Unfreedom of the Press by Mark R. Levin
UNFREEDOM OF THE PRESS
UNFREEDOM OF THE PRESS is about how those entrusted with news reporting in the modern media are destroying freedom of the press from within: not government oppression or suppression, not President Donald Trump’s finger-pointing, but present-day newsrooms and journalists. Indeed, social activism, progressive groupthink, Democratic Party partisanship, opinion and propaganda passed off as news, the staging of pseudo-events, self-censorship, bias by omission, and outright falsehoods are too often substituting for old-fashioned, objective fact gathering and news reporting. A self-perpetuating and reinforcing mindset has replaced independent and impartial thinking. And the American people know it. Thus the credibility of the mass media has never been lower.
This book could easily have been ten times its current length, but that would make it unreadable for most. Nonetheless, much ground is covered and research undertaken, and many authors and scholars consulted, as the history of the American press and the evidence of its decades-long demise are carefully examined. The purpose of Unfreedom of the Press is to jump-start a long-overdue and hopefully productive dialogue among the American citizenry on how best to deal with the complicated and complex issue of the media’s collapsing role as a bulwark of liberty, the civil society, and republicanism, ranging from the early newspapers and pamphlets promoting the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, to the subsequent party-press and transparent allegiance to one party or the other, to the progressive approach of so-called professional reporting, and the ideologically driven advocacy press of today.
Unlike the early patriot press, today’s newsrooms and journalists are mostly hostile to America’s founding principles, traditions, and institutions. They do not promote free speech and press freedom, despite their self-serving and self-righteous claims. Indeed, they serve as societal filters attempting to enforce uniformity of thought and social and political activism centered on the progressive ideology and agenda. Issues, events, groups, and individuals that do not fit the narrative are dismissed or diminished; those that do fit the narrative are elevated and celebrated. Of course, this paradigm greatly influences the culture, the government, and the national psyche. It defines a media-created “reality” whether or not it has a basis in true reality, around which individuals organize their thoughts, beliefs, and, in some cases, their lives.
Yet there is mystery and opacity that surround all of it. And if one dares to question or criticize the motives and work product of this enterprise or aspects of it—that is, the reporting by one or more newsrooms—the response is often knee-jerk and emotionally charged, with the inquirer or critic portrayed as hostile to press freedom and the collective media circling the wagons around themselves.
It bears remembering that the purpose of a free press, like the purpose of free speech, is to nurture the mind, communicate ideas, challenge ideologies, share notions, inspire creativity, and advocate and reinforce America’s founding principles—that is, to contribute to a vigorous, productive, healthy, and happy individual and to a well-functioning civil society and republic. Moreover, the media are to expose official actions aimed at squelching speech and communication. But when the media function as a propaganda tool for a single political party and ideology, they not only destroy their own purpose but threaten the existence of a free republic.
It is surely not for the government to control the press, and yet the press seems incapable of policing itself. We must remember, we are not merely observers, we are the citizenry. “We the People,” for whom this nation was established and for whom it exists, “in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,”1 must demand a media worthy of our great republic. And we begin the process by informing ourselves about those institutions and individuals (and their practices and standards) who, by their own anointment, proclaim the high-minded obligation of informing us.
Introduction: Unfreedom of the Press
1. News as Political and Ideological Activism
2. The Early Patriot Press
3. The Modern Democratic Party-Press
4. The Real Threat to Press Freedom
5. News, Propaganda, and Pseudo-Events
6. The New York Times Betrays Millions
7. The Truth About Collusion, Abuse of Power, and Character
Epilogue: A Standardless Profession
About the Author