Students of history, of journalism, of sociology: mark this month in your diaries. Mark this month well, because this is the month that what was formally called “mainstream” media was officially pronounced dead.
It’s been a nice ride for traditional media outlets. We’ve had our fair share of fun along to way. But now it is over. Almost 4 years to the day that “Rathergate” showed ordinary citizens taking on Big Media and winning, the last two weeks have completely, totally, and utterly demonstrated the sheer irrelevancy of traditional media outlets and their biased and outdated methods of news dissemination.
The gatekeepers of information have finally been vanquished. No longer are they able to sit upon their lofty heights, determining what information they deem fit for the public to know about. In their stead, an army of citizen-journalists has arisen. The people have become the fourth estate. We are the media now. You don’t have to trust Hollywood or Manhatten anymore, because the game is over. Sure, they will linger around for a few years longer in their death-throws, and of course current outlets will continue in some form, but as of this week, no-one can say Big Media should be taken seriously. They are beyond redemption.
At this point, if you get your news primarily from Big Media outlets, you may wonder what I am talking about, or whether I’ve gone slightly crazy. After all, nothing really happened the last few weeks, did it? Sure a few right-wing extremists got angry at a few things, but that always happens – right? I mean there was nothing special about the last 3 weeks, right?
Wrong. Because in the last three weeks three massive, huge, enormous, game-changing political things happening. Any one of these by and of itself might not have meant much, but together, the political landscape in the U.S. has been irrevocably altered in the last three weeks. And Big Media missed all three.
Let us review events as they happened, and embark on tales of corruption, embezzlement, undercover operations, child prostitution and the American Left.
The Resignation Of Van Jones
The first bombshell to hit was over Van Jones. Van who you ask? Allow me to explain.
Van Jones was appointed earlier this year by President Obama as the “Green Jobs Czar”, responsible for billions of dollars to programs promoting ‘green jobs’. Universally praised by Establishment Media, and named a “Hero Of the Year” by Time Magazine, he received no media scrutiny or investigation. None. Until some bloggers decided to look into his background.
Using the sophisticated tools of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy – the google search engine – they did painstaking research (it took all of 2 minutes) and uncovered what the mainstream media was unable to find: proof that Van Jones was a self-declared communist who argued that 9/11 was orchestrated by the Bush administration.
No. Really. I mean it. I’m not joking here. This nut-bag truther was put in charge of billions of taxpayer dollars – and the mainstream media completely missed it.
Let us briefly look into his background of a man who in 2005 told the East Bay Express that “by August , I was a communist”. 2 years this conversion to Marxism, Jones was a co-founder of a self-described revolutionary Marxist-Leninist group called “Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement”, or STORM. STORM was dedicated to a “’a revolutionary movement in America” that would “end the murderous reign of U.S. imperialism”. In the early 90’s STORM was responsible for acts of “direct action” (read: violence) to achieve their aims. In the mid 90’s, it was rocked by serious allegations of sexual abuse by one of its leaders, and a view by many within the STORM community when no action nwas taken that “ investigation process was set up to protect the member”. Van Jones remained a member up until 2002.
In 1996, Van Jones founded the “Ella Baker Centre for Human Rights”. To demonstrate what sort of organization this is, I only need give you one example. On September 11, 2001, the Ella Baker Centre issued a statement that “Community-based organizations led by people of color will hold a ‘Solidarity Gathering’ and candlelight vigil on Wednesday night to support the Arab-American community”. Let this sink in for a moment. The day of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and Van Jones’ organization expresses solidarity not with the innocent victims, but with the perpetrators.
It gets worse. Not long after, Van Jones signed a petition calling for ”an immediate inquiry into evidence that suggests high-level government officials may have deliberately allowed the September 11th attacks to occur”. Yes, that’s right, Van Jones was a ‘truther’. He believed that 9/11 was staged by the Bush Administration. Lest anyone think this was an accidental signing, this article at Rense.com from 2002 links Van Jones to the 9-11 Truther movement at its infancy.
