In a recent poll conducted by Ipsos, it was found that almost half of Americans who identify with Republican politics believe that the news media “the enemy,” and 43% of people support restrictions on the media:
Even if they are not “fake news” or “the enemy of the people”, it is clear that the reputation of the news media is under siege. According to the General Social Survey, the number of Americans with some or a great deal of trust in the press has dropped 30 percentage points since the late 1970s. Ipsos recently conducted a survey with the American public to better understand how Americans currently view the press and public support for efforts to restrict journalism. While we found that the large majority of Americans support the concept of the 1st Amendment, there are worrying signs that freedom of the press might be conditional to many people.
First off, the good news. The large majority of Americans, 85%, agree that the “Freedom of the press is essential for American democracy.” Additionally, two-thirds (68%) say that “reporters should be protected from pressure from government or big business interests.” Majorities of both Democrats and Republicans agree with these two statements signaling deep support for the concept of freedom of the press.
Some of the limits of public support for freedom of the press are made stark with a quarter of Americans (26%) saying they agree “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior,” including a plurality of Republicans (43%). Likewise, most Americans (72%) think “it should be easier to sue reporters who knowingly publish false information.”
Unanimity starts to break down as we ask more grounded questions. While a plurality – 46% — agree “most news outlets try their best to produce honest reporting”, there are very stark splits by the partisan identification of the respondent with most Democrats (68%) generally believing in the good intent of journalists, but comparatively few Republicans (29%). And when we ask questions with specific partisan cues, the political split is very wide. For instance, 80% of Republicans but only 23% of Democrats agree that “most news outlets have a liberal bias,” and 79% of Republicans but only 11% of Democrats agree, “the mainstream media treats President Trump unfairly”. Returning to President Trump’s views on the press, almost a third of the American people (29%) agree with the idea that “the news media is the enemy of the American people,” including a plurality of Republicans (48%).
A final statistic is somewhat reassuring, only 13% of Americans agree that “President Trump should close down mainstream news outlets, like CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times.” Here less than a quarter of Republicans (23%) agree along with fewer than one in ten Democrats (8%). (source)
This story came out on August 8th, or almost 10 days ago. I waited to talk about this to gauge the reaction of the public to it. As I expected, it was nearly silent.
It is known that the Democrat party and many who associate with “liberal” politics openly call for many restrictions on all types of speech that they find “offensive.” This is one of the major criticisms which the “right” has against the “left”- that the “left” is for totalitarianism but the “right” is not.
The position of many people on the left is truly aligned with socialism. The way this power is conveyed for many of them, especially those prone to ostentatious public displays, is through an economic lens with an internationalist focus. The problems are presented in the framework of economics of a wealthier group against the common man, and a internationalist solidarity political movement is presented as the public’s answer to achieve social equality and eliminate the negative influences of the upper and “oppressor” class. Part of “freeing” the proletariat from the bourgeoisie is to prevent the ascendancy of the bourgeoisie to power by “redistributing” their resources and ensuring, in the name of “security”, that ideas and beliefs which held the bourgeoisie in power are removed from society and prevented from re-emerging. This comes historically in the form of not just banning certain “ideas,” but actively preventing criticism of the new governing body. The result is always the same, which is an all-powerful government exercising direct control over policy and economy, and shutting down either speech, businesses, or ideas immediately it believes are a threat with lethal force as to leave no ability for introspection of its own policies.
The disappointment of “left wing” style socialism for many is that those who support it often do so out of good intentions as far as it pertains to the common people, and only later realize that the “revolution” was nothing more than one group of avaricious men taking the place of another group of avaricious men, except now with more restrictions and harsher punishments. The “right wing” enjoys using this as “selling point” for why their view is “better” than the “left.”
However, now as this story shows, the “right” is no better, as they are taking the same approach as the “left.” It does not matter if “Trump” is in office or not, or what stories came out or did not come out, because what matters is the concept that news media and criticism should be controlled by the government.
This only shows that the “right wing” in its fundamental philosophy, is the same as the “left” except with a different emphasis. The “right” by comparison emphasizes “patriotism,” “nation,” and “heritage.” All of these are good things, except that on their own they naturally will incline towards socialism except instead of it being based on economic distress as with the left, for the right it is based upon cultural or ethnic distress. This is even more dangerous because economic status is not tied to race or culture, but heritage is. A man can lose his money, but he cannot lose his racial makeup or family history in so far as his biology is concerned. Right-wing socialism leads to a glorification of one’s own race and people and then uses said “glory” as a justification to attack and deprive other men of their humanity.
This is why the “right” has the potential to be more dangerous than the left, and is also why as many have noted, the “left” generally speaking tends to attract more intellectuals than the “right”. For the genuine leftists, he comes to his conclusions after thinking and reading about theories of society and how men interact, and from this he becomes attracted to left-wing style socialism because he sees it as a system of great potential to bring social balance. Such men “think” their way into socialism. The “right” by comparison is a socialism rooted in Blut und Boden. One does not have to think about what one’s race or culture is because a person wears it in his physical makeup. It does not take brains to look at oneself and another man and say “You are different than I”. This is not to say that the “right” does not attract intellectuals, but that it is easier to market to people because the points of tension which it uses requires less thinking to convey the message.
However, both systems- “left” and “right” -are not good because they are rooted in the same socialism, as socialism presupposes that man on his own power can construct his own social contract between the rulers and the ruled so to have peace between the groups and resolve problems with minimal conflict. This never works because the world is post-original sin, and just as the borrower is the slave of the lender, society operates by the “golden rule”- those who have the gold rule, and those who do not, don’t. This is why religion and specifically the Church, is so crucial in society, because She has throughout her history served as both the binding and separating force between the rulers and the rules, bringing them together but also separating them for the good of both, and why avarice-filled men have always wanted to remove her influence, be they on the left or the right, because of her balancing effect, for they would seek to create an imbalance in order to profit off of it, and without regard to the people of the society.
The danger one can see is that whether one calls himself a “democrat” or a “republican,” both accept a common philosophy with different emphases that erodes the freedom and rights of all and solves no problems but only creates new and the same ones because they both have the same approach. It is similar to the conflict in Central America between the “narcos” and the “anti-narcos” in the drug war. The narcoterroristas are evil, but many of the anti-narcos support the drug trafficking, and if pressed will admit that their answer to “solving” the drug problem is to get rid of the narcos but give them control so it can be “just”. This is not eliminating the problem, but transferring it from one group to another.
America has been blessed with many good things, including the ability to agree and disagree amicably and without resorting to violence. The difference of opinions, while they may be serious, need to be oriented as much as possible and as best as possible towards maintaining this balance in the current cultural context, eliminating sweeping or sharp changes as much as one can while striving to more perfectly live the true meaning of freedom, which is the ability to choose what is right because it is the right thing.