My undergraduate degree is in journalism, and my graduate degree is in history. That just means I’m interested in the history of journalism.
In our constitutional republic, the importance of a free and honest press and informed citizenry can’t be overstated. As I look at the state of media today, I’m thankful that independent news outlets have broken the information industrial complex’s monopoly on the flow of information. Americans don’t have to rely on just a handful of sources to gather news and information. Carolina Journal has certainly been a part of breaking that monopoly.
As I reflect on the history of journalism, I’m saddened by what most traditional media outlets have become — unquestioning, uncritical propagandists for the leftist narrative that comes from the Democratic executive branches in both Washington, D.C., and North Carolina. It also includes a loathing for almost anyone on the right. This isn’t the first time that the media have been used as a tool of the ruling executive class, proving that history does repeat itself.
The closest comparison comes from World War I. In April 1917, following an official declaration of war on Germany, President Woodrow Wilson created the Committee on Public Information. Led by former investigative journalist George Creel, CPI’s mission was to change public opinion by selling the war to the American public. CPI bombarded Americans with print and newsreels portraying Germans as brutish apes who must be destroyed. It was against the law to express doubt publicly about the war or criticize the federal government over it. News outlets complied, and it worked.
The constant propaganda gave rise to vigilantes. Casual criticism could result in a mob beating, being tarred and feathered, or worse. No jury would convict perpetrators out of fear of reprisal. Sound familiar?
Fast forward to today. Brown University Professor Glenn Loury, a black man, speaking to the University of Idaho Law School chapter of the Federalist Society, said mob rule and especially mobs around a courthouse are a “catastrophe for democracy.” Referencing the Derek Chauvin trial, Loury said mobs violate the rights of everyone, including the accused. Unfortunately, no media covered Loury’s analysis.
The deference shown to the Democrat Party narrative of racial divisiveness, systemic racism, and white privilege reminds me of how the media complied with the ruling class in World War I. Antifa and Black Lives Matter violence and arson that devastated American cities, took over local government buildings, left dozens of policemen injured, and destroyed federal property are deemed “peaceful protests.” Meanwhile, those who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 are tantamount to traitors guilty of treason. Cancel culture and its virtual mob destroys the lives of anyone who doesn’t bend a knee to wokeness. President Joe Biden calls Georgia’s new election integrity laws “Jim Crow on steroids” or “Jim Crow 2.0,” and the media doesn’t ask critical questions. We are so far from Martin Luther King’s dream of a colorblind society, yet no journalist seems willing to challenge leftist orthodoxy.
Fortunately, North Carolina’s first black lieutenant governor, Mark Robinson, a Republican, isn’t afraid. With defiance and emotion, he testified in front of a Democrat majority on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in a hearing titled “Oversight of the Voting Rights Act: The Evolving Landscape of Voting Discrimination.” In his opening remarks, he said it was “insane” to equate voter ID laws with the harassment, threat of violence, even death that occurred during the Jim Crow era.
Like Robinson, Loury isn’t afraid. He feels called to “tell the truth” and is frustrated with the prevailing narrative and the media’s obsession with racial divisiveness. He is also quick to say that there is no Jim Crow in the United States. I encourage you to find him at bloggingheads.tv.
Media outlets cover Robinson’s comments, but he doesn’t get the deference Democrats enjoy. In fact, just the opposite. Not long ago, WRAL published a cartoon depicting Robinson as a Klansman — complete with a white hood and robe — for daring to challenge North Carolina’s new radical social studies standards rooted in racial divisiveness.
It’s a far different media experience for North Carolina’s Democrat governor, Roy Cooper, a white man who gets treated with kid gloves. Cooper hasn’t held an in-person press conference in 13 months. However, he has marched in person with Black Lives Matters at the height of the pandemic and his government-ordered lockdown. Recently he, along with a couple of hundred other people, attended the No Vets Left Behind rally. We have pictures. He also delivered his State of the State speech in person to the full legislature, Council of State, and his cabinet.
Given that we know he goes out in public, how is it that he can’t have anything other than a tightly controlled virtual press conference? More importantly, why doesn’t any corporate media outlet care enough to ask? I’ll answer my own rhetorical question. Either they have no sense of curiosity, which should be a fatal flaw for any journalist, or they share his worldview, which means they are more like propagandists parroting whatever Cooper’s press office releases. It’s embarrassing.
Today, the government doesn’t have to arrest an individual or shut down a news outlet that doesn’t comply. Big Tech is the government’s muscle. Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and others de-platform or censor people and outlets critical of the Democrat narrative. Cancel culture shames others into compliance. Like they did in World War I, journalists may awaken with a propaganda hangover and recognize that they’ve been used by the ruling class. In that case, I hope history repeats itself.
This article was originally published in the May print edition of Carolina Journal.