March 1, 2017
By Tammy Derouin
Watching the news was once a time honored event. It was also a time when several things were taken for granted and assumed. Before I go any further, there are two life lessons in the last sentence. Lesson number one: When you take something for granted, you do not fully understand or appreciate its value. You assume, that which always was, will always be. Lesson number two: Never assume anything. I wish I could remember where I first heard the comical break down of the word. I believe it was on a television show, many years ago. Never assume anything, a fictional character proclaimed. The word was then divided into three parts with the explanation; if you assume something it will only make an (insert first three letters of assume) out of (forth letter) and (last two letters).
Not only was the dissection of the word comical, it spoke volumes. Let's look back at some of our grand assumptions. As Americans, we took many things for granted. For starters, we assumed our government would preserve our rights, not attack or called them into question. We didn't think our government would intentionally weaken our national security or ignore calls for help when our fellow Americans were under attack. We assumed our government would target our enemies, not the American people, and that the President of the United States would not weaken our country.
We did not feel vulnerable within our protected borders. The thought of our enemies being able to carry out an attack within our communities was, at one time, a mere plot for a fictional thriller. We assumed that what happened “over there” would never happen here. Our homeland was protected by the best military in the world and our borders were guarded and patrolled. A political divide did not exist when it came to the security of the United States.
We also assumed the press would always seek out truth and would expose corruption and any attempt by those in power to mislead or harm the American people. The press, by way of investigative reporting, kept a watchful eye on government. If corruption or abuse of power existed, it became a race to see which news outlet would expose the story first, and accurately. The media was another line of defense for the American people. They served as an additional layer of protection, a check point, for those in power.
The founders understood abuse of power. They had just fought a war to break free from tyranny. Man, even if intentions are noble, could fall into the same trappings if power and authority went unchecked. The Constitution was designed to restrict government. Man was empowered by way of freedom and independence. Checks and balances, along with an additional line of defense, the free press, were needed to protect our freedom and our future.
The grand assumptions of yesterday no longer hold true. We have lived through an age where the restraints on government were lifted by the government. When individuals attempted to check their authority, the government, once again, abused its power to target those who stood in opposition. When those within the government recognized such abuses, but were unable to fully rein in runaway power, we knew we were in a full blown crisis.
Corruption had run deep. But, it had also infected and spread its vile poison through the veins and arteries, which led directly to the heart of the American people. The press, once strong and vital, succumbed to the tyrannical disease. The press then began to target and infect the American people with government-knows-best propaganda.
For those of us who remember the tenacity the press once had, it was very unsettling to watch attack dogs turn into lap dogs. Those who once demanded truth and sought justice began to fetch and sit pretty on command. They have begun to come back to life. However, their attacks appear to be agenda driven.
Once upon a time, networks and journalist were respected because they wanted to deliver the truth. It was an embarrassment if they fell short. There are so few media outlets or so called journalist which seem to act independently. They behave more like a collective, pushing a political agenda rather than reporting non-biased news.
Today's media has moved from reporting the facts to spinning fiction into a false reality. It no longer matters if the stories or information they are reporting is correct. All that matters is the political agenda of those who sign their paycheck. The media has shackled themselves to the short chain of a powerful master; leaving themselves with little room to do anything more than chase their own tails.
“The power of the periodical press is second only to that of the people.”
Alexis de Tocqueville