Our un-news media
By Bruce Walker
In the old Soviet Union the oppressed subjects of regime had a phrase used to describe the news media: "There's no Pravda in Izvestia and there's no Izvestia in Pravda." In Russia, "Pravda," the leading Communist Party periodical, means "Truth" and "Izvestia," the principal state periodical, means "News." The phrase meant that in Pravda there was no news and that in Izvestia there was no truth.
The bosses of the Kremlin had no interest in their subjects knowing anything about the world or having any honest opinions expressed. Instead the news media (also all cultural life, all educational institutions, all common means of ordinary people sharing anything together) was placed in the hands of bureaucratic flacks, well trained in determining what constituted news and who had the legal monopoly on truth.
What happened in the Soviet media was systematic suppression of all real news and a purging of all serious intellectual inquiry. All news made the party leaders look good, or it simply wasn't news. All facts supported the theme that the latest Five Year Plan was working marvelously, whatever the clear facts of ordinary Soviet life might say otherwise.
Anything negative – even items like airline crashes – was either not mentioned or was consigned to fillers on page fifty of the news. Savvy Soviet subjects learned quickly to utterly ignore the front pages – pages even the first twenty pages – and to search and squint at the tiniest bits of news (what we might even call "fillers") to find out what was really happening. The media, wholly controlled at every level by the dull Politburo functionaries who desired only to hold their power, perks and coerced prestige, existed for a single purpose: prevent any real news from reaching the ordinary subject in the Soviet Union.
Isn't that the way things are in America today? The Leftist establishment media, which includes entertainment, education, and all the other conveyor belts of information and ideas ignore the vast ocean of muck which could affect the political bosses in Washington (more and more, our Moscow) and instead either present absurdly fluffy pieces intended to make sock puppets like Obama look good or portray the notional enemies of the people as vicious and corrupt.
Not only is there no news, as such, in much of American media today, but much what news presented is never presented as anything but another argument…that we need more gun control…that traditional religious values make people dangerous maniacs…that government needs to spend more money on health and education…that racism remains a problem in America…that hurricanes, ice storms, droughts and every other bad change in weather is evidence of manmade global warming.
There are, no longer, any "schools of thought" in the media or in academia or in any other edifice of establishment Leftism. The notional competitors among the media never, ever actually compete in the realm of philosophy, ideas or even news stories. When Juanita Broaddrick, for example, made a serious and corroborated charge of violent rape against Bill Clinton, the establishment not only failed to present an expose, but all the business competitors (who do not really compete) collectively ignored her story.
Those familiar with Orwell's Oceania in 1984 recognize the patterns. The Ministry of Truth published stories about an increase in the sugar ration even as the sugar ration was actually being decreased. Those people whose very existence might have threatened the totalitarian control of the Inner Party became "unpersons."
All news, all education, all recreation were consumed with hatred of whomever the Inner Party demanded was the enemy – and those "enemies" could change, literally, overnight – and with an sludge pipe of pseudo-news intended to create the pretense of information while scrupulously stripping off anything of genuine substance or value in understanding the world.
Why do we even bother to pay attention to this dreary, predictable, phony establishment? Part of America, tragically, is simply totalitarian. The acolytes of Leftism are as passionately irrational as any other party cadres. Their interest is not giving us news or the truth or an education, but rather in blindly serving their high clergy's unchanging articles of faith.
Our weapon against this capricious indifference to reality supported by the Left is our calculated indifference to anything its pseudo-media proclaims. Rush Limbaugh has expressed it best: "I watch them so you don't have to." Whatever power these goons have in American life is the serious attention we give them. We should learn from those Soviet subjects who learned how to cope with a reality in which all institutional professions was simply a variation of propaganda. What did these subjects do? They ignored the bosses of information, education and culture. The more we do that, the more we win.
Bruce Walker is the author of book Poor Lenin's Almanac: Perverse Leftists Proverbs for Modern Life and a contributing editor to Enter Stage Right.