May 11th, 2007

Media Asphyxiation

photo credit: jephunk

I just want to add one related point here. Much of the intense dissatisfaction I have with the American media arises out of the fact that these extraordinary developments — the dominant political movement advocating lawlessness and tyranny out in the open in The Wall St. Journal and Weekly Standard — receive almost no attention.

While the Bush administration expressly adopts these theories to detain American citizens without charges, engage in domestic surveillance on Americans in clear violation of the laws we enacted to limit that power, and asserts a general right to disregard laws which interfere with the President’s will, our media still barely discusses those issues.

They write about John Edwards’ haircut and John Kerry’s windsurfing and which political consultant has whispered what gossip to them about some painfully petty matter, but the extraordinary fact that our nation’s dominant political movement is openly advocating the most radical theories of tyranny — that “liberties are dangerous and law does not apply” — is barely noticed by our most prestigious and self-loving national journalists. Merely to take note of that failure is to demonstrate how profoundly dysfunctional our political press is. (Glenn Greenwald, The right’s explicit and candid rejection of “the rule of law”)

Amen. What passes as news these days is ridiculous. The corporate media empire commits both sins of omission and commission—omission by neglecting to report on issues that actually concern our sovereignty (except for Lou Dobbs), national stability, and economic integrity, and commission because they spin stories, focus on the irrelevant and inconsequential, and pick and choose what the viewer will be exposed to as “news”.

Said Thomas Jefferson:

The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. It is a melancholy truth that a suppression of the press could not more completely deprive the nation of its benefits than is done by its abandoned prostitution to falsehood. (Thomas Jefferson, via Quoty)

I present to you Connor’s five-step program for actually figuring out what is going on in the world:

  1. Turn off your TV. No Fox News. No CNN. No local news.
  2. Embrace the godsend that is independent journalism. For starters, see News With Views, Lew Rockwell, Project Censored, and World Net Daily.
  3. Develop a strong sense of distrust and skepticism for anything promoted, reported by, or opined upon by the establishment media (or worse yet, the government).
  4. Look hard for the truth. Chances are, it’s far different than what your favorite journalist believes it to be.
  5. Open your eyes, shake off partisan politics, and like Mr. Keating suggested in Dead Poet’s Society, rise high to see things from a different perspective.

The seeker of truth will soon realize (if he hasn’t already) that it is harder to come by than simply watching The O’Reilly Factor or the local news at nine. It requires skepticism, research, and the refusal to accept at face value whatever is offered as fact.

Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold. (Leo Tolstoy, via Quoty)

13 Responses to “Media Asphyxiation”

  1. Aaron
    May 11, 2007 at 8:18 am #

    Great post. And I love your quotations. Allow me to add one rule:
    Rule 0 (Because it should come before your number 1):
    Ask the right question OR Ask a meaningful question.

    To determine if your question is meaningful, run it through a series of tests:
    – Could this question have a definitive answer?
    – Could the pursuit of this answer lead to positive outcomes in mine and other’s lives?
    – If (when) I discover the answer, will it make a positive difference in mine or others’ lives?
    – Does this question have a more important question at its root?
    – etc.

    I submit that while the search for truch is a noble engagement, it is important that we are thoughtful in the types of truths we seek. Some truths really don’t matter in the eternal perspective of things. We can’t waste our time. . .

  2. Kelly Winterton
    May 11, 2007 at 8:46 am #

    I read recently, somewhere, about a survey done of people who do NOT watch any network news, but watch John Stewart and Jay Leno. These watchers of Stewart and Leno took a quiz on current news events and scored much higher than those who do watch CNN and FOX.

    My own personal story: I served mission to Germany in 74 to 76. Wanted to keep my language skills sharp, and keep up with current European events. But, back in the 70s, to subscribe to a German newspaper while living in Utah was unthinkable. Then, late 90s I got internet at work. My dream of reading German newspapers became incredibly easy. Each morning I’d scan German headlines. Just harmless fun at first. Then came the lead-up to the Iraq War. Cheney (and all US media, parroting) used rhetoric and fearmongering to claim that Hussein has WMD and will use them against our allies and US. Germany uses sources and logic and claims WMD will never be found.

    I told my wife then that I would do an experiment, to find out if German news sources were correct or whether US news sources were correct. But even before the first bombs fell in that “shock and awe” bombing of Baghdad, I was openly proclaiming to family and friends that we were never going to find those WMD Cheney talked about. I feared I might have to eat my words, but I and my German news sources never had to eat any words.

    My German friends would email me and ask me pointed questions like why we were torturing people in Abu Ghraib and other black prison sites, and practicing extraordinary rendition. They knew about these events WEEKS before the stories finally came out in the US news.

    I started to awaken to our awful situation with the mainstream news media in USA. I found out that what Washington labeled an “intelligence failure” was no failure at all. The lies still persist to this day when they claim “the whole world thought that Saddam had WMD.” No, the whole world knew he DIDN’T have WMD.

