You always know a right-wing politician has screwed up when they start blaming the media. Such was the case when the far right conservative blog Breitbart had the temerity to say that the “liberal media” is lynching Dr. Ben Carson for his insensitive and illogical comments blaming the victims of the Oregon shooting for their own deaths.
“We are all witnessing an elaborate liberal media lynching of Dr. Ben Carson,” Jerome Hudson wrote. “The former Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon turned leading black Republican presidential candidate is just the latest “uppity negro” (Justice Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain) to defy the expectations of his white liberal mainstream media masters…”
Instead, the media did what they were was supposed to do — let someone talk. Ben Carson dug his own grave by going in front of the cameras and saying what he did and then doubling down when asked multiple times by conservative outlets to explain himself.
The reality of the media is that they are neither liberal (Except MSNBC during prime time) nor conservative (except Fox News). The media are capitalist. They will say and do anything that makes them money. Here are eight things that everyone in America would know if the media really were as liberal as Fox News says it is:
1. What the hell Congress has actually been doing all these years?
You’ve been paying your heard earned tax dollars to members of the U.S. Congress who have done nothing except block everything that comes to the floor. The uncompromising hyper-partisanship confounds traditional Republicans just as much as it does Democrats.
Thanks to the do-nothing Congress, we’re on the doorstep of yet another Republican lead government shutdown, Congress still hasn’t authorized a war with ISIS, no one has stepped up to fix No Child Left Behind. A year later there’s still no update on the Voting Rights Act, no action on immigration, climate change, job creation and don’t even think about wage inequality.
The worst do-nothing congress was in 2014 which passed fewer than 150 bills. So far this year, President Obama has signed a total of 67 bills and vetoed 2. Seriously? Why doesn’t everyone in the country know about this?
2. The truth about every presidential candidate.
Did you know that Donald Trump’s wealth came from his father’s government contracts? Or that Mike Huckabee and other republicans cozied up to an admitted child molester? There was that time Ben Carson said Obamacare was worse than 9/11, did you hear about it? Remember Ben Carson saying being gay or lesbian was about molesting children and bestiality? Read the story about the creepy Santorum fetus ritual? There are so so many more and you probably know most of them because you read and pay attention. If the media were liberal these things would flash under their names during the GOP debate or pop-up next to them during interviews like player statistics on ESPN.
3. The crime rate is down.
Almost every day my grandpa calls me to tell me how worried he is about crime. “You can’t turn on the TV anymore without hearing about someone being shot,” he told me this morning. This is one of the greatest cases for why the media are capitalist before any political leanings. If it bleeds it leads. Republican former Oklahoma Congressman Ernest Istook wrote an op-ed in the conservative Washington Times last year where he blamed the media for “scare-mongering.” “The homicide rate is the lowest it’s been since 1963,” he wrote. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at the evening news or listening to the NRA. Violent crime in the U.S. dropped to its lowest level since 1978, the FBI announced last year.
What the media should be talking about is that while violent crime and homicides have fallen to historic lows, the rate of mass shootings has tripled since 2011, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. If the local news covered the problems associated with mass shootings every night instead of scaring people with the crime du jour, maybe we could create enough outrage to actually do something to stop it.
4. It wouldn’t take the Koch Brothers to reform prisons.
We have increasingly complicated issues when it comes to criminal justice reform. If you saw Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, you know we have a serious problem in the public defender’s offices around the country. But the problem extends beyond that into inherent racism, terrible drug laws, not to mention California’s three strikes rule and don’t get me started on how we put abuse victims in prison.
Up until this point, liberals have been tackling this problem alone. Now that the Koch brothers are involved, however, it is not only front page news but policies are changing and the problem is finally on the path to passing legislation that could actually fix it. The United States has 5% of the World population and has 25% of world prisoners. If we had a media that were truly liberal, not only would something have been done by now, it wouldn’t have taken the Koch brothers to make it happen.
5. Why it’s impossible to change Congress until the population shifts.
Congress has one of the worst approval ratings in politics. As you read in number 1, they don’t do anything, and if you are paying attention, you are probably furious with the way they’re disrespecting our government. If we had a liberal media everyone would know what you know, but they’d also know that nothing can change in the House of Representatives until another census comes out and we let the yokels that dominate our state legislatures redraw the House districts.