All of this you could find on google in a matter of minutes. None of it was covered by Big Media. None. Several days into the Jones controversy, Byron York, political editor of the DC Examiner ran an online search of the New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC Nightly News, ABC World News and the CBS Evening News. Jones and his unusual views weren’t mentioned even once.
With pressure online coming from all sides, despite the lack of Big Media Coverage, Jones was forced to quit late Saturday night on the Labor Day weekend, leaving the US mainstream press to report the resignation of someone over a scandal none of their readers or viewers had previously heard about. The New York Times laughably tried to explain: “our Washington bureau was somewhat short-staffed during the height of the pre-Labor Day vacation period.” As Australian blogger Tim Blair noted: “None of the bloggers or radio hosts who exposed Jones even have Washington bureaus, yet that didn’t stop them chasing the story”. Compare this to the continued coverage of someone even remotely linked to a conservative – like the mother of the boyfriend of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s daughter
Bloggers: 1. Big Media: 0.
The Tea Party Movement
A few days later came the 9/12 rallies. The culmination of thousands of spontaneous ‘tea parties’ around the country, with almost a million people coming out on Tax Freedom Day and July 4.
Estimates varied for the march from the high tens of thousands to a million. You can watch the time lapse footage of the march and decide for yourself how many people attended. Irrespective, however, of whether 100,000 people came, or a million, this event was unprecedented. Never before had so many people come together to protest big-government.
How did the media react? The New York Times buried the protests on page A37 of Sunday’s paper. The 932-word story was only slightly longer than the 724-word story the paper granted back in March to an ACORN protest with only 40 participants.
Newsbusters compared the Washington Post’s coverage of the rally to the April 2006 rally promoting amnesty for illegal aliens. Hit the link for the full list, but some numbers stand out: Number of Post reporters with rally by-lines: three (in 2006, 19), Number of other Post staff writers credited for contributions from across America: four, all in Washington (in 2006, 20), Number of stories: one (in 2006, 13, including a Rally Voices” feature), Number of Post pages devoted to the rally, added together, visual estimate: two (in 2006, 8), Number of photos: five (in 2006, 39, including the “Rally Voices” head shots), Number of usages of ideological terms: five conservative labels. (in 2006, in 13 stories, zero liberal labels), number of full advertising-free Post pages devoted to the rally: zero (in 2006, 4). The list goes on.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs shrugged and told reporters: “I don’t know who the group is”
Yet despite no-media coverage whatsoever, throughout the year millions of people stood up to big government.
Bloggers: 2. Big Media: 0.
And then we come to the biggest journalistic scoop of the year. Something so massive that it has already resulted in millions of dollars in funding being dropped by the US Senate. In the US Census Bureau dropping its major partner. A story with the possibility to redefine political organizing as we know it. I am talking about the destruction of the last shred of credibility of ACORN.
But first, some background. To those unaware of what ACORN is due to the Big Media blanket silence on the matter, where ACORN is laughably described as “a poverty rights group…which helps poor people fight foreclosures and fix tax problems” , some history is necessary.
Pyjamasmedia presents a handy introduction, a summary of which shows that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is a community-based organization founded in 1970 by Wade Rathke and Gary Delgado. Rathke, one of the most powerful hard-Left activists in America, is a former member of a radical 1960s group, the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The Weathermen terrorist group split off from the SDS in 1969. ACORN says its priorities include better housing and wages for the poor, more community development investment from banks and governments, and better public schools. ACORN receives millions of taxpayer dollars a year from federal, state, and local governments. Also, ACORN includes a very cozy relationship with Big Labor. In 2008, Big Labor funneled ACORN millions of dollars, and ACORN controls or significantly dominates several Big Labor unions and organizations. SEIU President Andy Stern hand picked ACORN’s Rathke to direct SEIU’s nationwide organizing projects (you can read more on Big Labor and ACORN here)
As PJ Media notes, ACORN is also closely linked to President Barak Obama. Obama trained its local leaders, represented the organization in court, and worked to funnel funds to the organization. The Obama campaign also donated $800,000 this year to an ACORN affiliate. In return, ACORN has done a lot on Obama’s behalf. When he ran for the State Senate, he sought and received their endorsement. Obama not only sought and received the endorsement of ACORN’s political arm in his local campaigns, he accepted ACORN’s endorsement for the presidency. Last year he stated clearly that ACORN will “shape the agenda” of his presidency.
