Posted by Curt on 27 November, 2016 at 9:00 am. 3 comments already!


Stella Morabito:

They’ve decided you’re to go into journalism. It’s a great honor. We have to strengthen the press. It’s full of bourgeoise elements and reactionaries. We don’t send just anyone there.”

—In the screenplay “Angi Vera,” newspaper editor and Communist Party hack Anna Trajan speaks to her young protégé, groomed to destroy anyone standing in the way of the party’s narrative.

President-elect Donald Trump’s win proved how useless is the current state of journalism for investigating and conveying real news about real people. And that’s putting it kindly. Not only were mainstream journalists blind to the pain of so many in the country—particularly the long-neglected Rust Belt voters who showed up in droves to elect Trump—but they shamelessly cheered Hillary Clinton’s campaign and smeared all Trump voters while doing so.

The quote above, from an old foreign film, gives us a glimpse into how power elites seek to control the media and subvert objective journalism. I’ll elaborate on that below. But the high level of collusion we see today between Democrat power elites and the media goes back a long time. The collusion continues post-election, as the media gives lopsided coverage to angry anti-Trump protests organized by, which are stirring up calls for violence.

So it’s high time we analyze more closely the relationship between the media and power elites. To do that, we need to look at how and why elites conscript journalists, and why journalists can’t resist the bait. The enticements come as access, privilege, prestige, fame, influence, and very high salaries for those in the limelight.

Not all mainstream journalists are fallen, but those who resist bias tend not to be household names. For example, I highly recommend this superb post-mortem on the election by Will Rahn of CBS News. It is more introspective and insightful than anything else I’ve seen. In the end, we should remember that journalists’ weaknesses are simply human weaknesses. There are several reasons their level of prejudice has risen so high. But prime among them is how much our society has come to de-value the old ideals of virtue and honor.

Power Elites Will Always Recruit Messengers

An interesting study in corruption—and of journalism in particular—is the 1978 Hungarian film “Angi Vera,” which I quoted above. The setting is Stalinist Hungary in 1948, just after Soviet forces imposed a communist system there. The entire human infrastructure of the nation, including journalists, teachers, medical personnel, and factory foremen, is being replaced by people trained in education camps to comply with the Communist Party line. Politically incorrect administrators, officials, and thinkers are discredited and purged wherever they are found.

The movie superbly displays the predatory nature of one-party states. Its title character, an angelic-looking young nurse named Vera, is an orphan from a working-class family. She has a superb instinct for pushing all the right buttons and kissing up to all the right people in a system based on psychological manipulation. In the end, Vera earns herself a comfortable life as a well-connected elite journalist in a rigged system.

Vera’s brown-nosing and betrayals did cost her others’ trust. That upset her. For a while. But she kept her eyes on the prize, and in the end it’s clear she’ll get used to a life of material and social privileges in a society built on planned scarcity.

The film (which only recently came out on DVD, with English subtitles) is a little-known masterpiece. It may not be a direct study of the corruption of journalism. But it definitely serves as a window to the personal qualities—corruptibility, malleability, and conformity—that power elites look for when recruiting journalists, and rewarding them.

How Does Journalism Become Propaganda?

Objective journalism is actually a very new idea. A fourth estate that serves as a back-up check against abuses of power doesn’t sit well with power-mongers. As the quote above attests, those in power always hope to prevent any perceived critic from having a voice. Those who believe in a fourth estate expect to have critics. But totalitarians find it compulsory to turn journalists into their propagandists.

Of course we often behave as though objective journalism is a given. I mean, what other kind is there, right? But, alas, the human species has a thing about power. No doubt, evolutionary psychology can explain a lot. Whatever the reason, that quest for power seems to be the default setting of Homo sapiens.

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