CNN Embarrasses itself with Artificial Controversy Re: Trump and the Press

2019 06 21 trump prison reporter

Exposing and dissecting journalistic bias is not my favorite pastime. I understand completely the indispensability of media analysis, especially for those who are receiving their first dose of the red pill, but I would much rather write in defense of a principle or an idea than I would write in critique of something someone else said. However, sometimes the dishonesty and corruption of corporate news becomes so overwhelmingly noxious that I just can’t seem to keep quiet. Today brings us a contemptible example, with CNN declaring that President Donald Trump has threatened to send a journalist to prison.

When I read the headline, I thought: “Oh, lovely. Has the media finally noticed Julian Assange?” Heavens, no: the guardians of truth have no time to trouble themselves with that triviality. No, the alarm has been sounded because Trump dared to tell a reporter—unnamed at the moment, but sure to have his name proliferated on Twitter before I complete this sentence—that he could be guilty of a criminal offense, and subsequently imprisoned, if he released a picture of a letter that Trump possibly forbade him to read. The letter in question was allegedly written by Kim Jong-un, so, of course, it was of interest, and that’s how all the brouhaha started.

We must tread carefully. There is an argument to be made that the letter, whatever its contents, is in the public interest, and therefore should be published, and to hell with Trump’s objections. That is entirely possible, and if WikiLeaks had published the letter, then we would, presumably, be all in favor of its publication. On that basis, I have no immediate objection to the reporter attempting to reproduce the letter, and it is entirely possible that I would defend that reporter in the incredibly unlikely event that Trump actually pushes for his prosecution.

However, it is painfully clear that there is no higher principle or moral grounding in the corporate media’s haste to defend the reporter. The corporate media is defending this reporter and promoting this story because it furnishes another pointless opportunity to depict Trump as a tyrant—and, in turn, to depict the engineers of the corporate media as the guardians on the walls of world freedom. They aren’t, of course: in the assault on the public with misinformation, they are just as culpable as Trump. Yet, this story—which, in all likelihood, amounts to one publicity hound’s attempt to snag a photo of inconsequential tripe dotted up by one of Kim Jong-un’s secretaries—serves as a straw man that the corporate media can knock over, and thereby depict itself as the strongman who fights back against Trump the bullyboy.

Perhaps this energy could be directed toward a worthier goal. By way of a “for instance”, they may want to look into the Trump Administration’s active war, actually occurring, currently ongoing, against Julian Assange. That story is the real story of the tyrannical Trump undermining the First Amendment and taking down a true and existing victim in the process. Isn’t it strange: every day, the corporate media warns us that Trump is planning an assault on our freedom of expression, and it is only because of the indefatigability of the courageous journalists at CNN and MSNBC that he is thwarted in his every transgressive effort; and yet, when Trump is really trying to take away our civil liberties, nobody in the corporate media even blinks.

Even if Assange is the monster that the government makes him out to be, shouldn’t the president’s many critics in the corporate media play it safe and give the WikiLeaks founder the benefit of the doubt? Shouldn’t they stand in opposition to Trump on basic principle? So, what makes this case any different? At the very least, their immediate acceptance of the narrative offered by the Trump Administration is extremely suspicious: can you imagine them following this president, without the slightest hesitation or even a single question, on literally any other issue, topic, or controversy? It is this cognitive dissonance, rather than the weakness of the arguments against Assange, that I find so endlessly fascinating.

Today’s melodrama on CNN is hardly the only example of this cognitive dissonance, and if it had taken place a year ago, I probably wouldn’t care to write about it. However, in light of the corporate media’s dumbfounding eight-week silence in the wake of Assange’s arrest, this affectation over a snapshot of a letter is too tasteless to bear. If the editors of CNN have no respect for their readers, then they may at least have some respect for themselves, and kindly grow up before they prove themselves to be even bigger infants.

If you want to read the claptrap, here’s the link:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/21/media/time-photographer-trump-threat/index.html

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