American Media and Old Soviet Media Are Now Peas in a Pod

March 16, 2021 Updated: March 21, 2021


This correction in the “news” pages of The Washington Post a few days ago is simply stunning—and tells you all you need to know about the state of the mainstream media today:

“Two months after publication of this story, the Georgia secretary of state released an audio recording of President Donald Trump’s December phone call with the state’s top elections investigator. The recording revealed that The Post misquoted Trump’s comments on the call, based on information provided by a source. Trump did not tell the investigator to ‘find the fraud’ or say she would be ‘a national hero’ if she did so.

“Instead, Trump urged the investigator to scrutinize ballots in Fulton County, Ga., asserting she would find ‘dishonesty’ there. He also told her that she had ‘the most important job in the country right now…’ The headline and text of this story have been corrected to remove quotes misattributed to Trump.”

The story, part of the Post’s scorched-earth coverage of the former president’s activities in the aftermath of the disputed 2020 election, sought to depict Trump in the worst possible light, while relying entirely on anonymous “sources” who had a vested interest in destroying the Trump presidency. It begins:

“President Trump urged Georgia’s lead elections investigator to identify wrongdoing in the state’s vote in a December phone call, saying the official would be praised for doing so, according to an individual briefed on the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the conversation… The president’s attempts to intervene in an ongoing investigation could amount to obstruction of justice or other criminal violations, legal experts said, though they cautioned a case could be difficult to prove.”

(This “corrected” story is not to be confused with this one from Jan. 3, which charged Trump with “flagrant abuse of power and a potential criminal act” in a conversation with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, which was based on a leaked recording of their private conversation.)

A better headline for the Post’s “correction,” of course, would be “Washington Post irresponsibly publishes false story based on malicious hearsay,” but that would be a bridge too far for the Democratic operatives currently masquerading as journalists at newspapers such as the Post and The New York Times. In the interest of pursuing their shared political and social objectives, the major media have aligned their fortunes with the Democrats’, and now no longer even pay lip service to the industry’s former ideals of impartiality and fairness.

Ethical Principles

Here’s the preamble to the Society of Professional Journalists’ “Code of Ethics”:

“Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair, and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity. The Society declares these four principles as the foundation of ethical journalism and encourages their use in its practice by all people in all media.”

Ha ha ha. One formerly ironclad rule of real journalism was the proscription against employing anonymous “sources” (who may have an ax to grind and who may or may not even exist) in news stories. But since Orange Man Bad came on the scene, fairness is out the window:

“Identify sources clearly,” the Society writes. “The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources. Consider sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Reserve anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm, and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Explain why anonymity was granted.”

That last bit is particularly laughable. As far as the Post and the NY Times are concerned, “the sensitivity of the conversation” is a perfectly good reason to grant anonymity to one of the Democratic media’s useful anonymice, who nibble at the cheese and then scurry back to their rat holes as the media protects them from an exterminator wielding the disinfecting sunlight of on-the-record statements and allegations.

Campaign of Misinformation

Ah, but the ends now justify the means, which is why the Post’s correction is only seeing the light of day now that Trump has been vanquished. For the truth doesn’t matter anymore—how some adulterated version of it can be misrepresented and weaponized is all that counts. After all, it’s better to beg forgiveness, in the form of a correction that few will read and nobody will remember, than to act responsibly in the first place.

It’s not that we weren’t warned. “Trump Is Testing the Norms of Objectivity in Journalism,” ran the headline over Jim Rutenberg’s New York Times piece of Aug. 7, 2016.

Even before Trump’s surprise victory in November of that year, the corrupt and ethically compromised media was preparing the battlespace for what has turned out to be a years-long campaign of mis/disinformation, all in the partisan service of overturning the results of the Trump-Clinton election. Mission accomplished!

“If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?” wrote Rutenberg. “The question that everyone is grappling with is: Do normal standards apply? And if they don’t, what should take their place?”

Well, now we know: outright fabrication, absolute malice, and reckless disregard for the truth. From the Russian “collusion” hoax to the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, to the sham impeachment over a meaningless (and willfully mispresented) phone call to Ukraine, to a second, ex post facto sham impeachment over the Jan. 6 breach of Capitol Hill—falsely dubbed by the press an “armed insurrection”—the American news media has turned into the spitting image of their counterparts in the old Soviet media: Pravda (the New York Times), Izvestia (The Washington Post) and the state-parrot news agency Tass (The Associated Press).

Prerequisite for Tyranny

As it happens, I spent a good deal of time in the USSR and the Eastern bloc between the years 1985 and 1991, being in country for (among other things) the meltdown at Chernobyl, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the immediate run-up to the attempted coup against Mikhail Gorbachev just before the Soviet Union collapsed. While there was never a dull moment, it wasn’t a place you wanted to live in, much less admire and emulate.

What the communists understood, however, was that state control of the media was a prerequisite for tyranny: Who were you going to believe, Pravda (which means truth in Russian) or your lying, counter-revolutionary eyes?

Consider this recent headline in The Washington Post, which might have been lifted—as honest leftist journalist Matt Taibbi notes in this piece—directly from Pravda: “Biden stimulus showers money on Americans, sharply cutting poverty and favoring individuals over businesses.”

The only thing propping up the sham presidency of Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.—along with razor wire and 5,000 armed National Guard soldiers “protecting” the capital from dangerous radicals like you—are the chirping robinettes of the national media, who filter, massage, shape, flake, and form the news into a journalistic version of Soylent Green and then shove it down the throats of the American people. This is called “ethical journalism.”

Had enough yet? And if not, why not?

Michael Walsh is the editor of and the author of “The Devil’s Pleasure Palace” and “The Fiery Angel,” both published by Encounter Books. His latest book, “Last Stands,” a cultural study of military history from the Greeks to the Korean War, was recently published.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.