Thursday, September 25, 2014

From watchdogs to lapdogs

The Mexican gun-running program, proleishly labelled "Fast and Furious"; the murderous, mendacious Benghazi cover-up; the IRS thuggery, destruction of evidence, and obstruction of justice--all three of these scandals strike me as more corrupt and, in the case of the first two, deadly--literally, deadly--than the Watergate scandal that brought down Richard Nixon was. Yet even in contemporary America, late September 2014, I'd bet more people are familiar with the abuse of executive power that was Watergate than with the other three more recent and more serious abuses of executive power combined.

I'm not doing anything original by pointing out how the major media have become house organs of the Cathedral (or Establishment, or whatever moniker you prefer to use to describe the military-entertainment-religious-media-educational-corporate-industrial complex), but thinking about it in these terms is still enough to give pause to someone as cynical and jaded as I've become.

The watchdogs have become lapdogs. The pillars of the fourth estate crumbled long ago. The last remnants have escaped to the virtual world, where they exist precariously as disparate pieces of rubble... for now, anyway.

6 comments:

Dan said...

Look on the bright side. Mistrust in our media is at an all time high!

http://pressthink.org/2012/04/rosens-trust-puzzler-what-explains-falling-confidence-in-the-press/

And thankfully the trust trend continues downward into 2014.

http://muskegonpundit.blogspot.com/2014/09/trust-in-mass-media-returns-to-all-time.html

Dan said...

What is interesting is that, at the time of Watergate, close to 75% of Americans trusted the media.

During the last 40 years, trust in institutions has plummeted. The Supreme Court, the presidency, Congress, newspapers, TV, public schools -- all are viewed badly. The military and police have relatively held their own.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/1597/confidence-institutions.aspx

Swede said...

This is because the government and media are now run by and for a different people than it once did.

Audacious Epigone said...

Dan,

It's a little heavy at the beginning, but Jack Donovan's reaction to this dynamic--dishonesty from the Cathedral repaid with distrust by the public--resonates with me.

sykes.1 said...

The only cure is to eliminate the federal government by a return to the Articles of Confederation.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, unhappy as I am about it. The collapse of the fourth estate into a lapdog for the party in power is a disaster for our democracy. We rely on reporters to get it and give it to us straight. When that is gone, we are close to gone.