"Th newspaper does ivrything f'r us. It runs th' polis foorce an' th' banks, commands th' milishy, controls th' ligislachure, baptizes th' young, marries th' foolish, comforts th' afflicted, afflicts th' comfortable, buries th' dead an' roasts thim aftherward". -- Finley Peter Dunne (1867 — 1936), Chicago journalist, writing as "Mr. Martin J. Dooley,"
Writing in the golden age of "muckraking journalism," Finley Peter Dunne was acutely aware of the power of institutions and their susceptibility to corruption at the expense of justice and truth. The passage above was, and remains, a caution about his own institution -- journalism -- and the power it had and continues to have to influence events for good or ill.
In the century since Dunne wrote those words, they have been boiled down by some from a sensible caution to a sometimes insensate battle cry -- "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable!" -- used as a weapon of war against a perceived enemy at the expense of truth and even reason.
Newspapers in the times Mr. Dooley commented upon were understood to be politically biased on both the editorial page and the front page. The very term "crusading reporter" assumes that bias, and such reporters were often directed at stories which attacked the interests of the perceived enemies of the editorial board, which of course themselves reflected the political opinions of the owners.
The people who read such newspapers understood this bias and by and large did not mind it as part of the back-and-forth struggle of points-of-view in the marketplace of ideas. In retrospect, the honesty of it all is refreshing.
Today, however, we live in the age of the "professional unbiased journalist," or so the "professional unbiased journalists" and their editors and paymasters would have us believe. The fact of the matter is that modern media are every bit as bias-driven as their 19th and 20th century counterparts, but like the bride in church whose white gown conceals a prostitute past, a couple of sexually transmitted diseases and sincere doubts of future faithfulness to her husband, the media would rather you not look under their collective dress lest you spot the whore.
Nothing demonstrates this more convincingly than the "professional unbiased journalists'" actions, or lack thereof, in the current Gunwalker Scandal. I can count on one hand the number of major stories ABC, to pick a network at random, has done on Gunwalker in the more than nine months since the story broke following the murder of Brian Terry with a Fast & Furious weapon. It takes just one finger for NBC, a network that in the 90s we used joke stood for "No Bad Clinton News." The overwhelming majority of "serious newspapers of record" in the country have done hardly better.
But as the newspapers had to make room, first for radio and then television, all of them are now being forced to make way for, and adapt to the new market forces of, the "new media" of the Internet. And the new media, like the old, old media of Dunne's time, is refreshingly honest about its points of view.
In the final analysis, however, -- regardless of the individual reporter's point of view -- a story is a story, a source is source, and a fact is a fact, and when all due diligence has been done and all facts known and compared with other facts, sources and stories, the public can work out the truth on its own. The problem in the Gunwalker scandal is that the bias of most old media has apparently prevented them from covering the story at all.
This will, in time, be studied with a considerable amount of puzzled angst by the cub-reporters-in-vitro of the Columbia School of Journalism. As Frank Miniter wrote in Forbes yesterday:
Why a gunrunning scandal codenamed “Fast and Furious,” a program run secretly by the U.S. government that sent thousands of firearms over an international border and directly into the hands of criminals, hasn’t been pursued by an army of reporters all trying to be the next Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein is a story in itself.
Which brings us to Media Matters latest clumsy attack on FOX News, using me as a club.
Now the Soros-funded Media Matters makes no particular secret of THEIR bias. Politico reported back in March on "Media Matters' war against Fox."
The liberal group Media Matters has quietly transformed itself in preparation for what its founder, David Brock, described in an interview as an all-out campaign of “guerrilla warfare and sabotage” aimed at the Fox News Channel.
The group, launched as a more traditional media critic, has all but abandoned its monitoring of newspapers and other television networks and is narrowing its focus to Fox and a handful of conservative websites, which its leaders view as political organizations and the “nerve center” of the conservative movement. The shift reflects the centrality of the cable channel to the contemporary conservative movement, as well as the loathing it inspires among liberals — not least among the donors who fund Media Matters’ staff of about 90, who are arrayed in neat rows in a giant war room above Massachusetts Avenue.
“The strategy that we had had toward Fox was basically a strategy of containment,” said Brock, Media Matters’ chairman and founder and a former conservative journalist, adding that the group’s main aim had been to challenge the factual claims of the channel and to attempt to prevent them from reaching the mainstream media. (Emphasis supplied, MBV.)
The new strategy, he said, is a “war on Fox.”
In an interview and a 2010 planning memo shared with POLITICO, Brock listed the fronts on which Media Matters — which he said is operating on a $10 million-plus annual budget — is working to chip away at Fox and its parent company, News Corp. They include its bread-and-butter distribution of embarrassing clips and attempts to rebut Fox points, as well as a series of under-the-radar tactics.
Now this is, in its own way, somewhat refreshing. Of course as with most collectivist-oriented operations it involves no small amount of calculated hypocrisy. Media Matters (hereinafter MM), takes FOX to task as simply the most important target of what they perceive as their enemy in an ideological war. Why? Because they and their media and political tovarisches are not interested in other media stories which compete with their common collectivist dialectic and which serve to discredit that dialectic.
