On my flight Friday back from New York, I tuned to Fox News only to find their entire broadcast segment dedicated to wild speculation over President Obama's involvement in the Benghazi tragedy. Even though Obama was giving a speech on Student Loans and Education - broadcasted live on CNN, CNBC, and MSNBC. But Fox News was instead broadcasting speculation relating to Obama's culpability in the alleged Benghazi tragedy. Why has Fox continued beating this drum of scandal? Because it effectively distracts attention from current and relevant national issues. What else can Republicans and their supporting Media do but create political distractions designed to lead folks like those holding the signs at the bay front? Isn't hating Obama the number one priority for our Nation? Isn't it already 2014 election time?
As you know, I attack Fox News a lot, but the attention they get from me is well earned! Despite what some claim, I have attacked CNN and MSNBC for their partisanship, along with Krugman and other print-related pundits. But the breadth of distortions on Fox and the Right Wing ideologically oriented for-profit media is simply amazing to me. People I know that tune into MSNBC, religiously claim they weigh the information obtained on that network against their outward political biases. But viewers of Fox News and readers of The Blaze, The Daily Caller and The Drudge Report never seem to believe they may be misled by distorted news for political gain. Yes, we all have biases based upon our own world views, but the current Right Ring Media has seemingly "gone off the rails" when it comes to reporting the truth. Remember when they reported Obama spent over $200 Million a day for visiting India? Remember when they claimed Chuck Hagel had been paid to speak to a group called "Friends of Hamas?" Remember when they claimed Paul Krugman had declared personal bankruptcy and was therefore not qualified to preach to America about economics and fiscal policy? Remember "Critical Information #6, the prediction of economic ruin under President Obama?" Remember the outrage from the Right when they accused Dan Rather at CBS for reporting an alleged false story about George W. Bush's military service (or lack thereof). Remember Rather was dismissed from CBS because of all of that "outrage?" Remember? Can you sense how badly things have changed in our Media?
The latest "boo-boo" to surface is The Daily Caller's efforts to smear Obama by claiming he lied about his "distance" from the alleged IRS scandal of targeting Conservative groups' applications for 501(C)(4) tax exempt status. Seems The Daily Caller reported that despite claims to the contrary, Former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman had lied about the number of times he visited the White House between 2010 and 2012. By using Secret Service visitor logs, the online news outlet deduced that Shulman had visited the White House at least 147 times during that time frame, proving he lied when he previously claimed he had rarely visited the White House. So if Shulman is lying about the number of visits to the White House, surely Obama is lying too! When did fact checking no longer be required before reporting sensationalized rhetoric? Once The Daily Caller claims were published, Fox News and others, including Politico, published articles with headlines linking the IRS "scandal" to Obama. Politico's headline "Shulman's White House Visits Reflect IRS Role" and Fox's Bill O'Reilly called the logs the "Smoking Gun" linking Obama to the scandal like the Watergate Tapes linked Nixon. Except the original claim that Shulman visited the White House at least 147 times has been proven to be incorrect. Will we ever see an apology from these alleged "News" outlets? Only Politico updated their story after The Atlantic report, on page two of their original online article, while keeping their original inflammatory headline.
According to the article entitled "The Fake Story About IRS Commissioner and the White House (see http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/05/the-fake-story-about-the-irs-commissioner-and-the-white-house/276399/), Shulman visited the White House no more than 36 times during that period! Seems The Atlantic points our that every member of the White House Press Pool knows Secret Service logs include visits to the Old Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House where many Executive agencies and policy wonks work and that The Daily Caller and its followers of the story willfully ignored that fact by reporting the "Scandalous" and "Smoking Gun" stories!
The bottom line is that we can no longer trust our Media to serve the public in their once traditional role as the "Fourth Rail" of government whose primary objective was to report the truth about our political process. Instead, they have become communication adjuncts to the political parties, willingly providing divisive fake stories designed solely to promote one political ideology over another and to inflame the passions of ill-informed Americans. Why else would people hit the streets demanding support for possession of firearms under the Second Amendment when no one has proposed a sweeping ban on all firearms? Why else would the much hated and despised IRS only now become a Tea Party boogeyman when it has been hated by Americans since it began collecting taxes in the 20th Century? Why else would news men and women knowingly publish fake reports about government leaders?
If we can no longer trust our Media to be truly honest and true to American values, we will have to find our own pathways to the truth. After all, isn't truth and justice the American Way? As President Abraham Lincoln once said, "Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of; the tree is the real thing." Isn't it time for today's Media to return to its traditional role and go back to being the "real thing?"