This Election Puts Corruption of the Media on Full Display

By James Bowman

Commentary

If any good comes out of this seriously compromised election, it may lie in the perfect illustration it affords of the corruption of the media—which, unlike the corruption of the political establishment to which it is related, is unambiguous and out in the open for all to see.

Every single story about fraud allegations by President Donald Trump or anyone else, at least every one I have seen, has been qualified in the media by the application of some such adjective as “baseless” or “unfounded” or simply “false”—this from the very moment of their first being made.

These quasi-Homeric epithets applied to each repetition of the president’s claims has continued for weeks during which a rational person might have expected the media to be engaged in demonstrating the baselessness and falsity of such claims, rather than simply and repeatedly asserting it.

Having established, as they suppose, by the precedent of their supposed “fact-checkers,” the right to pronounce on the truth or falsity of the president’s utterances as he makes them—and then having transmitted, by a kind of apostolic succession, the same right to the various social media platforms that now censor him—the media can presumably see nothing untoward about treating as fact anything that fits their “narrative,” or treating as false anything that doesn’t.

It’s an enviable position to be in, this of the ultimate and thus presumptively infallible arbiter of truth and falsehood, but the media simply assume it as their right. That they should do so is of course not surprising. That so many good liberals should concede that right to them without so much as a peep of protest—and even join in the abuse of anyone advocating suspension of judgment and investigation into the claims of fraud—is rather surprising.

‘Conspiracy Theory’

Here’s an interesting headline from the Dec. 2 Washington Post: “25 former D.C. Bar presidents: Lawyers should not be complicit in Trump’s attack on democracy.” In other words, members of the Bar who may defend murderers, rapists and fraudsters without injury to their reputation are now to be deemed less than respectable members of their profession for so much as giving the allegations of electoral corruption hearing.

Such allegations are said by the D.C. Bar presidents to be undermining democracy by doing so, but they can hardly fail to understand that the real undermining of democracy lies in their own refusal to take seriously such a serious allegation.

For the millions of people who voted for the president, the most persuasive evidence of massive fraud in the election is likely to be the parade of such categorical assurances that there is no evidence of it.

Everyone knows that there is lots of evidence. It may all be false or fabricated or inconclusive, but there is no way of knowing this without the careful examination that so many in the legal profession, urged on by the media and the Democrats, are apparently unwilling to give it.

Large numbers of Americans are bound to wonder why they would do such a thing, or rather not do it, unless they knew the election was stolen and thought that stonewalling in the face of the evidence was the only way to make sure it stays stolen.

Meanwhile, the media, instead of arguing the evidence of fraud, routinely refer to it as a “conspiracy theory” and argue by analogy with McCarthyism or the post-World War I German theory, so influential in the rise of Nazism, of the “stab in the back.”

In the latter case, the analogy also offers an opportunity to connect Trump with Nazis. The reasoning is that, if such “conspiracy theories” were wrong or misconceived, then so must be the election fraud one.

Of course, the media could also have mentioned the false conspiracy theory about Russian “collusion” after the last election that they themselves spent years peddling, but there may be good reasons for them to forget about that one.

None of these examples can tell us anything about election fraud in 2020. However many conspiracy theories may be shown to be untrue, that doesn’t make any new allegation of conspiracy untrue—unless you make the plainly unwarranted assumption that there can never be a true conspiracy.

Public Trust

Instead of such bad-faith efforts to refute the allegations of fraud unheard, why wouldn’t the Democrats themselves take the lead in seeking to dispel the widespread suspicion on the part of the public that the system is rigged by supporting a thorough investigation of the allegations and suspending the certification of the result until it was complete? Isn’t this the only way for trust in the integrity of the electoral system to be preserved? And isn’t such trust vital for democracy to succeed?

I’m afraid we must conclude that neither democracy nor the public’s trust in it are high priorities for the Democrats, who appear to have decided that such things are less important than their No. 1 goal during four long years of getting rid of Trump by any means necessary.

They can’t but know that stigmatizing the believers in the fraud narrative, who now amount to a significant portion of the population and a majority of Trump supporters, is the surest way to confirm them in their belief that the election was rigged and that, therefore, all future elections are likely to be rigged as well.

Many such people will be asking themselves two decisive questions: Does anyone doubt, given the Democrats’ numerous apologias for lawless “resistance” during the Trump years—from “sanctuary cities” to Black Lives Matter and Antifa—and the abundant evidence of their virulent hatred for Trump that they would have stolen the election if they could?

And does anyone doubt that they could, at least in such one-party jurisdictions as Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Atlanta—the only major cities, it seems, where Biden is supposed, by the official count, to have run ahead of Hillary Clinton in 2016?

Such evidence wouldn’t stand up in court, of course, but the absence of the serious investigation that it would seem to warrant will appear conclusive to millions of Americans. The social and political price in making our divisions and the mistrust they engender permanent is one that the media and the Democrats are obviously willing to pay.

James Bowman is a resident scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. The author of “Honor: A History,” he is a movie critic for The American Spectator and the media critic for the New Criterion.

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