It is smart, from their point of view. As an ex-communist myself (and now a virulent anti-communist), I understand it perfectly.
However, the naked hypocrisy of using the false standard of "unbiased professional journalism" to attack FOX is akin to the whore in white accusing the prettier bridesmaid of being unchaste. And for all of MM's willingness to fess up to a Politico reporter about their "war on FOX," they hardly put their intentions so plainly to the public. If they did their header would read: "Media Matters: Propaganda Directorate of the Obama Administration and the Collectivist Internationale."
What is MM's principal charge against FOX? That they are seeking to "mainstream" an "extremist." In fact, FOX has, like many other news outlets in the Gunwalker Scandal story, simply come to an extremely knowledgeable source who has a unique perspective of the subject because he has been in it since the beginning.
MM's opening screed:
In March 2010, right-wing blogger Mike Vanderboegh made headlines across the country after he urged his followers to respond to health care reform by breaking the windows of Democratic offices and then took credit after it actually happened.
Eighteen months later, Fox News has repeatedly featured the former militia and Minuteman leader as an "authority" on the ATF's failed Operation Fast and Furious. (MBV: Note "authority." So sorry, MM, but when it comes to Gunwalker, I are one. More so I daresay than MM.)
In January, Vanderboegh was among the first to break the story that ATF agents had knowingly allowed gun trafficking suspects to take weapons across the border into Mexico.
Not among the first, unless you count the "rumor post" on CleanUpATF.org, I was THE first. Which is why FOX and other reporters representing a wide variety of news outlets contacted me to begin with. A short recap is in order here.
For two years prior to the breaking of the Gunwalker Scandal on my blog, Sipsey Street Irregulars, I had been covering ATF scandals that the rest of the media, and our misnamed "public servants," were ignoring. I also used Sipsey Street to call my fellow Second Amendment activists to action, urging them not take one step further back in the free exercise of their God-given and inalienable, natural rights to liberty and property. I enunciated a theory of resistance, the Three Percent movement, and used every outlet I could to warn that with the coming of the Obama administration, for the first time since 1861, civil war was a very real prospect in this country simply BECAUSE people thought it was impossible -- especially because the ignorant and arrogant "people-exist-to-do-what-the-government-tells them-do" advocates were now in charge of all three branches of government.
I am proud to say that I am, in the political party sense, a non-partisan "extremist," if MM wishes to use the word. As evidence of this, I have been on the "enemies lists" of the past three White Houses. My loyalty is to my God, my people, liberty and the Founder's Republic. I consider myself a Christian libertarian, which is not as much of an oxymoron as many folks think.
As MM (mostly) correctly reports, I have in my time been a Second Amendment activist, a leader of constitutional militia (one reporter called me the "Gray Eminence of the militia movement"), a Minuteman border scout and an Internet journalist in the 90s (before there even was a clear notion of what that was) as a part of the independent investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing. I believe that the Founders would have long ago taken up arms against the mutated all-powerful federal leviathan, and especially its out-control militarized federal police who prove daily that they represent a clear and present danger to our property and our liberty. As just one example, I do not believe that the ATF has a constitutional right to exist.
As such, it may seem more than passing strange that ATF street agents should come to trust me. But they did. Working the pre-Gunwalker ATF scandals on Sipsey Street, I came to meet and interact with men and women who in the 90s I would have dismissed by the cartoonish label of "jack booted thugs." For their part, they came to understand that dismissing folks like me as "gun queers" and "barrel suckers" (two often used appellations within the agency) was equally devoid of meaning. I think the ATF agents came to trust us because we shared many of the enemies -- arrogant, dangerous federal bureaucrats with an agenda and an overwhelming instinct to protect those of their own class, no matter how dirty -- and we valued the big things like truth, justice and an appreciation for the antiseptic qualities of light on wayward government.
We never played them false, nor abused the trust that they placed in us. We helped them bring a little bit of light into their dark corner of the agency, and they helped us understand the inner workings of an agenda-driven agency gone absolutely arrogant and out of control at the top.
We, all of us, began to understand that we were all people, not cartoon characters, and that the things that we shared were greater than the things we disagreed on. Especially when confronted with the Gunwalker evil.
So we had, by the second week of December 2010, constructed an informal network of ATF agents, 2nd Amendment activists, yes, even militiafolk, civilian government employees, retirees from a variety of agencies, including military and what is styled as "the intelligence community." Then Brian Terry was murdered.
For the ATF agents like John Dodson, that was it. The final straw. So then came the rumors, and I heard my first one before the CUATF post, just before Christmas. We asked our ATF contacts to check it out. Was it confirmed? Yes, it was confirmed. Gunwalking, facilitation of murder of Brian Terry and uncounted Mexican citizens -- it was all true. And why, we asked? "To pump up the numbers" of civilian market firearms in Mexico. Why? To justify more power and money, more gun control.
The longest two weeks of my life were when we were trying to get whistleblower protection for the Phoenix agents, to get them in touch, first with my own Senator Jeff Sessions' office, and then, later, Senator Grassley and Congressman Issa.
