Our Most Essential Institution Is Also Our Most Dangerous

The latest complete flip-flops regarding the underpinnings of the COVID regime should end any remaining debate: the media is the single biggest threat to America and Americans. 

Virtually everything the media told us on the two seminal issues of the past six years—Trump-Russia collusion and the panoply of COVID-19 reactions—was wrong. This is well beyond frustrating. It has been a disaster for America as trust levels have cratered for the media and consequently for virtually every establishment institution. American’s barely even trust their fellow Americans. And all of this comes before we even consider the excess deaths that may have resulted from the suppression of alternatives to vaccines, the shutdowns of states, and the masking of children. 

We are a nation riven in discord, and it could not have happened without the media playing the central connecting role in selling the disinformation scandals. It is the one constant. 

Neither the FBI, the Department of Justice, nor the intelligence community composed of so many agencies and private interests could have pursued their Trump-Russia narrative with anything like the success they had without the aid and abetment of the media. The medical establishment could not have sold the destructive array of policies it did without the abetting role of the media. 

The media acting as a guard dog rather than a watchdog over our most powerful institutions will always result in dangerous levels of corruption. Yet the persistent and problematic dynamic remains: too many Americans still open the digital pages of newspapers or turn on news shows and think they are getting good, third-party information. This tacit acceptance is the only way so many could be so deceived on the Russia collusion hoax and the novel ideas that masks stop viruses, natural immunity doesn’t work, and shutdowns stop the natural progression of viruses. 

Simply put, we could not have arrived at this dire place of quasi civil war if we had a functioning media in the way we, at one point, at least aspired to have—not this almost Pravda-like incarnation that we have today. 

How We Got Here

But neither can we simply do without the media. This is the painful truth. A free and functioning media is essential to America. The rights of the media are ensconced right there in the First Amendment’s free press clause, buttressed by the free speech clause for all of us. The founders understood that an informed citizenry was necessary to the operation of the constitutional republic they had established. 

Newspapers were openly partisan at the time, supporting John Adams or Thomas Jefferson, and were used as openly partisan tools for their candidates and causes. But everyone knew that. If they were reading the Philadelphia paper, they knew it was a Jefferson instrument to savage Adams. The opposite was understood of the Boston paper. No one pretended otherwise. There was a refreshing honesty to the arrangement. 

In the 20th century, however, and particularly during the second half, the media became “more professional”—with college degrees required and credentials established by the most powerful among the players. Thus it sought to play the role of a fair arbiter of information for Americans. This was a golden opportunity for the then-mainstream media to be the place where Left and Right and everyone in between could go for information, and then debate from a common base of knowledge. 

The concept of an objective, fair and balanced media—represented in the popular imagination by the likes of Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, the New York Times, Washington Post and others—was a relatively novel concept that never really existed as much as we believed it might. But for a while, the media made attempts to hold the powerful accountable in government and in major corporations. Sure, it was always biased, but in my 25 years in daily newspapers, most reporters I worked with personally were making the effort. And it was a good thing for America.

That time is long behind us. Even conceptually it is not pursued. The odd reporter making an effort at something like old-school journalism—Bari Weiss, Alex Berenson, Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Jesse Singal and others—is hounded out of the media formerly known as mainstream to find homes on Substack or elsewhere.

Our hope for an honest media rapidly retreated from reality as captured leftist schools of journalism churned out endless streams of radicalized Nikole Hannah-Joneses rather than Bob Woodwards, and the media veered more sharply left. The eruption of Donald Trump on the scene and his shock election in 2016 ended the charade of the fake news entirely. 

The media acted as a mouthpiece for the administrative state and the Democratic Party and rapidly separated Americans into their two silos—one silo getting their information from leftist, corporate media and the other silo getting theirs from conservative alternative media. Increasingly, we had no common language or basis for knowledge, civil discourse became rare if not impossible, and genuine debate unthinkable. Those on the other side were assumed to be ignoramuses immediately upon any interaction. This was the doing of the corporate media. 

The Dangers Revealed

It’s worth painting a picture of just how dangerous the media has been since the mask has been ripped off “trusted” journalism to reveal an industry engulfed in leftist RightSpeak and partisan work rivaling some of the world’s best state media organs. 

There is little need to revisit how thoroughly debunked the Trump-Russia collusion narrative is at this point. It is perhaps most evident in the fact that the media itself has completely stopped talking about it, albeit never correcting its horrific record of coverage. The hoax did what it was supposed to. But in true information silo fashion, millions of Americans still believe Trump got away with it and that he is and always was a Putin puppet. And that breakdown is almost entirely along party lines—a direct reflection of where each side is getting its news. 

But this one-time champion story of egregious media behavior—undermining a duly elected American president—has now been dethroned now by the media-COVID-expert establishment coverage from March 2020 onward (which in all likelihood, dovetailed with the efforts to remove Trump via the Putin puppet narrative.) 

The evidence of media malfeasance is indisputable. The media was wrong or corrupt over and over again on the COVID regime: They claimed for years that: 

Media claim: The virus didn’t come from the Wuhan virus lab. 

Truth: The U.S. Energy Department and the FBI are now saying it likely came from the lab in Wuhan. Not fringe. Not racist. Of course, even Jon Stewart understood this in 2021, although statist fanboy Stephen Colbert tried to shut him down. 

Media claim: Natural immunity does not offer protection.

Truth: Natural immunity is effective against COVID—and always was—according to no less than the Lancet: “Our meta-analyses showed that protection from past infection and any symptomatic disease was high for ancestral, alpha, beta, and delta variants . . . ” 

Media claim: Shutdowns were necessary to save lives.

Truth: Johns Hopkins researchers have concluded that shutdowns had no significant effect on COVID mortality. And apparently that was never the goal, anyway, as Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a recent interview: “You use lockdowns to get people vaccinated.” 

Media claim: Masks were effective in stopping the spread.

Truth: The Cochrane Review, considered among the best at analyzing study results, concludes masks don’t work, and never did. Oxford’s Tom Jefferson, the lead author of the Cochrane Review, summed up the real science on masks: “There is just no evidence that they make any difference. Full stop.” Of course, the WHO and CDC knew this before March 2020. As did the media.

But all of these lies—it is difficult to consider them anything else by the summer of 2020—advanced an agenda of consolidating power in the hands of elites: health experts, government, and pharmaceuticals. 

For instance, the brand new unsupported claim that natural immunity did not offer protection upended centuries of studies and proofs. But importantly, it paved the way for mandating vaccines. More than making some powerful corporations tens of billions of dollars in profits, this created the precedent for government, in league with corporations if need be, to have the authority to mandate all Americans be injected with whatever the government says. This unprecedented intrusion will come up again. 

And once more, none of it could have happened without the active involvement of the media. 

The damage done by this monolithic media failure on behalf of the American people may never be fully calculable, from an enormous loss of individual liberty to plummeting children’s academic achievement, to millions of the world’s poorest people thrown back into extreme poverty, to shutdowns killing innumerable small businesses and spiking teen depression and suicide rates. 

The essential player in it all has been the media.

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About Rod Thomson

Rod Thomson is a former daily newspaper reporter and columnist, former Salem radio host and ABC TV commentator, and current Founder of The Thomson Group, a Florida-based political consulting firm. He has eight children and seven grandchildren and a rapacious hunger to fight for America for them. Follow him on Twitter at @Rod_Thomson or Truth Social at @rodthomson. Email him at rod@thomsonpr.com.

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