Washington D.C. is a mess. This seems to be news to many people, but anyone who pays the slightest attention to politics has known this for decades. The runaway bureaucracies, the unelected tyrants lurking in the shadows, dark money being exchanged for policies that may not have the best interests of “we the people” in mind, liberty-eroding lunatics getting elected into positions of power, high tax rates, and the $23 trillion national debt have all accumulated over the years to form the exact government our Founding Fathers warned us about as they debated the contents of the Constitution. For years, the general public was mercifully cushioned from much of the chaos of the three-headed D.C. hydra by slow-moving media and long news cycles. Those days are over thanks to 24-hour news cycles and social media. Politics, political rhetoric, political news, and shameless political pandering fill our news feeds at every turn. Yet we still rarely find the unbiased truth about our representatives and their actions.
Right now, American media is obsessed with reporting on House Democrats calling for the President’s impeachment while it also studiously ignores the Republicans’ efforts to investigate the prior administration’s possibly illicit activities involving the Trump campaign and early administration. Likewise, the talking heads on the TV screen are reporting economic chaos and global destruction as a direct result of the current President’s policies, while the numbers seem to indicate things are working much better than the previous administration insisted they ever could again. One day, senators are screeching about a crisis at the southern border; the next day is filled with news clips of the same senators denying any issues there at all. It’s little wonder that a disturbing number of confused Americans tune out of politics and blindly assume that somehow everything is adequately handled by the federal government, which is being scrutinized by the big corporate media.
Very little is being handled adequately by the federal government or watched by the media giants, though. The ugly truth is that our nation’s capital is spiraling out of control and has been for quite some time. And big-money media has taken to running cover stories and hit pieces to camouflage the problem. The bulk of the U.S. population is only starting to notice this because an outsider who was elected to the White House has disregarded the subtle nuances of “politics as usual” and continues to ramrod through the Oval Office knocking over the policies of his predecessors and calling out the media for their practices. This does not sit well with many career politicians on both sides of the aisle, nor several of the mainstream media outlets who have become the propaganda arm of the left side of the D.C. establishment over the years.
Regardless of one’s feelings for the sitting President, it must be argued that one of his administration’s greatest accomplishments has been to peel back the layers of corruption, tyranny, and deliberate misrepresentation running rampant in the government, and the coordinated assistance coming from the big-money media that reports on it. The giant rat’s nest has been exposed to the general public, and the picture of the incestuous relationship between the beltway and big media gets a little clearer every day. It has become so clear that even the simplest of souls can detect it now, and they scratch their heads in wonder at the freak show on the east coast.
Although some may believe that this level of chaos has never been experienced before, history shows us that the United States has endured several periods of chaotic government. From Andrew Jackson, who dismissed his entire cabinet over a social affair, to Abraham Lincoln’s inheritance of a rapidly dividing nation, John F. Kennedy’s close call with the Soviet Union, to Jimmy Carter’s embarrassing family members and his own embarrassing ineptitude, Richard Nixon’s paranoia, and even Bill Clinton’s sexual exploits in the oval office, Washington D.C. has seen its share of tumultuous eras. The only thing that has really changed over the years, however, is the access to convenient technology that allows common citizens to root out and expose both the government and a potentially biased press.
The nation’s Founders knew time would not favor our continuing freedom, and therefore they gave us the tools to expose and short-circuit corruption and collaboration in our nation’s capital. One of the most important tools, and becoming more significant in this age, is the freedom of the press.
“No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press.” - Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson (and Benjamin Franklin) would have adored the technology we wield today and would be fascinated at the speed and frequency which reports travel from the writer to the reader. Never in the history of mankind have so many people been able to communicate on a global scale so easily. But this poses a problem, especially for the old institutions of government and media.
It is getting harder for career politicians to distract voters’ attention away from political incompetence when the line of communication between voter and politician is a mere Twitter click away, bypassing the established media in the process. Likewise, several giant media outlets are having a very hard time pedaling potentially biased rhetoric when the facts (or lack thereof) can be verified or debunked, and broadcast worldwide by anyone with a little knowledge, a cell phone, and a social media account. In short, everyone has the potential to be somewhat of a journalist, which has created an interesting predicament for established media sources and politicians alike. Currently, attempts are being made in the corporate offices of social media companies to control the unruly mob of ‘reporters’. Shadow banning, account banning, word banning, and other control measures are being put in place in an attempt to keep the "power of the press" in the hands of corporate media giants. The good news is, this is failing. As quickly as social media policies are put in place, new sites arise that allow unbridled posts, and people are seeking them out. Outside of completely dismantling the internet, there is little chance the big media dinosaurs will be able to regain the influence they once had on the common person. Smaller internet news outlets, blogs, and social media posts are rapidly replacing the 6 o'clock news and the 24-hour news channels. Yet that poses a problem as well. Who does one believe?
That, dear readers, has been the issue since the very first cuneiform was stamped into a muddy slab touting the divine providence of the tribal king. The onus is, and has always been, on the reader to decide what is accurate and what is not. "Fake news" is nothing new, and example after example can be cited throughout the ages. Being in the know and protecting yourself from the brain-numbing effects of propaganda requires effort and discernment. Multiple sources from important stories must be cross-checked to discover where the truth lies. In short, it is not up to them; it is up to you. Being a savvy consumer of news requires almost as much research as it takes to write an article. Knowing what is taking place in our nation's capital requires research and multiple viewpoints as well.
Washington D.C. continues to whirl like an F3 tornado, and giant corporate media continues to assure everyone that their take on events is the accurate one. But you, the news consumer and social media account holder, have become the watchdog now. Take your title seriously and continue to report the inaccuracies, hypocrisies, and propaganda pouring out of the Capital. The truth will eventually rise to the top if we proactively seek it.
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.