrote to be ‘a monologue that is not looking for an answer, but an echo’.
Some recent and salient examples can be found when the New York Times, in 2020, forced senior editor James Bennett to resign because he dared to allow an op-ed to be published from an elected Republican Senator, Tom Cotton. Days later, journalist Bari Weiss also resigned from the Grey Lady, citing ‘bullying’ and enforced ideological conformity. Ariana Pekary, an MSNBC producer, quit in the same year due to her opinion regarding the network’s conduct and standard of reporting during the pandemic and presidential election. ‘The primary focus quickly became what Donald Trump was doing (poorly) to address the crisis, rather than the science itself,’ wrote Pekary.
Reflecting the costive, divisive, and dictatorial ecosystem cultivated by authoritarian-minded journalists, comes a disturbing CATO Institute poll published in July 2020. It found that an astonishing 62 per cent of Americans have political views they are afraid to share. Indeed, the only political group where the majority feel that they can share their political views freely are the strong liberals. To be sure, if Rowling – who is a billionaire female author beloved by a generation – can be the victim of online abuse, death threats, and doxing for stating biology 101, not many will want to stick their head above the parapet.
What these media heads do not understand is that the heavy-handed and pompous fashion by which they try to enforce an ideological uniformity will create a consensus that is only skin deep.
A recent Gallup poll in the US found that the overall trust in the media has reached the second lowest level ever recorded since 1997, at 36 per cent. It is dismal for Republicans (11 per cent), not much better for Independents (31 per cent), leaving only a majority of Democrats (68 per cent) who trust the media. Similar polls across the world also found that trust in the media has been declining over the past years. Even The Guardian has reported on the significant decline in the trust in the UK media since 2015, with the majority of people wanting more ‘neutral and detached’ reporting. Its Person of the Year poll is not that.
Despite the best efforts of the left-wing media, Brexit, Trump’s victory in 2016 and record breaking performance in the 2020 election, the pandemic, and the recent Republican win in the Virginian gubernatorial election all show that the over-exuberance of the leftists – in the face of their perceived influence – has spelled their doom.
The 2022 US midterms is poised to be ugly for the left. But in the meantime, the damage the media rot has done to public discourse, to social harmony, and to the reputation of journalism, deserves some reckoning.
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