Gruber’s Unwitting Indictment of the Media

James Taylor: The chips are down. I want you to keep everything that Smith says out of all our newspapers and all the others you can line up in the state.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 1939

Dalek: Do not deviate.

Doctor Who Destiny of the Daleks 1979

A lot of bloggers have already written plenty of words on the newly released Gruber Video extolling the virtue of tricking voters.

But there is one aspect of his words that is, in my mind, more outrageous than anything else.

It’s not the suggestion that lawmakers were trying to hide the true meaning and costs of the law. After all lawmakers have spun or twisted law for the sake of personal power, pandering or achieving particular ends since before Daniel was tossed into the Lion’s den but something more subtle.  Take another look at the clip in question.

What is implicit is the idea that said deception would be entirely successful. Why? Because he understood that the media would not reveal and/or report on it.

There is a specific reason why the Bill of Rights after explicitly protecting freedom of speech specifically mentioned the freedom of the press, it’s because the press has the power to amplify that freedom far beyond the individual. While one might be able to downplay or defame an individual making a claim such tactics are considerably less effective when applying them to a press organization (although in fairness the administration has done their best when it comes to Fox News).

Because of that explicitly granted privilege the press has an obligation to honestly and accurately report the goings on of government in order that the people deciding who shall rule them can make their decision based on the merits.

That the press didn’t do their job in reporting on this deception is despicable but the fact that the administration and their allies took it as rote that said press act in that fashion should be a matter of personal disgrace to any person who claims the Constitutional protections of a journalist.

Postscript. That being said this report was almost a given:

Since the video was uploaded, the major English and Spanish broadcast networks of ABC, CBS, NBC, Univision, and Telemundo have chosen not to cover this devastating video on either their morning or evening newscasts.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Update: Dave Weigel’s piece about the fellow who first posted the clip makes my point:

Weinstein, back at home, was stunned at the reaction. Why did he keep finding Gruber gaffes? Why didn’t the press glom onto this stuff first?

“It’s terrifying that the guy in his mom’s basement is finding his stuff, and nobody else is,” he says. “I really do find this disturbing.”

No it’s the difference between making an effort to find something and making an effort to not find them.
Update 2: Glenn Reynolds answers the question from Dave Weigel’s piece on why the press didn’t glom onto this stuff:
If the Gruber video had come out before the election, would the GOP have picked up Virginia and New Hampshire? Quite possibly.
Democrats with Bylines indeed.
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