I’ve been accused of so many heinous offenses over the years, it’s no longer insulting.

Rather, it has become kind of gratifying, in a strange sort of way.

No one ever accused me of racism until I criticized Barack Obama beginning in 2008. No one. But in Obama’s first term, it became de rigueur for the semi-official state media to associate criticism of Obama with de facto racism. There was no shaking it – until, of course, it had become obvious Obama was not indeed the expected messiah.

Likewise, I’ve been labeled a homophobe and an Islamophobe. I’ve been called a right-wing extremist.

Imagine that! The guy who was the poster child for the New Left, the kid who had a get-out-of-jail-free card because he had the American Civil Liberties Union on speed dial, the guy who actually marched with Martin Luther King Jr., the radical anti-war activist who spent his entire professional running daily newspapers and starting the first independent online news service with the goal of watchdogging the government somehow morphed into a right-wing zealot, homophobe, Islamophobe and racist.

How does that work?

Well, now I’ve been accused of another crime – “brainwashing” Americans.

That was the claim of former presidential aide Bruce Bartlett on CNN over the Memorial Day weekend.

But it’s not just me guilty of brainwashing; it’s also Rupert Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh and a handful of others apparently involved in a lockstep conspiracy in which they all peddle the “exact” same ideas.

This is what Bartlett said on CNN – and no one challenged it:

“It can almost be called self-brainwashing – many conservatives now refuse to listen to any news or opinion not vetted through Fox, and to believe whatever appears on it as the gospel truth,” said Bartlett. “I don’t think that word is too strong. I think many conservatives live in a bubble, where they watch only Fox News on television. They listen only to conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh. When they go on to the Internet, they look at only conservative websites, like National Review, Newsmax, WorldNetDaily. And so they are completely in a universe in which they are hearing the same exact ideas, the same arguments, the same limited amount of data repeated over and over and over again. And that’s – that’s brainwashing.”

Let me ask you a few questions:

  • Do you read, hear, see the exact same ideas at the outlets mentioned by Bartlett?
  • Do you think conservatives think they get the “gospel truth” from Fox News?
  • Do you think conservatives don’t listen to the viewpoints of others?
  • Do you think offering news and opinion from a different point of view is “brainwashing”?

I’ve always been amazed at the way some characterize my work and the work of WND. For instance, have you ever noticed that WND actually offers a much broader and wider spectrum of opinion and commentary than any other medium?

Why does no one else mention that but me?

Joseph Farah’s book “Stop the Presses: The Inside Story of the New Media Revolution” is a fascinating account of his life as a cutting-edge newsman

Consider commentators ranging from Alan Keyes and Pat Buchanan to Bill Press and Ellen Ratner. Where else in the media world do you see such diversity of opinion? Nowhere else.

But perhaps the most absurd notion put forth by Bartlett is that the American people will actually learn something by watching TV news – on CNN or anywhere else. I thought he was a serious man. Doesn’t he understand TV news is just entertainment?

No, Bruce, there’s no grand conspiracy at work by Fox, Rush and WND to brainwash Americans. Not all conservatives think alike. They’re not all reading off the same script. And we all do very different things in terms of content and approach.

But I don’t take offense.

It’s amusing to me that what we do at WND, namely reporting the news, could generate such hysteria.

I always thought a central goal of the media was to make people think. I’m also amazed that the same people who preach “diversity” as the cure-all for society’s ills value ideological and journalistic diversity so poorly.

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