Opinion: Media dishonesty is a real threat to our republic

by Peter Heck · Oct 17th, 2020 2:56 pm
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Last Updated Oct 26th, 2020 at 8:21 am

I know people get mad at him and really exercised by his antics, but I will happily go on record as saying I find overwrought liberal commentator Keith Olbermann to be adorable.

Watching his melodramatic histrionics whenever he delivers a political analysis over even the most mundane of topics – the wide-eyed, serial killer scowls, the panicked tenor that crescendos to a comedic pitch, the theatrical flourish of lowering his head towards his notes, only to snap it up with such urgency and resolution – it's just too good not to enjoy.

For instance, simply take in the latest installment of this spectacle, wherein Olbermann calls for the prosecution and removal (from society) of Amy Coney Barrett, among others, for the apparent crime of…existing?

Yes, of course I understand he doesn't really believe the things he says. He is a paid, left-wing intellectual mercenary – a man who is compensated for saying demented things to (1) infuriate the right, (2) pacify the truly deranged extremists on the left, and (3) to provide radical progressive politicians a legitimacy by their ability to say to the electorate, "See, I'm not a nut, I don't go as far as him."

But ultimately Olbermann is harmless because no one takes him seriously. No one. Not even leftists who understand his schtick and retweet him merely to antagonize the right.

The real concern in the world of media isn't the Olbermann-esque commentariat. It's the supposedly straight-shooters, the reportedly objective anchors and reporters who, by their role are afforded a level of credibility they do not deserve. Those are the people whose dishonesty threatens not just the trust Americans have in the free press, but whose duplicity and pretense corrupts our free institutions.

For instance, disgraced former CBS News legend Dan Rather has been entering the American political fray quite frequently as of late. After being fired from his anchor chair for intentionally airing unauthenticated, falsified documents in order to prevent the re-election of Republican President George W. Bush, Rather has abandoned his career-long con and fully embraced the left-wing activist he has always been.

For instance, here's the man CBS told Americans was a beacon of objectivity giving his thoughts on the recent vice-presidential debate:

If you watched the debate, what you saw was the Vice President treating Kamala Harris as an equal – exactly as he would have treated a man in that chair. Rather's implication that women are incapable of holding their own without being treated delicately and fragile, is what the left has told us repeatedly is sexist.

And along those lines, when it comes to the shockingly partisan promise to increase the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court for the sole purpose of ideological majority-stacking, Rather tweeted out this gem:

First of all, this is just galling ignorance. "Court-packing" has a meaning, and it isn't filling existing vacancies with your ideological friends. Dan Rather knows that. He knows that "court-packing" has always meant the attempt to add to the nine current seats on the court. So why is he saying it? Because he's a partisan and wants to see the ultimate ascension of Democrat Party politics.

Of course, Rather is entitled to his personal beliefs, and objective reporters get to vote however they prefer. But is this type of open acknowledgement of bias-over-fact not devastating to the pretext that those choosing, selecting, framing, and reporting our news will do so without prejudice? It's the same principle as when longtime ABC newsman Sam Donaldson "endorsed" Michael Bloomberg in the primary. It's a bad look.

Then again, in Rather's case, it's not like we didn't know. This is the guy who in 2001 told Bill O'Reilly, "I know that you consider it sort of astonishing anybody would say so, but I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things."

Those are unquestionably the left's rules, which is bad enough for the health of our republic. The fact that Rather is revealing they are also the rules of our illustrious media is even worse.

Keith Olbermann's niche madness isn't a threat to the republic. But Dan Rather's 24-year stranglehold on the objective news anchor chair at CBS News? That's the kind of stuff that is.

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