Weeks before the 2020 presidential election, the New York Post published a bombshell story about Hunter Biden based on information found on a laptop belonging to him. This was a story about International corruption, a presidential election, and the wayward son of one of America’s most elite families, all packaged into an epic "October surprise."
The mainstream media should have gobbled it up. Instead, they shut it down, screaming that the Post story was "Russian disinformation"—a claim the media had rattled in the ears of Americans for, by that point, four long years—and going so far as to convince Twitter to censor the story. Nearly 18 months later, and with President Joe Biden comfortably ensconced in the Oval Office, the media, in the form of its flagship outlet, the New York Times, has "verified" the Post’s original reporting.
The painful reality this reveals is that while the mainstream media regularly proclaims itself to be America’s great defender of free speech, it is now the elite’s most effective mechanism for shutting down politically inconvenient news and opinion.
The reason for this is simple. Whether the topic is the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, the corruption of an elite political family, a four-year-long attempt to prove "collusion" between Trump and Russia, or any of the dozens of other such narratives that dominate headlines until proven baseless, the media has shown itself committed to delivering the political narrative of the day, no questions asked.
In fact, looking at the American media’s response to the war in Ukraine it’s clear that, far from seeing this as a moment of self-reflection, the press is doubling down on its heavy-handed tactics.
"Russian disinformation" is now a cudgel the media uses to shut down news stories or lines of inquiry into anything that doesn’t fit the narrative, such as the existence of Ukrainian neo-Nazis militias, which, until weeks ago, mainstream news organizations were raising the alarm about, claiming they pose a grave threat to national security.
Americans have long heard murmurings about the deep state, the murky network of permanent bureaucrats who hold the levers of power our elected representatives can’t touch. While there might be some truth to that claim, the more troubling reality is that the press, once considered, as the Fourth Estate to be a check on government overreach, now functions as the country’s most effective unelected broker of political power.
The disturbing thing is that the model seems to be working since, as the Hunter Biden laptop saga illustrates only too well, they keep getting away with it. While the media has very quietly admitted that original reporting on Hunter Biden was correct, the conversation has been changed. Instead of talking about extremely serious allegations of corruption in the Biden family, we’re now all focused on a laptop.
The problem is that the American public is no longer willing to simply sit back and enjoy the show. The press has been for so long the boy who cried Russian wolf that, while Russia is waging an actual war in Ukraine, loud charges about "Russian disinformation" are now so obviously the favored weapon in the media’s political armory that we almost immediately discount them.
Even more importantly where the fate of America’s newsrooms are concerned, with alternative sources pulling back the curtain on politically-driven narratives, and regular folks on social media engaging in the kind of "unfettered conversations" the media despises, we’re finally able to assess for ourselves what’s really going on. And this is the one thing America’s narrative-spinning media simply will not stand for.