Pat Caddell | Mainstream media is threatening our country’s future

I think we’re at the most dangerous time in our political history in terms of  the balance of power in the role that the media plays in whether or not we  maintain a free democracy or not.  You know, when I first started in  politics – and for a long time before that – everyone on both sides, Democrats  and Republicans, despised the press commonly, because they were SOBs to  everybody.  Which is exactly what they should be.  They were  unrelenting.  Whatever the biases were, they were essentially  equal-opportunity people.

That changed in 1980.

There are a lot of reasons for it. It changed—an important point in the  Dukakis-Bush election, when the press literally was trying to get Dukakis  elected by ignoring what was happening in Massachusetts, with a candidate who  was running on the platform of “He will do for America what he did for  Massachusetts”—while they were on the verge of bankruptcy.

Also the change from evening news emphasis to morning news by the networks is  another factor that’s been pointed out to me.

Most recently, what I call the nepotism that exists, where people get  jobs—they’re married to people who are in the administration, or in politics,  whatever.

But the overwhelming bias has become very real and very dangerous. We have a  First Amendment for one reason. We have a First Amendment not because the  Founding Fathers liked the press—they hated the press—but they believed, as  [Thomas] Jefferson said, that in order to have a free country, in order to be a  free people, we needed a free press.  That was the job—so there was an  implicit bargain in the First Amendment, the press being the only institution,  at that time, which was in our process of which there was no checks and  balances.


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