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August 20th, 2018

Insight

U.S. Media Loves Dictators --- As Long As They're Leftists

Laura Hollis

By Laura Hollis

Published Feb. 15, 2018

U.S. Media Loves Dictators --- As Long As They're Leftists

The Winter Olympics in South Korea have provided additional evidence that much of the U.S. press has abandoned rationality. North Korean representative Kim Yo Jong (dictator Kim Jong Un's sister and the regime's deputy director of propaganda and agitation) received glowing reviews from The New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, ABC News, NPR, the Associated Press, Yahoo News, Business Insider, The Daily Beast and Slate, among others. Ditto the 229 robotically chanting women in North Korea's "cheer squad."

Our national media are a disgrace: deceitful, duplicitous, untrustworthy. They increasingly appear to be contemptuous of not only the common man but also democracy and freedom. They have spent over a year hurling hysterical, spittle-flecked epithets at President Donald Trump, warning of the coming dictatorial oppression under his administration and fomenting outrage about a bogus tale of "collusion" with a foreign power that — it is increasingly evident — was a complete construct of the political party most of them support.

Meanwhile, faced with a representative from a legitimately dictatorial and oppressive regime that enslaves, starves, tortures and murders staggering numbers of its own people (and others — imprisoned American Otto Warmbier was returned to his family blind, deaf, convulsing and with severe brain damage), our press fawns over her and comments favorably on her — as compared with our own vice president, Mike Pence. This is an embarrassment and an outrage (that some members of the press and the political left, to their everlasting credit, have decried).

More importantly, it should serve as a warning . The press has been signaling for some time that it will cover and carry water for the most brutal and oppressive people on the planet, as long as they are even nominally on the left.

New York Times reporter Walter Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his deceitful coverage of the Soviet Union during Josef Stalin's regime. Duranty routinely lied about the famine in the Ukraine caused by Stalin's policies, while thousands of Ukrainians died of starvation every day . When asked by another U.S. reporter what he was going to write about the famine, Duranty said: "Nothing. What are a few million dead Russians in a situation like this? Quite unimportant. This is just an incident in the sweeping historical changes here. I think the entire matter is exaggerated."

Has The Times learned anything? It seems not. Last year, it ran a series of largely flattering articles about the 100 years since the 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia, letting us know that women had better sex in the former Soviet Union and dreamed big dreams in communist China. (Not as much was said about the average Soviet woman having multiple abortions in her lifetime, or the infanticide of baby girls that continues to this day in China.)

In 1968, the press — especially the esteemed Walter Cronkite — reported that the Vietnam War was lost to the communists of North Vietnam after the Tet Offensive; we now know that those reports were lies that collapsed public support for what was then a winnable war. For nearly 60 years, the media (and numerous Hollywood celebrities) sang the praises of Cuba's brutal dictator Fidel Castro.

Even in our own country — facing abuses of power nowhere near as serious as those in the countries mentioned above — the national press makes clear that conservatives and Republicans (and Donald Trump, who falls neatly into no political category) will be held to the most exacting standards of political propriety, but Democrats, particularly the most "progressive," can do what they like while the media turns a blind eye.

The principles of limited government that we hold dear, as well as the documents in which those principles have been articulated, are expendable if they run counter to "progressive" objectives that the Pravda press has decided are more important. Freedom of speech must give way when anyone asserts that a political viewpoint with which they disagree is "hate speech." Religious freedom dissolves in the face of myriad sexual orientations and gender identities. Due process evaporates if the allegation is sexual assault. The Fourth Amendment's prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures can be ignored when political actors want to spy on their opponents during a contentious election campaign.

The press's selective disregard of domestic abuses of power — as well as their slobbering love affair with international strongmen — gives us no reason to think that it would seek to protect the American people from the threat of a leftist politician (or corporation) with dictatorial ambitions. To the contrary, too much evidence points to a dominant national media that would dutifully disseminate the most pernicious propaganda until it was too late.

There absolutely are journalists at every level who are principled and patriotic lovers of liberty, suitably suspicious of all the power-hungry, regardless of party. For the sake of their profession — not to mention their country — they had better take the reins and reestablish integrity and credibility.

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Laura Hirschfeld Hollis is on the faculty at the University of Notre Dame, where she teaches courses in business law and entrepreneurship. She has received numerous awards for her teaching, research, community service and contributions to entrepreneurship education.

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