We’d Rather Not

The Aspen Daily News reports that Dan “What’s the Throbbing Memo, Kenneth?” Rather wants President Obama to save the MSM.

Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather called on President Barack Obama to form a White House commission to help save the press Tuesday night in an impassioned speech at the Aspen Institute. “I personally encourage the president to establish a White House commission on public media,” the legendary newsman said.

“Legendary”, one should point out, is a double-edged adjective. It’s not necessarily a good thing, depending on what you’re legendary for.

Such a commission on media reform, Rather said, ought to make recommendations on saving journalism jobs and creating new business models to keep news organizations alive.

One would think that it would be the job of the people running the MSM to create new business models (the internet didn’t just show up last year overnight) and save the jobs of journalists. (CBS could save 200 reporters’ jobs by firing Katie Couric.) The MSM’s current misfortunes are almost entirely self-inflicted; and if they want to put themselves out of business, well, one could say that’s their business.

At stake, he argued, is the very survival of American democracy. “A truly free and independent press is the red beating heart of democracy and freedom,” Rather said in an interview yesterday afternoon. “This is not something just for journalists to be concerned about, and the loss of jobs and the loss of newspapers, and the diminution of the American press’ traditional role of being the watchdog on power. This is something every citizen should be concerned about.”

Because nothing guarantees a “truly free and independent press” like getting the government involved in its workings! Particularly the current media, which practically works for the current President anyway. Biased and dishonest left-wing hacks like Dan Rather were doing their best to destroy MSM credibility and bring it down long before the internet made it obsolete. Or will the government be bailing out buggy-whip manufacturers next?

Rather, who has been a working reporter for more than six decades and currently hosts “Dan Rather Reports” on HDNet, pointed out that there are precedents for such national commissions, which have been used to help other at-risk industries. Corporate and political influence on newsrooms, along with the conflation of news and entertainment, has created what Rather called “the dumbing down and sleazing up of what we see on the news.”

And again, he thinks bringing in Obama will reduce political influence on newsrooms? Given Dan Rather’s long and colorful career (there’s a reason why he’s reduced to hosting “Dan Rather Reports” on HDNet), it’s really impossible to know for sure whether he’s knowingly peddling this bullshit, or if he’s actually crazy enough to believe what he’s saying. He’s done both with a frequency which astounds everyone but Kenneth.

It has also thinned the amount of investigative and international journalism. The latter loss of correspondents covering America’s two foreign wars, Rather opined, is both a critical detriment to the nation and a disservice to our troops. Tears welled in the lifelong reporter’s eyes as he discussed the dwindling number of war correspondents. “I feel particularly strong about coverage of the wars,” he said, noting that covering the war in Afghanistan is his top priority on his HDNet program. “No apologies, both as a journalist and as a citizen I just can’t stand to leave those guys out there, fighting, dying, bleeding, getting torn up and say, ‘Look, it’s page 14 news.’ Or ‘Sorry, not on tonight’s newscast.’ It’s an example of the problem, that and not having the watchdogs.”

Remember all those embedded reporters that went into Iraq with the US troops? Do you remember what happened to them? Their reports were regularly dismissed or edited into something unrecognizable by their superiors back in the states because their honest reporting of the facts on the ground was at odds with the narrative the left-wing “we can’t win” media was trying to push at home. Finally, the disconnect between the actual reporting on-site and what the media wanted to hear and report became so huge that the practice of embedding troops with the military was sharply reduced, if not ended, by almost all MSM establishments. With a total lack of shame, the MSM blamed the “failure” of the embedded media experiment on the bias of the embedded reporters! (Note that the MSM, even after this, continued to “embed” reporters with the insurgents and other enemies.) It was left-wing hacks like Rather that caused the “dwindling number of war correspondents” because the war correspondents failed to return the false anti-American stories that the MSM wanted – the sort of stories Rather had always been proud to turn in. Again, this is problem the MSM brought upon itself.

The free press, as established by the First Amendment to the Constitution, ought to operate as a public trust, not solely as a money-making endeavor, Rather argued, and it’s time the government make an effort to ensure the survival of the free press.

The “free press” is completely incompatible with “public trust” and “government interference”.

If not the government, he suggested, then an organization like the Carnegie Foundation should take it on. Without action, he predicted, America will lose its independent media.

Yep, if not the government, then the Carnegie Foundation, and their Progressive Media Project. Again, either Dan Rather is completely deluded about the extreme left-wing bias of the media, the President, and everyone else he looks to for “help”, or he’s deliberately proposing a recipe for restoring a liberal monopoly on the media – the kind which existed before the internet and talk radio – under government control. This isn’t “free” or “independent” by any means, but a totalitarian scheme to force us all to get our news from the American equivalent of Pravda.

“If we do nothing more than stand back and hope that innovation alone will solve this crisis,” he said, “then our best-trained journalists will lose their jobs.”

Please tell me again how this is a bad thing, especially considering the way that journalists are “trained” and what standards Rather would use to evaluate the “best” of them.

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