Senior Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman blasted the mainstream media for creating what he called “a frighteningly orthodox media culture,” alongside academia and big tech companies, that denies equal voice to conservative thought and opinions in favor of a one-sided liberal message.
Silberman raised his concerns in a dissenting opinion on a libel case where two former Liberian officials sued the human rights organization Global Witness for implying that the now former officials had accepted bribes from an oil company. According to a 1964 Supreme Court decision, New York Times v. Sullivan plaintiffs suing for libel must prove that the accused had “actual malice” against those libeled. Silberman wrote in his lone dissent that it’s time for the Supreme Court to re-visit the case, given the changes that have taken place since 1964.
Silberman, who was appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan, said that the 1964 ruling gives the media too much power, and such power is especially dangerous now, he said, “because we are very close to one-party control of these institutions.” Silberman went on to write that, “Two of the three most influential papers (at least historically), The New York Times and The Washington Post, are virtually Democratic Party broadsheets.” Silberman’s criticism comes just a couple of weeks after The Washington Post admitted it reported wrongly on attributing quotes President Trump never said that suggested he was trying to pressure Georgia election officials to find voter fraud in their state in order to turn Georgia’s presidential election in his favor. Another recent example of liberal bias in the media was the suppression of the story, reported by the New York Post, of Hunter Biden’s connections to a corrupt gas company in Ukraine and his father’s putting pressure on the Ukrainian government to fire the government official investigating the company for which the younger Biden worked. Joe Biden went on to brag that his threat to withhold U. S. aid to Ukraine unless the official was fired worked.
A free press is essential to democracy. In the earliest years of the nation, and really right up into the 1950s and 1960s, most media outlets were pretty forthcoming in their political leanings. Papers favored one party or the other, one set of policies or the other, and they made no bones about it. This wasn’t a problem, because readers knew what they were getting when they picked up one paper or another. The pretense of objective, unbiased news journalism began in the 1950s and 1960s with Walter Cronkite declaring at the end of each of his broadcasts, “And that’s the way it is.” Americans believed, “Uncle Walter” that he was giving the news to them straight. Whether that was true or not of Cronkite, it’s certainly no where close to true today. The problem with this is that newspapers and TV and cable outlets, as well as the internet, still claim that they are middle of the road, objective and straightforward in their reporting of the news. This is why people have so little confidence in the news media today, because they make the claim of objectivity with their mouths while wearing their bias on their sleeves. The fact that Fox News and The New York Post are, according to Silberman, virtually the only media outlets where conservatives are heard, does little to balance out the left-leaning bias of virtually every mainstream media outlet, along with the leftward bias of the big tech companies, colleges and universities and, some would say, the public schools systems in many states.
The Democrats are looking to pass legislation on how elections are to be held, do away with the Senate filibuster, pack the Supreme Court, and admit Washington, DC and Puerto Rico as states, all in hopes of securing a virtual lock on future power. Given these efforts, the bias of the press is even more disconcerting. One-party rule has never proved beneficial to any nation.
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