ACORN is best known, however, for its work collecting voter registrations, and its active campaigning for the Democratic Party. In 2008 alone, ACORN has registered 1,315,037 voters.
The problem is that ACORN has had a long history of scandal and voter fraud convictions. It is impossible with space constraints to list them all, suffice to say there have been at least 14 state-wide criminal investigations into systematic voter fraud committed by ACORN and its members in the lead-up to the 2008 election alone, a partial summary of which can be found here.
The criminal prosecutions are continuing however. Earlier this year, Nevada officials charged Acorn, its regional director and its Las Vegas field director with submitting thousands of fraudulent voter registration forms last year, saying that “Acorn’s training manuals “clearly detail, condone and . . . require illegal acts,” such as requiring its workers to meet strict voter-registration targets to keep their jobs”. Just last week The Florida State Attorney’s Office issued arrest warrants for 11 ACORN employees for falsifying hundreds of voter registration cards.
In July, an 88-page incriminating report published in July by the minority staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was entitled “Is ACORN Intentionally Structured as a Criminal Enterprise?” It found that ACORN has “has evaded taxes, obstructed justice, engaged in racketeering and created a conspiracy to defraud the United State”. It has also obstructed justice, and aided and abetted a cover-up of embezzlement by Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke.
Up to this point, nearly 70 ACORN employees have been convicted in 12 states for voter registration fraud. Pennsylvania judge Richard Zoller–after holding a low-level ACORN employee liable for election law violations noted that “somebody has to go after ACORN.”
But all this pales into insignificance to what transpired last week. In the greatest investigative journalist scoop of the year, two twenty year old journalism students went to the ACORN Baltimore office with undercover cameras. They claimed to be a prostitute and a pimp (in states prostitution is illegal). The pimp said he was seeking political office, and wanted to use the proceeds of the crime to fund his political campaign. So. What did ACORN do. Did they throw him out? Did they call the police? Did they at least act surprised at getting such a request? No. Instead they sat down with him, gave him tax advice, and told him how to evade getting caught. I kid you not. So the journalists upped the ante. They said they were planning to bring in underage girls from Latin America. Surely this would be enough for ACORN to show them the door? But no. ACORN workers talked them through how they could list them as child-dependents to get federal tax credits for them, and discussed how they could classify their activities as education.
An isolated incident? A one off? You might think so. But then they repeated it in Washington DC. And in New York. And in California. The same result. Every time. And there are MORE VIDEOS ON THE WAY! You can view all the undercover footage at Biggovernment.com .
As this was uncovered, the U.S. Senate finally voted to defund ACORN of $8 million of tax dollars.
So how did Big Media respond? With deafening silence. ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson told WLS-AM Chicago talk radio the reason he hasn’t covered the ACORN scandal is that he didn’t know about it. Gibson also admitted to Don and Roma that he didn’t know about the Senate vote to de-fund ACORN. So days after the scandal broke nationally, after the Senate stripped ACORN of millions of funding, the face of network news was blissfully unaware. You can read the almost excruciating transcript here.
Even the liberal Jon Stewart has blasted the media for their non-reporting: “Where were the real reporters on this story…Where the hell were you?” Stewart screamed into the camera “You’re telling me that two kids from the cast of High School Musical 3 can break this story with a video camera and their grandmother’s chinchilla coat, and you’ve got nothin’? I’m a fake journalist, and I’m embarrassed these guys scooped me!”. Watch the clip. It’s hilarious.
The biggest political scoop of the year – which has effectively destroyed ACORN as a political entity – was done not by the media, but by two students.
Bloggers 3: Big media 0.
Three stories. Three weeks. First a key player in the Obama Administration fell. Then hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans staged an unprecedented march on the White House. Finally, a national, multi-million political advocacy group was destroyed.
And Big Media was blissfully unaware.
It doing so, they have signed their own death warrant and passed the baton of scrutiny over to citizen journalists around the country.
The fourth estate is dead. Long live the fourth estate.
(Originally posted at my personal blog)