As is the case with any other industry, it’s natural for news outlets to compete with each other for viewers, readers, subscribers, Twitter followers, etc. It’s the nature of the beast to want to be the go-to source for news and information.
Somewhere along the way, some cable news outlets have gone from being advocates for spirited competition and defenders of the free press to wanting to stifle their competition by limiting their reach to the point they’d have to either make cutbacks or shut down completely.
CNN is a prime example of this. Their two media reporters, Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy, are the faces of the network’s desire to see Fox News punished based on allegations that the network is full of “bad-faith actors who lie, mislead, and promote conspiracy theories.”
“I asked all of these [Big Tech] companies for comment on Thursday. I asked them if they have any guidelines governing the content that they carry on their platforms. I asked them if they have any regret over carrying right-wing channels that were in many ways partly responsible for what took place in our nation’s capital this week,” Darcy alleged without evidence after the Capitol riots.
On the very same “Reliable Sources” program where Stelter argued it was “patently false” that CNN was trying to get Fox News taken off the air, Stelter boasted about trying a “harm reduction model” that would make some news content harder for people to find, proclaiming that “reducing a liar’s reach is not the same as censoring freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is different than freedom of reach, and algorithmic reach is part of the problem.”
Despite their grandiose posturing about how they feel it’s their jobs to “protect the public” from supposedly harmful information, Stelter, Darcy, and others in the mainstream media like them, have goals that are far less altruistic than they want you to think.
Primarily, it’s about two things — the first being information control. Stelter sees the media’s role as one of controlling both the message and the narratives. What better way to do that than by pushing out the one network that — in spite of its faults — does more than any of the rest to air both sides of an argument? CNN sure as hell doesn’t go out of their way to do that.
Stelter boasted about trying a “harm reduction model” that would make some news content harder for people to find, proclaiming that “reducing a liar’s reach is not the same as censoring freedom of speech.”
The other thing behind trying to get Fox News censored is primarily a motivation as old as time: eliminating the competition. What better way to get rid of their chief competitor, and at a time when Fox News’ ratings are rising again after taking a post-election dip?
If Stelter and his ilk were truly concerned about the flow of misinformation, they’d start by cleaning out their own filthy stables.
For instance, CNN’s list of anti-Republican “bombshell” stories that weren’t is a long one. If they want to talk about any supposed responsibility for inciting rioters, they can look to the fawning coverage their own network gave to the Antifa/Black Lives Matter-led agitators who burned down city blocks last summer, targeted law enforcement officers, and in some cases, took their “peaceful protests” (sic) into residential neighborhoods and terrorized families as they tried to sleep.
It’s ironic that some of the same media outlets who warned about how attacks on the media would escalate during Trump’s four years in office are the same ones attacking competitors in order to get them shunned and/or shut down.
The various media campaigns to shut down Fox News and conservative online and broadcast outlets who go against the grain isn’t about trying to prevent the spread of misinformation and lies — at all. It’s about controlling what people see and hear and eliminating any competition.
As rock band “The Who” prophetically warned long ago: “We won’t be fooled again.”
Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.