Until we can pass a ballot initiative in every single state that demands an independent panel must be chosen to draw Congressional lines, we will always have the problem of one party taking advantage of their power in order to maintain it.
6. Who is this “Glass-Steagall” and why does everyone want to bring him back?
You wouldn’t think a law passed 82 years ago could stay in keeping with the times, but some things really do last forever. In the deep depressing grave of the Great Depression, policymakers started looking for answers to what bankrupted Wall Street in November of 1929. Senator Carter Glass of Virginia and Representative Henry Steagall of Alabama worked to fix the banking system with their Banking Act of 1933.
There are two kinds of banking. The kind we deal with every day is our personal banking with checking and savings. The money we put into our accounts and the interest it draws is then used to make loans to consumers or small businesses. The second kind is investment banking which is what goes down on Wall Street. Corporations need help issuing stocks and bonds for shareholders of their company or trading securities in hopes of turning a profit.
What happened in the Great Depression is those two types of banking became far too connected. So, when Wall Street fell, the impact was felt by everyone at every bank all across the country. Small town banks that held people’s checking and savings went broke and customers lost their money, their homes, their farms, everything.
Many, many years later in the peak of economic prosperity, the banks started bitching that regulations were too stringent. We hadn’t had an economic disaster like what happened in the Great Depression. Banks claimed they knew what they were doing. They lobbied heavily presumably claiming government could trust them. They might have even claimed regulations like Glass-Steagall could be hindering larger opportunities. So, in 1999, Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which overturned The Banking Act of 1933 aka Glass-Steagall.
You know what happened next. It took only 8 years for Wall Street to start taking huge risks on any and everything they could. It isn’t that the repeal of Glass-Steagall caused the financial meltdown, but rather the general deregulation and lack of oversight of what Wall Street was up to. The greater unchecked risks Wall Street takes the more opportunities for fraud like Enron or Madoff.
As Senator Warren points out in the video above, reinstating Glass-Steagall is an important start at keeping Wall Street in check. Obviously, more needs to be done, because it’s clear they can’t be trusted to be their own watchdogs.
7. The truth about mental illness and crime.
The Cook County jail in Chicago has become the largest single-facility provider of mental health services in the country. Nearly $9 billion per year is spent putting the mentally ill behind bars instead of getting them the services they need.
Cuts to mental health services started a long time ago, some came from Congress, some came at the urging of President Ronald Reagan and some came as a result of cash-strapped states who had to pick and choose what they could still fund. In 2012 alone, there were 356,368 severely mentally ill people imprisoned. That’s a population a little smaller than the entire city of Oakland, California that is behind bars.
If Americans had a grasp on the realities of mental illness, the lack of services and the absurd ways in which we’re trying to deal with the problem, one would hope we’d be on the doorsteps of Congress demanding a fix.
8. President Reagan was one of the worst presidents EVER.
Whether it’s the way he dealt with mental health funding cuts (see number 7) or the absurd idea of trickle-down economics, President Ronald Reagan was a nightmare. Need more reasons his presidency sucked? The HIV/AIDS crisis was ignored, air traffic controllers got the shaft of a lifetime (literally a lifetime), the national debt tripled under his administration (because trickle-down doesn’t work), we sent a ton of money to al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden to fight the Russians and Reagan gave us George H. W. Bush who then begat George W. Bush. That last one might be a stretch, but it’s possible.
If there’s one thing republican presidential candidates love to talk about it is St. Reagan being the best president ever. If more people knew about the ways his policies impacted us, maybe we could spot those who are just like him better.
If Fox News really wants to pretend there is a liberal media, wouldn’t it be nice if the media actually was liberal? We could have an entire Rachel Maddow channel! I’d settle for requirements that television media be honest, as a starting point. If they’re going to report on every single act of crime, at least disclose that the crime rate is down. If they’re going to report on mass shootings, at least tell people how to contact their legislator to complain.
If you’re reading IfYouOnlyNews.com chances are you’re reading other news other places. That puts you a step above the average American who has too little information on politics and policy and doesn’t verify the information they do hear.
Feature image via video capture and photoshopped by Sarah Burris.