France under the Ancien Régime (before the French Revolution) divided society into three estates: the First Estate (clergy); the Second Estate (nobility); and the Third Estate (commoners). There have always been social classes in most of civilization. Talking too openly about it sews discord because people don’t like to be classified into categories that determine the hierarchy of their status. These classifications were explicitly rejected in the United States by the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are the Right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The French Declaration of Rights of Man came out of the French Revolution and appeared to somewhat follow the spirit of the American Declaration of Independence. For example, it was declared in Article I that Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions can be founded only on the common good.
Right away, in the words themselves, we can detect a problem. The “common good” is a pernicious term in that it invariably leads to obfuscation of some dirty trick to be pulled on the populace. It’s a term that resembles the favorite phrase of liberal Democrats in the U.S. when they attempt to defend some malignant or treacherous proposal as being necessary to promote the “Greater Good.” Common Good and Greater Good are ill-defined terms mostly used to pull the wool over the eyes of the people.
Sure enough, right after 17 pronouncements of all the rights and liberties of the people to henceforth enjoy, a system of active and passive citizenship was created. Only Active Citizens had these rights and only they could vote. Passive Citizens were largely to be the servants for the active citizens. The passive citizens immediately had the carpet pulled out from under their feet. So much for the “common good.”
As much as we attempt to avoid division into separate classes with differing rights and responsibilities, it’s hard tar to remove. The free press in the United States seems to think its audience is too dumb to understand what they understand. It therefore feels free to lie and distort the news so that it fits their vision of how the world works and in the hopes that will become our vision.
It’s not working. The mainstream press in America is losing the American people who are voting with their remote control to turn away from CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc. We know when we’re being played and we don’t like it. Rachel Maddow has lost a huge chunk of her audience with her constant attempt to smear President Trump as a Russian agent. Even though the Mueller report said that after 2 years they could find no evidence of that.
The Fourth Estate arose under the previous three-estates system, and was to refer to the free press. The general idea in some circles of the United States is the free press is the fourth branch of government, after the legislative, executive and judicial branches. That idea should be rejected because if the free press is a branch of government it is no longer a free press. Instead, it’s the American version of Pravda and Izvestia.
The press in America considers itself as the fourth estate but under a much different definition of the term. They are not a fourth estate that is the voice of the people and the keeper of honest government by constantly informing the people of what the government is up to. In this way, a true fourth estate would hold government officials to account for their deeds and actions. As Montesquieu said in 1750: Every man who has power will tend to abuse it. He will proceed until he finds the limits. That’s why we need a competent and honest press.
The American press is now mostly a fifth column for one political party in government, the Democrat party. The press does not seek nor even care about honesty in government. It cares only that their preferred party be in control of government. When Republicans win elections or achieve success in some endeavor the American press is angry and will immediately set out to destroy the GOP. Their mission is not to hold miscreant officials to account, but to destroy all opposition to their favored party, the Democrats. To achieve the ends they desire they are willing to lie to the people. This is just the opposite of what journalism is supposed to do. It is supposed to expose the lies of the government. Instead, they defend the lies of government so long as they are the lies of their favored party, the Democrats.
A fifth column is any group of people who undermine a larger group from within, usually in favor of an enemy group or nation. The American free press is now the fifth column for the Democrats against the Republicans and also against the government when it is under the control of the Republicans.
We’ve seen how Bernie Sanders praises China, how Joe Biden attempts to defend China from President’s Trump’s effort to reach a trade deal that is more favorable to the United States. The press clearly supports any member of their favored party in any criticism of the United States and praise for its enemies.
An honest press that deserved the name fourth estate would look at both sides and try to point out where either side might have a good point to make, and also expose the weakness of the argument on either side. If our press ever did anything of the kind, it long ago abandoned that whole idea.
There is ample proof of what has happened to the journalism in America. In fact, another one came about just yesterday when Lawrence O’Donnell claimed to have uncovered a story that President Trump had received sweetheart deals on loans from Russian oligarchs. This was meant so show that Trump was in tight with Vladimir Putin and the Russian government. Problem is, O’Donnell had no credible sources for this little bit of slander against Trump. He as much as admitted that fact, and sought to cushion it by repeatedly introducing his lies with the phrase, “if true.” That is not the standard of honest journalism.
O’Donnell was later forced to retract his phony story.
Here is what J.J. Sefton at the Ace of Spades blog had to say about it:
Now on to the links for this Thursday where the 4th Estate 5th Columnists’ assault on the truth in service of the Democrat-Left enterprise to overthrow the President and the nation as founded is in the lead. Yesterday, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell was forced to give a public retraction on his show for a completely fabricated cock and bull story that Trump had received loans from Russian oligarchs, the not so subtle implication being that he was somehow beholden to their puppet-master Vladimir Putin. How could a story so patently false, without a scintilla of anything even remotely resembling a fact ever get on the air, let alone past a producer’s desk? Well, let’s jump into the Way-Back Machine for a look at Mr. O’Donnell’s background. His qualifications for being in front of TV camera to present news to a mass audience (the definition of “mass” being debatable in his case) was as a writer for The Harvard Lampoon, a legislative aide for Daniel Patrick Moynihan and as a writer for the TV show The West Wing. He has also described himself as a “practical European Socialist.”
In a perfect world, I might concede that neither his CV nor even his avowed political persuasion would not necessarily disqualify him from what I used to consider a position of some responsibility. Because in a perfect world, us imperfect humans would make every effort to put aside our personal preferences and politics to get the facts right and just tell the story in as impartial a manner as possible.
The American press is not Pravda or Izvestia. They just act like they are.
The featured image at the top of this post is By Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo – Associazione Pellizza da Volpedo.