    I’ve since found out that even German news sources don’t quite tell the whole truth either, but are much more trustworthy than our news.

    I’ve also found out that you don’t have to be able to read a foreign language to find the truth about our own country, there are trusted ways to find the truth in the English language. Just don’t look to find these sources of truth on the TV or in the newspapers. Connor has listed a couple of these sources.

    So, if the media then is covering up the truth, what else aren’t they telling us? Try googling the 9/11 attacks for starters.

  3. Aaron
    May 11, 2007 at 11:24 am #

    Person A tells me something. I believe it.

    Person B tells me something that is in conflict with what person A said. What do I do?

    Sometimes, people tend to believe the most recent version, simply because it conflicts with what they had previously heard; they presume that the latest story must be revealing something that was at best undiscovered, or at worst “covered-up”. While this is sometimes the case, it isn’t always so.

    It is more important to consider the source. Frankly, that is all that matters in truth-seeking. All sources have bias, and all people have agendas when presenting information.

    I won’t opine on the example of WMDs in Iraq, nor will I touch the 9/11 topic. I don’t know a whole lot about either of those things, nor do I wish to argue the facts on those cases. Just making a general statement about the topic.

  4. Aaron
    May 11, 2007 at 11:26 am #

    Just have to say that I love your choice of graphics and pictures for your posts.

  5. Mark IV
    May 11, 2007 at 1:42 pm #


    I’m laughing my head off. World Net Daily? Look here:

    It is incredible that you think Greenwald is a credible source. He has been caught lying numerous times in the past year. He is not entitled to call anybody else ridiculous.

  6. Connor
    May 11, 2007 at 1:47 pm #


    I’m well aware of that WND article (saw it last night, and submitted it to Sustain’d).

    How is the article’s subject reflective of WND? Of course, WND and other independent journalists and organizations are not without their problems, errors, or misguidedness. But that’s like saying that since the Book of Mormon speaks of adultery, that the book isn’t worth reading. Simply because WND reported on a crazed pastor denouncing Mormons doesn’t mean that WND is not worth reading… Catch my drift?

    It is incredible that you think Greenwald is a credible source.

    First off, did I claim that he is 100% credible? Merely by citing a statement he made on a blog post, am I then rubber stamping everything he says and writes? Second, I’d love to see any reports of his alleged lies you speak of. I do indeed find his blog posts quite enlightening to read, so anything you can provide to support your assertion would be most welcome.

  7. Dan
    May 11, 2007 at 2:00 pm #


    Are you really recommending the World Net Daily for “credible” news? Are you serious? Dude…

  8. Connor
    May 11, 2007 at 2:04 pm #


    Nowhere in my recommendation did I label them as “credible”. I labeled them as “independent”.

    Does WND make mistakes, have some bias, etc.? Yes. Does any body of journalists? Most certainly.

    However, there are a bevy of subjects you can learn from WND and other independent journalists that you won’t hear on the local news at nine, items of far more import to our nation than who won American Idol last night.

  9. Mark IV
    May 11, 2007 at 2:11 pm #


    Sorry, I didn’t make my point clearly. I did not mean to single out one media outlet in particular, and I don’t think that article is necessarily reflective of WND. My point is that every media outlet has an egenda, and the ones that you cite, while better than some, are no better than a lot of others. In particular, I’m troubled that so many at Lew Rockwell seem to be convinced that 9/11 was an inside job.

    As to Greenwald, google Greenwald + sock puppet. Although he denies it, the evidence leads back to his IP address.

  10. Dan
    May 11, 2007 at 3:07 pm #

    “independent journalism?” independent of what? the facts?

    Funny thing is, though, I just perused WND’s site, and on their front page, they have tons of links to stories from ABCNews, etc. So outside the loonies they allow to opine (like Vox Day), just what “journalistic” stuff does the WND do besides link to real journalists?

  11. Kelly Winterton
    May 11, 2007 at 3:15 pm #

    I like

  12. Connor
    January 27, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    This is a great article on this subject. A snippet:

    When the truth cuts against the position of the US government, conservatives see it as “liberal.”

    When propaganda supports the government’s lies, conservatives see it as “patriotic.”

    Journalists disappeared from media management and were replaced by corporate advertising executives with an eye not to offend any source of advertising revenue, and certainly not to offend the government, which controls the broadcast licenses that comprise the value of the mega-companies. Today reporters write the stories that their masters want to hear, or they are out. The function of editors is to make certain that no uncomfortable information reaches the public.


  1. 5 ways to really understand news | Russell Page - May 11, 2007

    […] Connor Boyack is a real statesman, and he’w written one of the best articles I have ever read about the problem with the media in this country. Here’s a snippet: I present to you Connor’s five-step program to actually figuring out what is going on in the world: […]

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