When the Media Gets It Wrong…Intentionally.
The major news media in the United States has failed its purpose and can no longer be trusted as a source of reliable, thorough, and objective information.
The Big 3 as they are known, ABC, CBS, and NBC, once a staple of the news and information diet of this nation have, by their own action or perhaps better stated inaction, alienated viewers and cast a shadow of doubt on the continuing freedom of this nation.
“Without a free press there can be no free society. That is axiomatic. However, freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of a free society. The scope and nature of the constitutional guarantee of the freedom of the press are to be viewed and applied in that light.” – Felix Frankfurter, New York Times, November 28, 1954
Thomas Jefferson said, “I deplore… the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed and the malignity, the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit of those who write for them… These ordures are rapidly depraving the public taste and lessening its relish for sound food. As vehicles of information and a curb on our funtionaries, they have rendered themselves useless by forfeiting all title to belief… This has, in a great degree, been produced by the violence and malignity of party spirit.”
“The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood.”
The power of the word in the hands of those viewed, read, or listened to by millions is immeasurable and when abused can have abhorrent consequences.
I believe our major news outlets are engaged in that abuse. Whether in ignorance by coercion, or as a willful accessory the Big 3 and many of the cable news networks and new media are not providing the citizens of this country with the information they need to make important social, political, and personal decisions.
The most recent glaring example comes in a report from the recent gun control hearings before a General Assembly task force in Hartford, CT where over 600 people, including many of the parents of the children killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting in December, were invited to share their thoughts and feelings on gun control and what might be done to curb the violence and prevent another Sandy Hook from happening again.
Comments came from all sides of this debate. More than 1500 people attended. The mood was somber as parents of lost children spoke. Some in favor of more gun control others against it. But it was the comments of one father, Neil Heslin, and reactive comments from some members of the audience that have been thrust into the forefront of the debate and are now being used to “prove” the insensitivity and coarseness of the argument on the right.
At one point during his comments Mr. Heslin turns and questions the audience, “I ask if there’s anybody in this room that can give me one reason or challenge this question … why anybody in this room needs to have one of these assault-style weapons or military weapons or high-capacity clips.” At this point Mr. Heslin pauses and looks around him as if awaiting an answer, when none came he said, “Not one person can answer that question.”
That’s when you hear several voices say, “The 2nd Amendment”. The few who answered did it respectfully. There was no shouting or hint of anger in the voices heard. Yet it has been widely reported that Mr. Heslin was “heckled” by the crowd. MSNBC aired a clip of the Mr. Heslin’s comment and the reaction to his question, however, they curiously edited out the part where Mr. Heslin pauses, looks for an answer, and then makes his statement that there is no answer. This selective editing (which NBC has now become infamous for with Andrea Mitchell’s doctored Mitt Romney clips and selectively editing the George Zimmerman police tapes) makes it look like Mr. Heslin indeed was being heckled. However, when you view the full video including Mr. Heslin’s question it becomes self-evident that no “heckling” occurred at all.
I’ve included the unedited video of Mr. Heslin’s comments so you can be the judge. Forward to about the 15 minute mark to hear the relevant comments.
Unfortunately, those who watch MSNBC or read articles posted in The Daily Beast, Slate (updated), The Huffington Post, Gawker or even Hearst Communications CT Post, a Connecticut newspaper, were provided a biased and incorrect perception of what actually occurred. Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed Politics, CNN’s Piers Morgan, David Frum of the Daily Beast, Eric Boehlert of Media Matters, Michael Skolnik of the Global Grind, Democrat Congressman Jim Himes, Talking Point Memo’s Josh Marshall, and Vanity Fair’s Kurt Eichenwald all chimed in on their twitter feeds condemning the “gun nuts”, “gunners”, and “right wingers” for being soulless, horrible, uncivil human beings.
Here is the “edited” version shown at MSNBC’s website. Note the verbiage used in the URL string.
Piers Morgan, the former tabloid chief and talent show judge, who now has his own “News Show” on CNN tweeted this gem after going to his unbiased objective news source Huffington Post.
Will any of these “news resources” admit their mistake, retract their false reports, and apologize for smearing decent people who happen to believe the 2nd Amendment is as relevant today as it was 235 years ago?
Don’t hold your breath.
It’s time for all Americans to demand the media return to its founding principles and begin reporting the truth. Until they change, we the people, can take our eyes and ears away from them. Be proactive. Contact the media networks. Make your voice heard. It makes a difference. They will notice.
Editor’s note: Slate has updated their story and is now saying it wasn’t heckling. Kudos to Slate for the correction. David Frum of theDailyBeast has also recanted his initial remarks on twitter but with a heavy helping of aspersion to go with it.