Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Watchdogs Gone Bad

"When the Watchdogs of the Media Become the Attack Dogs of the Establishment, the Common Citizens must unite to defend themselves against otherwise unaccountable power, unjustly wielded."

Who is the biggest bully in your town? Who in your city has the power to hurt people, and uses that power regularly? I think I know- its the media. This bully has the power to humiliate you and your neighbors. The power to make most people in your home town think you are a bozo, an anarchist, or whatever other label they want to put on you. Those were just two of the belittling words that powerful media member Max Brantley used to describe a mild-mannered lady who teaches in a small town, and others who agree with her. Her crime in Brantley's eyes was to, for the first time in her life, become an activist. In this case it was regarding the school consolidation issue.

It could have been any issue. You are not supposed to speak out you see. Stay between the lines, the lines set by them and their backers, and you won't get slimed. O sure, you still have your right to free speech, but you had better not use it unless you are simply repeating what they tell you. They have the vast power of the press in an information age, and some of them are taking a perverse delight in making and breaking people with a few strokes of the keyboard. The watchdogs of the media have become the attack dogs of the media.

From time to time they do get it right. Sometimes the people they call nuts really are nuts. But in a disturbingly large number of cases the people they label as nuts have lead long, stable, productive lives. They have happy marriages and loving children. They are intelligent, articulate people with interesting positions on various issues. The Attack Dogs of the media no longer bother refuting those ideas in any meaningful way. Instead, they hurl insult, personal abuse, and invective at those who dare to speak their own mind. They try to win the argument by discrediting the messenger, while avoiding the salient points of the message.

It had often been said, "Never pick a fight with people who buy their ink by the barrel." That is sage advice, to be sure. But it doesn't say anything about what to do when the people with the ink pick a fight with you. And I mean you. You sitting there reading this article. When they do this to people the implied threat is that none of the rest of you better step out of line, or you could be next!

Thankfully, we live in times that are as wonderful as they are terrible. The ink by-the-barrel bullies are living in the days of the internet now. We don't need ink to stand up to these bullies, we have electrons! One thing we do need though, is you. We need you to forward our articles to all of your friends and ask them to do the same. If we stick together, we can make humiliating decent people a lot less fun than it used to be for the hired pens.

Not that we will give them their own medicine. Not precisely. We want to avoid descending into the gutter with them. We will make a supreme effort to appeal to logic and reason- while we will not be afraid to call them what they are, we will strive to avoid personnel attack as a substitute for reasoned reporting.

This project is sponsored by the Constitution Party of Arkansas, but we will not spring to the defense of our own members only. We want to help all people who have been unfairly held up for public ridicule by a press machine that is losing its moral compass. In the process, perhaps the machine will right itself. Maybe there will be a more thoughtful approach in editorial rooms around the state. No one would be happier than myself if this project went out of business because the media took the high road. Isn't that the whole point of deterrence? We have a response mechanism on hand, in hopes that because we do, that mechanism will rarely or never have to be used.

If you have an example of media transgression, please feel free to submit it to our editor. At the least, I urge you to subscribe today, and encourage your friends to do the same.

With Respect,
Mark M. Moore


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent article on ALL points. Clear and concise to the media's agenda. Sadly, a lot of Americans not only feast upon this junkfood, but continue to do so in a mindless way, never stopping to count the calories. One day when they look into the mirror of reality they are going to see what they've done: ruined themselves on the 'feel good' aspect of the media menu. Sadly, it will be too late for a lot of them. For those who are able to reduce the weight of the garbage they've allowed into their minds, it will take some good old-fashioned sensible eating. Like the articles placed here! Keep up the good work.
R.W.-Springdale, AR

6:20 AM, January 26, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are absolutely correct about the abuse of media power and its willingness to attempt to destroy individuals, but I must say that in particular experience with this issue had many other individuals involved as well.

Bentonville....Paper owned by the wealthy. School district violated laws in collusion with the wealthy paper owners to print lies to destroy my credibility. This was after a board member served alcohol to minors and the paper simply blew that issue off. So did the court system because money is more effective than truth. The district didn't like the truth and the papers owner didn't either. There was no legal redress either. In fact, the warning was go after anyone in Bentonville and they will destroy you!!!!

I eventually gave up. But it was quite costly to me and I have come to despise this state for its transparent abuse of power and its neglect of ethical practices. It has become so egregious that those who abuse the power and the press don't even attempt to hide it.

I will leave this state as soon as I possibly can. Until the good ol' boys, like J. Mahoney, and Borehauer of Bella Vista and others are gone........there is little hope for Arkansas. It needs to come into the 21st century but if that happens then the power brokers won't have their power. So, it won't happen.

3:56 PM, February 09, 2005  
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