Dan Rather has been very clear and adamant about the need for our country’s news sources to handle the current orange-topped, white supremacist threat to our democracy. Over the weekend, Deadspin released a mashup of the bizarre and deeply disturbing propaganda campaign (video below) by Sinclair Broadcasting to force their numerous media outlets to read an attack campaign against any and all media that doesn’t fall into line with Trump and his Republican stooges. Dan Rather isn’t having any of this. He penned a powerhouse response to Sinclair Broadcasting on his Facebook page.
Let’s be clear, news anchors looking into camera and reading a script handed down by a corporate overlord, a script meant to obscure the truth not elucidate it, isn’t journalism. It’s propaganda. It’s Orwellian. And it is on a slippery slope towards some of history’s most destructive forces. These are the means by which despots wrest power, silence dissent, and oppress the masses.
To those who say this rhetoric is hyperbolic, I submit that attacking the press as honest brokers of information has been one of the constants of this Administration and all those who normalize it. But this is not normal. This is not how the freedoms enshrined in our Constitution, that beloved First Amendment, is supposed to operate.
Referencing the video, Rather says he can understand the broadcasters’ rationalizations, their desperations, and the need to feed their families. But the truth must win out. It must or we have nothing.
That is why it is incumbent for Americans of all political persuasions to say this is intolerable. Congress should hold hearings and call the executives of Sinclair to account, but one suspects that is highly unlikely in the current political environment. Will this spur citizens to elect representatives who recognize that this is a clear and present danger? Will enough people be outraged to bombard stations, and advertisors, with letters, phone calls, and tweets to suggest this is unacceptable?
For now, Sinclair is trying to explain away the controversy, and they have a powerful ally in the President. But as we saw with the advertisers bailing en masse from Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show after she attacked a Parkland High School student activist in a Tweet, the voice of the people still matters. If enough people speak, they cannot be ignored.
Sinclair Broadcasting is fully backed by this country’s oligarchy right now, and along with Ajit Pai and telecoms, they plan on strengthening their control on what information people can and cannot have access to.