After Senator Grassley wrote the first of his letters demanding answers in January, we began to get requests from old media journalists who worked for USA Today, Newsweek, CNN, FOX, CBS, the LA Times and others to put them in touch with the whistleblowers.
At this point, you must understand, we didn't actually know the NAMES of the whistleblowers, only how to contact them by means of what we dubbed "The Desert Telegraph," an email chain. So we would put the reporters' requests with their contact information into the "telegraph" and it was up to the agents to contact them directly. Sometimes David Codrea and I would hear from a reporter, "Okay, guys, the big boys are here, just give us your sources and we'll figure out if you're lying." Sources, of course, we would never give.
Sometimes, after we did pass on messages on the "telegraph," we would hear back from an agent, "Don't send me anything from that arrogant asshole again." For some media outlets, especially television, the particular security needs of the agents, who were, despite the attention of Senator Grassley, still hanging out there in the desert with bosses and fellow agents who were armed, had badges, and considered them traitors. Some networks lost their chance to break the story because they would not or could not understand that.
The singular exception early on was Sharyl Attkisson, who understood exactly what the agents needed to be able to tell their stories. Sharyl and her producer were never demanding, never condescending, and always careful. Which is why they got the first television story and the others who were there before her didn't.
So when MM puts quotation marks on the word authority when referring to me and Gunwalker, it is merely an insult without basis in fact. Hell, yes, I'm an authority on it. Far more than Media flipping Matters, I assure you.
But the principal charge in the MM screed against FOX seems to be that my previous political activism, which did include urging modern day Sons of Liberty to break the windows of local Democrat party headquarters' windows before the vote on Obamacare, therefore disqualifies me from being treated as an expert on Gunwalker, but, even if they put me on, that they should identify me as an "extremist."
Well, there are extremists and then there are extremists and once again it is a matter of perspective. Take Morris Dees for example. Founder of the wrongfully-named "Southern Poverty Law Center," he is considered to a "militia expert" by the old media. Since 1993, whenever the subject of militia comes up, his phone number is in the Rolodex (or whatever passes for a Rolodex these days) of a thousand intellectually lazy reporters. And when he is quoted, or when he is interviewed on the tube, it is as a "militia expert" that he is identified.
Now, having been in the constitutional militia movement for two decades, I can tell you that Morris Dees wouldn't know a militia if it bit him in the ass. What Morris really is is a fund-raiser. It is what he does best and has since he was selling cookbooks. That was back before he represented the Ku Klux Klan. Yeah, I didn't stutter. He was a Klan lawyer before he found the golden goose in the meme "The Third Reich is coming again (send me money to stop it)." His Southern "Poverty" Law Center has more than a hundred million in the bank at last count and some of it, is held offshore in the Grand Caymans. (See The Wages of Lies and "Hate." Gays and Lefties Expose Southern "Poverty" Lie Center. The Cayman Island's Bank Account & The House That "Hate" Built.)
Yet, with all that loot Morris and his comrades continue to fund raise like the Fourth Reich is coming tomorrow. Denounced by intellectually honest leftists as a liar and a fraud, the surviving "civil rights foot soldiers" and veterans of the black militia, the Deacons for Defense and Justice, spit every time you mention his name, calling him a "civil rights pimp." (Also see my essay, "Birmingham - Race and Armed Defense of Individual Liberty and the Republic."
The divorce complaint of his now ex-wife Maureen Bass Dees also makes interesting reading, accusing him of, among other things, trying to molest his underage step daughter.
Dees (and the ADL) have been taken to task by Professor Robert Churchill in his book "To Shake Their Guns in the Tyrant's Face." (University of Michigan Press, 2009), for fabricating what the academic calls "The Narrative of 1995" and a "new Brown Scare" regarding the militia movement.
So, by the MM standard, I suppose when Morris Dees is interviewed on television, the text slug below him should read: "Morris Dees, rich former Klan lawyer, unscrupulous cookbook salesman and fundraiser, civil rights pimp, pedophile and militia expert. (Please send money.)"
If I've missed anything I certainly do regret it, which is not the same as an apology. When the "old media" interviews Bill Ayres and Bernardine Dohrn they do not call them "unrepentant retired terrorist bomber friends of Barack Obama and fans of silverware stuck in the bellies of rich preganant movie stars," although those are true statements.
So the hypocrisy reeks from anything MM writes about FOX. Media Matters wouldn't hold anybody in the media that they approve of what they say to that standard, just FOX.
Lost in all this, of course, is the fact that what Media Matters is really doing is effectively trying to assist in the cover-up of arms smuggling, mass-murder, government corruption and acts of war against another sovereign nation and its people.
This doesn't matter, however, because for MM as for all collectivists, the ends justify the means. Any lie, half-truth or exaggeration they tell is excused by dialectic. Or, as ATF supervisor David Voth put it, "If you want an omelet you have to break some eggs."
And that, dear readers, is what Project Gunwalker was all about. So it is hardly surprising that a hard-collectivist outfit like Media Matters, funded by George Soros, would be trying to use me to attack FOX. You might as well blame a rattlesnake's disposition for biting a child. It is, after all, what they do.