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There is simply no escaping the conclusion that the mainstream media
forfeited their role as government watchdogs long ago and became
big-government lapdogs.

Dr. Alan Keyes illustrated this point in his remarks during and after
last week’s GOP presidential debate at Dartmouth. The media confirmed it
by their various reactions.

In the debate, Keyes sharply declared that the U.S. is justified in
withholding its $1 billion membership dues to the United Nations and
that he was unashamed of helping to devise that policy while serving in
the Reagan administration.

Hard-earned U.S. taxpayer funds he said, instead of being used to
assist developing nations, are diverted into the pockets of their
elitist leaders who oppose the free market approaches that would enable
their countries to work their way out of poverty. He closed with, “Sorry
about that.”

The next day, the media misinterpreted that closing as an apology for
his tone in answering the question. To the contrary, he wasn’t
apologizing at all.

But for their obtuseness, the media would have grasped that Keyes was
saying, “Like it or not, I’m not going to roll over and provide the
mindless, politically correct answer you expect.”

Keyes also said that he favors eliminating the income tax entirely.
He reminded us that Marx and Lenin advocated an income tax because in
principle, it cedes to the government control of every last dollar that
is made or earned in the economy. Precisely.

Viewed in that context, it’s not difficult to understand why the
president, and many in Congress, harbor the offensive notion that our
money is their money — that tax cuts are not refunds, but government
gifts. But this point was also doubtlessly lost on the redistributionist
media, who suffer from a learning disability concerning the concept of
private property.

Though available for media questions following the debate, Keyes was
virtually ignored by the approximately 300 reporters present. He mildly
rebuked them, suggesting they may be having difficulty looking past his
race and to his merit.

He contrasted the media’s apathetic reaction to that of the audiences
around the country, which always respond to him with enthusiasm. Then,
he excoriated them for shirking their responsibility “not to let vice
take place in darkness and not to let virtue languish unnoticed.”

If they were doing their job of informing the public, candidates
wouldn’t have to spend so much money, and their pet cause of campaign
finance reform would be largely unnecessary.

Don’t just dismiss these as the comments of a frustrated candidate.
Keyes may really be on to something here. Just think about how much
favorable free coverage the media has given Senator McCain for carrying
their campaign finance reform water.

If the mainstream media would spend just a fraction of the energy in
trying to inform the public that they exert in trying to influence it,
we would have a more sophisticated and less manipulable electorate. There
would be less incentive for exorbitant campaign expenditures and less
“need” for reform.

But that isn’t likely to happen. The media are too busy basking in
self-glorification to police or reform themselves. They are too
intoxicated with a messianic complex to engage in the critical
introspection necessary to resume their function as news providers.
Plus, they aren’t motivated to inform the people, but to indoctrinate
them to the liberal worldview.

The media are too involved in helping make the news to report it
objectively. Compare their dogged pursuit of Richard Nixon with their
enablement of Bill Clinton. With the former, they were chief prosecutor
and with the latter, the get-away driver.

Why would they take any action that might relieve the pressure for
campaign finance reform when doing so would work against their influence
oligopoly?

Regardless of their motivations, the elite media are undeniably
guilty of turning a deaf ear to Keyes’ idea of America recapturing its
founding principles. Indeed, because they see the world through their
monolithic liberal prism, they are incapable of fully appreciating the
themes of freedom he so eloquently articulates — which is ironic
considering they see themselves as the sacred stewards of our nation’s
liberties.

There was a time when the mainstream press provided an indispensable
check against the ever-present possibility of corruption in government.
Those days are gone.

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